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For $300, you can have mink hairs glued to your eyelashes. By Caroline Cunningham
Photograph by Shutterstock/Serg Zastavkin.

Let’s be clear here: These are not your run-of-the-mill faux eyelashes that you can pick up from Sephora for five bucks. No, these are eyelash extensions, and they involve an individual long, full lash being painstakingly attached, one at a time, to your natural cilium, until each eyelash has a taller, better-looking buddy glued to it.

K.P. Murray, who trained to become a licensed esthetician at DC’s Aveda Institute, noticed in 2010 that there was a growing market for eyelash extensions, but no local salons that specialize in the service. So in 2012, she opened her own: Elle Lash Bar, the only salon in the area that’s devoted to eyelash services, including extensions, perming, and tinting.

According to Murray, the trend actually dates back to 1916, when film director D.W. Griffith said he wanted an actress with lashes that “brushed her cheeks, to make her eyes shine larger than life." Wig makers started using human hair woven through gauze to create imitation lashes, and in the ’60s, Twiggy’s dramatic long-lashed look inspired women across the country to imitate her. Today, thanks to Jennifer Lopez’s use of red fox fur at the 2001 Academy Awards, mink hair is the fiber of choice for glossy, lighter-than-air lashes.

If you’re ready to jump on the extensions bandwagon, do note: The lash application takes about an hour and a half, and it isn’t cheap; a basic set will run you $225 to $300, and getting the mink kind adds an additional $45 to your bill. Plus, your natural lashes shed every two months, so you’ll need a 45-minute "relash" appointment every two to three weeks to maintain the look.

So why do women do it?

For one thing, no more mascara. “We get a lot of complaints about mascara. Many women feel it’s messy and a pain to deal with and remove,” says Murray. “Extensions are so popular because it provides women with a long-term alternative. It will make your lashes look like you're always wearing mascara.”

For another thing, it’s not as complicated as it sounds. “It's actually about low-maintenance beauty for women on a day-to-day basis. It seems high-maintenance, but it's really done for low-maintenance reasons,” says Murray. “Many women maintain them as an everyday addition to their beauty routine because it’s easier than mascara and makes you look absolutely beautiful.”

Elle Lash Bar. 621 Pennsylvania Ave., Ste. 2; 202-488-1444.

Posted at 10:43 AM/ET, 01/26/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
As 18,000 Instagram followers agree, these girls know their stuff. By Caroline Cunningham
The panelists lined up for a Q&A at the Blogger Scene event. Photograph by Kaz + Zen Photography.

They’re on your Instagram feed, they’re lining the sidewalks before every store grand opening, they’re snapping photos in every brick-lined alley in town—they’re the fashion and lifestyle bloggers of DC.

There are hundreds of them in the area, and last night, they packed the back room of the Gryphon for the next in the series of Blogger Scene events, which was launched by The Fashionably Broke sisters Erika and Natalie Pinto and Ashley Lettich of AshleyInDC in the summer of 2013. These events are part cocktail party, part seminar, what the trio has labeled “parties with a purpose.”

After mixing and mingling for an hour, the organizers corralled the bloggers for a 30-minute panel discussion by some of the area’s top bloggers: Julien Garman of It’s Julien, Alicia Tenise of Alicia Tenise, Cheralee Lyle of Miss Lyle Style, and Alison Coglianese of Ally Cog. If you’re among the many hoping to achieve blog domination—or even, as one blogger joked at the event, “hoping to break 10K” in Instagram followers—then read on for the panel’s best advice.

  • Stop waiting for brands to come to you. According to Coglianese, you can’t just wait for Free People to ring you up, looking for a collaboration because of your super-chic blog. Recommendations for alternative methods included pitching a lookbook concept, proposing an Instagram takeover, and keeping an eye out for how other bloggers are collaborating with the brands they wanted to score with.
  • Get some legal help. Tenise told the crowd that she had hired a lawyer to draft a contract so she could make sure that any brand she agrees to so much as Tweet about holds up their end of the deal.
  • Track your progress. Want brands to take you seriously? Show numbers—more than followers, they want to see conversions, says Stephanie David, founder of the PopNod shopping app. Lyle recommends Iconosquare, which provides metrics for tracking your Instagram efficiency.
  • Have a personality. When asked about how to create “clickable content,” the responses were unanimous: Be personable. That perfectly filtered shot of your flaky croissant and creamy latte at that amazing hole-in-the-wall cafe that you love? Go for it—you do you, blogger.
  • Above all, love your competition. “Everybody hug the person on your left,” said Natalie Pinto. “That was a joke—but you can if you want to.” Though Tenise had recently collaborated with Ann Taylor—a big score for a blogger—her fellow panelists admitted while they were jealous, ultimately they were happy for her.

Posted at 12:20 PM/ET, 01/23/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
The company wants to clear out stock before moving to a new, larger space. By Caroline Cunningham
Photograph by Shutterstock/Pressmaster.

It’s sale season, gentlemen, and we don’t want you to miss it. Hugh & Crye hosts a sample sale this Saturday and Sunday, where you can get any Seneca blazer (which retail for $195) or McComb blazer (which retail for $245) on sale for $99.

Why the big discount? Hugh & Crye has been operating out of its Georgetown shop for four years, with offices at the WeWork Wonder Bread Factory in Shaw, and the owners say they’re ready to clear out and consolidate their two locations, moving into a bigger space in Navy Yard this spring.

Read More

Posted at 11:00 AM/ET, 01/22/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
The designer's line of women's apparel centers on the perfect shirtdress. By Caroline Cunningham
All photographs by Elk Studios NYC.

When launching her first line, Kiki Lynn, in her Georgetown showroom this summer, designer Kimberly McKinley's mission was to bring the all-American wardrobe to the on-the-go Washington woman. She focused on creating the perfect made-in-the-USA shirtdress, and that silhouette is the cornerstone of her spring/summer 2015 look book. As she moves into a new season of designs, we caught with this her to get the scoop on where she sees the line going in the future.

How did you get your start in fashion?

I received what I call my “retail education” as a buyer at Bloomingdale’s in both Men’s Designer Sportswear and Women’s Contemporary. This was an incredible experience, as it was at the time when designer denim and brands like Marc by Marc Jacobs, Theory, DVF, and Joie were emerging in the market. After receiving my MBA from NYU Stern, I spent almost four years at Louis Vuitton in store management and operations. Working at Vuitton was a dream come true for me and really taught me about customer service, quality, and craftsmanship.

Who is the Kiki Lynn customer?

The Kiki Lynn woman is what I like to call “professional-minded,” which really means constantly on the go by choice. So regardless of her professional or family situation she needs timelessly designed, versatile pieces to take her from day to evening with a simple change of accessories. A Kiki Lynn shirtdress will take you from your morning commute to a midday meeting to cocktails with colleagues or friends. My caftans do the same thing in a more casual environment.

Why a shirtdress?

I started with the shirtdress because I love this silhouette but could never find “the one.” After years of struggling to find a shirtdress that was comfortable and appropriate in length when seated, I decided to design my own. I researched vintage archives and patterns and added details I knew the Kiki Lynn woman would love. Kiki Lynn shirtdresses borrow details like the collar and cuffed sleeves from a man’s shirt, but the soft cotton fabrics and buttons that are accessories on their own make for a comfortable and positively feminine dress.

Caftans are another major element of Kiki Lynn. Why?

I honestly think caftans should be a wardrobe staple. I designed my caftans with many occasions in mind—a casual day of running errands in the city, a beach trip, a glamorous dinner party. I wear mine all the time! They are also perfect for just lounging in your home, and they provide a better morning look for when you are the guest at someone’s house—no more pajamas at your host’s breakfast table.

What's the best thing about being a designer in DC?

DC and my showroom’s Georgetown location provide a nice creative environment for me that do not have the same fast-pace as the industry hub New York City—I lived there for ten years, and I do not miss it. DC is perfect for what I need for Kiki Lynn.

What’s difficult about being a designer here?

The hardest part is navigating the small-business scene. Unfortunately, I would not call DC the most small-business-friendly place to be—there are high taxes and layers of bureaucracy to navigate for seemingly simple processes. I am trying to get more involved locally with the others who agree to create a positive dialogue that could lead to some changes.

Where do you see Kiki Lynn going in the future?

I plan to build Kiki Lynn very slowly and methodically and will add categories as appropriate. I envision Kiki Lynn becoming a lifestyle brand with a full assortment of ready-to-wear, some leather-goods accessories, and even some soft home goods. I would also love to open my own branded stores. Time will tell, but I think Kiki Lynn is off to a good start!

Check out photos of the line below, then head over to Kiki Lynn to shop it.

Find Caroline Cunningham on Twitter at @crcunning.

Posted at 10:07 AM/ET, 01/20/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
The two sisters love a good bargain and know where to find one. By Kate Bennett
Natalie Pinto, left, and sister Erika Pinto, right. All photographs by Jeff Elkins.

“There’s a coolness to being fashionably late, so we were like, be fashionably broke in that effortless, I-don’t-care, I-just-am spirit,” says Natalie Pinto, 27, of the theory behind the Fashionably Broke, a blog she writes with her sister, Erika, 24. “It means buy whatever—the $500 Alexander Wang jacket or the $12 T.J. Maxx T-shirt. You might not be able to buy groceries that week, but at least you’re fashionably broke.”

The sisters do love a deal—whether at discounters T.J. Maxx and Marshalls, chic budget chains such as Zara and Forever 21, or at Nordstrom’s Anniversary Sale. “I love the Topshop section at Nordstrom,” Natalie says. “It makes on-trend bargain shopping so much easier."

The duo—whose blog is nearly four years old—has 9,000-plus Instagram followers, who peek in to see what Natalie (whose day job is social-media marketing) and Erika (who handles sales for a start-up and is earning her master’s in special education) are wearing, coveting, and finding.

The sisters, who live in Virginia—Natalie in Falls Church, Erika in Arlington—cite the Olsen twins as inspiration. “That dumpster-chic look—so good,” says Natalie. “We mix high and low. Fashion is all of that. It’s whatever you love.”

What Natalie Is Wearing: Ted Baker blazer, $89, and Herve Leger T-shirt, $55, found at Current Boutique; Topshop wet-look leggings, $40 at Nordstrom; Via Spiga “Corene” boots, $173 from Nordstrom; faux-crocodile bag, $42 from South Moon Under.

What Erika Is Wearing: Chelsea28 sweater, $60 from Nordstrom; faux-leather skirt, $25 from Forever 21; Steve Madden booties, $80 from Nordstrom Rack; Pour la Victoire “Bijou” bag, $120 from T.J. Maxx.

Prices are what the sisters paid, often on sale or consignment; exact items may not still be available.

Get Their Look

1. “Kelly” padded skirt by Story of Lola, at Topshop ($85) 2. “Carolyn” cutout bootie by BCBGeneration, at Nordstrom ($128.95) 3. Off-the-shoulder sweater, at Forever 21 ($24.90) 4. Zodiac-sign tees, at Topshop ($50) 5. “Tina” bag by Danielle Nicole, at South Moon Under ($39.95) 6. Calf-leather skirt by Elie Tahari, at Current Boutique ($375.99, originally $1,198) 7. Leggings with leather accents, at T.J. Maxx ($29.99) 8. Hopsack peak-lapel blazer, at Gant ($595)

This article appears in the January 2015 issue of Washingtonian.

Posted at 11:13 AM/ET, 01/16/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
The annual shopping event goes down March 3. By Caroline Cunningham
Image courtesy of District Sample Sale.

The 14th annual District Sample Sale will bring together DC’s most fashionable shoppers at Long View Gallery for a night of cocktails, hors d’oeuvres from local eateries, and items from Washington boutiques at some seriously discounted prices. End-of-season styles will sell for up to 90 percent off the ticketed price, and shoppers can preview upcoming collections with exclusive District Sample Sale discounts.

This year’s sale will benefit the DC Diaper Bank, which provides an average of 75,000 clean diapers to low-income families in DC, Maryland, and Virginia every month. Since 2006, the District Sample Sale has donated more than $315,000 to women’s and children’s charities in the area.

Tickets go on sale at 10 tomorrow morning through the District Sample Sale website, including $40 general admission tickets, $100 VIP tickets, $250 Benefactress tickets, and $600 Corporate Benefactress tickets. VIP tickets—which include the product-heavy goodie bag and an extra hour of shopping from 5:30 to 6:30—tend to sell out quickly, so make sure to be online when the tickets go live.

District Sample Sale. March 3, 5:30 to 9 PM, Long View Gallery, 1234 Ninth St., NW.

Posted at 01:49 PM/ET, 01/13/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
Find your soul mate for $5,000. By Caroline Cunningham
Photograph by Shutterstock/Nejron Photo.

Need a date for this Valentine’s Day? Step away from the Tinder: Three Day Rule, an LA-based matchmaking company, launches in DC on Wednesday.

Founder Talia Goldstein got started in the biz while working at E! Entertainment, where she'd become the office go-to for dating advice. As more friends started asking for her to set them up, she began hosting singles events—which quickly boomed to 600-person guest lists.

Talia Goldstein is the founder and CEO of Three Day Rule. Photograph courtesy Three Day Rule.

It was then that Goldstein decided to quit her job and launch TDR, her answer to the high-performing, busy modern women and men who want to find their soul mate without wasting time on bad first dates.

Anyone can join TDR as a free member, which puts them in a database of potential matches for the paid clients. But the company’s most popular offering is a $5,000 six-month matchmaking package, which includes TDR representatives hunting down candidates and meeting them in person to vet them for compatibility, plus access to TDR events, a photography session, dating coaching and styling, and feedback after each date. There's also a $3,500 package, which provides three months of personalized matchmaking without any of the added perks.

We asked Goldstein to give us a bit of background on this “white-glove” matchmaking company and what made Washington next on their list for launching the service.

Why should singles sign up for Three Day Rule, rather than just using OkCupid or eHarmony?

Think of us as the solution to outsource your dating life. Were not another online dating site or mobile app. We put the human touch back into dating. Our white-glove service means that we hand-select and vet every potential match in person before making any formal introductions to clients. We get answers to the questions that youd like to know but might be awkward or uncomfortable to ask: Do you want kids? Do you want to settle down in the suburbs or city? We also go to specific events looking for matches on the clients behalf. As an example, if our client wants a corporate type, our matchmakers will infiltrate finance events and lawyer conferences to meet matches for them.

Walk me through the TDR matchmaking process. I sign up for TDR—now what?

You grab coffee with your matchmaker and get to know her, and she gets to learn about you and your preferences. She then goes back to our database and finds about 100 people who seem to fit what you are looking for based on their profile. She starts meeting with potential matches in person to vet them and make sure they would be a strong match. When she finds someone she truly believes is a great match for you, she will send you a bio she has written and photos and ask if youd like to meet them. If you say yes, you go on a date and then give your matchmaker feedback after the date. We also gather feedback from the match to share with you.

Why launch the next branch of TDR in Washington?

The DC dating scene can be difficult due to demanding work schedules and the transient population. There is a huge opportunity for TDR to help DCs large population of accomplished, busy professionals who are single and looking for a committed relationship.

Who’s your target clientele in DC?

Singles who are ready for a committed relationship and want a partner in that process. We work with both men and women and with all types of people—busy professionals, Fortune 500 executives, successful entrepreneurs, screenwriters, teachers, and artists. Our clients tend to range in age from 28 to 65, but we are always on the lookout for quality singles of any age.

What do you love about matchmaking?

There is nothing more fulfilling than helping the singles we work with make meaningful connections and find love. I really enjoy meeting all of the amazing singles we work with—everyone is unique and interesting and has so much to offer. And I obviously love attending weddings of the couples that Ive matched!

Posted at 11:54 AM/ET, 01/13/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
Another bargain-friendly retailer hits the neighborhood. By Caroline Cunningham
Photograph courtesy Jamestown.

When T.J. Maxx and HomeGoods opened in Georgetown in September 2013, residents worried about what it would do to “the character of the neighborhood,” according to the Washington Post. But from what we can tell, it’s been a boon—at least where property value is concerned.

Vornado Realty Trust purchased the Shops at Georgetown Park at a foreclosure auction in 2010 for $61 million and quickly filled it with chain stores—including a 27,000-square-foot H&M and a DSW—bringing lower-end retailers into the otherwise upscale shopping destination.

In August, Jamestown Properties bought the mall from Vornado for a full $211.5 million more than Vornado paid in 2010—and it’s inherited the lease of another bargain-friendly retailer, a 20,000-square-foot Forever 21, opening this Saturday. This is the brand's second store to open in the District.

While some residents may balk at the trendy-cheap aesthetic coming to their neck of the woods, the developers have found a new niche of shoppers, attracting bargain-hunters and students on a budget.

As for what Jamestown intends to do with the mall now that they're holding the reins? More food and dining, following the lead of Jamestown's other properties, Boston's Newbury Street and New York's Chelsea Market.

The grand opening kicks off at 10 AM on Saturday, January 17, at 3222 M Street, Northwest. In addition to 50 percent off sale items, the first 300 customers in line will receive gift cards ranging in value from $10 to $210.

And in the meantime: If you love the price of big-box stores but not necessarily the quality, here are some tips to help you get away with shopping at Forever 21 (without looking like you shop at Forever 21).

Posted at 01:46 PM/ET, 01/12/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
The model and actress was in Washington Thursday to chat about her new book. By Caroline Cunningham
All photographs by Daniel Swartz Photography.

A seven-months-pregnant Molly Sims arrived at Drybar Bethesda on Thursday night to sign copies of her latest book, The Everyday Supermodel, her Bible for women who want to look and feel their best.

The glossy, 320-page tome includes plenty of autobiographical anecdotes—Sims's transformation from a unibrowed teen to Sports Illustrated swimsuit model, losing the 72 pounds she gained with her first pregnancy—plus advice on subjects such as how often women should wash their hair.

Sims had been on a talk show in New York that morning and she was flying out to Los Angeles the next day, but she paused in Washington to sign some books and stay overnight at the Hay Adams—she wanted to stay somewhere “historic,” she said—and to weigh in on DC style with Washingtonian.

How long have you wanted to write this book?

I think the book has probably been in my mind for three or four years. It started with me being who I am—I love giving advice, and I’ve always been that girl. It started with my girlfriends, and then it went to a blog, giving out tips and secrets on, and now here we are, two years later, with a book.

People often say Washington style is conservative. What do you think?

You know what? I love DC style. It is a tad conservative, but I love it because I think it’s so ultimately chic. I love the women who embrace color in DC, and even though the forms and the structure of the outfits might be quite simple, they mix it up with statement necklaces. I love Mrs. Obama’s style where she wears a beautiful tea-length skirt with a cardigan and a statement necklace. I do think it’s a little conservative, but DC style has a definite chicness and a sense of play, whether it's with a color or with accessories.

So how would you define DC style?

When I think of DC, I think, “They take care of themselves. They dress up.” It’s not like Los Angeles where you’re going to be in your flip-flops and your rolled-up boyfriend jeans and your long boyfriend cardigans or an oversize sweater. And it’s not like New York, where it’s head-to-toe designer. There’s an elegance to DC.

What are the must-haves in your closet?

I love the cross-body bag. I think every woman should have one—it makes you hands-free, it’s good on the go, and you can tuck in the straps and make it a chic clutch at night. Also, a boyfriend jacket that you can wear with a tank top or over an amazing dress. I always tell women to really play with their accessories. Have two or three great handbags, a great pair of black heels, a great pair of nude heels. Those are my staples.

How do you keep that supermodel glow on the road?

If I’m going from a long working morning to day to an afternoon to night, I will try to use a primer to help my makeup last longer. There are some wonderful ones out there, such as Smashbox or Make Up For Ever. I also use lipgloss or a rosebud salve that you can get at your local drugstore on my eyelids to get that natural glow. As you get older, think creams and use less powder, and make sure to hydrate and moisturize.

Posted at 01:29 PM/ET, 01/09/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
The brand says goodbye two years after coming to Washington. By Caroline Cunningham
Photograph by Andrew Propp.

It’s the same old story: Husband invests $2 million in wife’s fashion line. Sales boom. Husband and wife divorce. Husband launches his own line. Disaster ensues.

In 2011, Chris Burch launched C. Wonder, a women’s clothing and accessories line that’s packed with the same preppy flair found in his ex-wife Tory Burch’s designs. This was a point of contention during the lengthy legal battle over Chris Burch’s stake in his ex-wife’s company.

Initially, C. Wonder blossomed, opening more than 30 locations around the country. DC got its own taste of the brand when the retailer opened in Tysons Corner in 2012. The second C. Wonder installment opened in Pentagon City a year later.

But just over two years since we welcomed the brand to Washington, it’s officially closed its doors on both locations, as of Monday. The company had closed a number of locations throughout the last quarter of 2014, but the last 11 US locations are scheduled to shutter in the weeks to come.

Whether C. Wonder will continue to exist as a brand has not been announced at this time, but we recommend you start looking elsewhere for your yacht-party attire.

Posted at 01:02 PM/ET, 01/07/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()