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Seasoned pros share their tips for making the most of DC’s favorite shopping party. By Erin Williams
Serious shoppers at the 2010 District Sample Sale. Photograph by Sarah Olin.

This Tuesday marks the fifth year of a Washington tradition: the District Sample Sale. The event brings together some of the most fashionable—and focused—Washington women to shop pop-up versions of local stores and boutiques at seriously discounted prices. While the browsing, nibbling, and socializing may last three hours, veterans of the event know that the best of the buying starts as soon as you walk in the door. To prep for the festivities before the lines begin at Mazza Gallerie tomorrow night, we asked the DSS host committee (and a few multi-year attendees) to share their tips for navigating the trenches in order to yield the best results possible for your time and money.

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Posted at 02:05 PM/ET, 09/10/2012 | Permalink | Comments ()
A handy roundup of the can’t-miss events happening tomorrow night all over the area. By Sarah Zlotnick
Photograph courtesy of FNO Georgetown's Facebook page.

If you’re somehow not yet familiar, Fashion’s Night Out is essentially an Anna Wintour pet project turned global phenomenon. Tomorrow night, stores all over country will stay open late and host major shopping parties (all in the name, of course, of “boosting the economy”). But take note, shopping fanatics: A trip to New York isn’t necessary, as the Washington area celebrates the retail holiday in a big way. To help streamline your party-hopping, we sorted through dozens of event listings and press releases and compiled this handy guide to the best of the best. Happy shopping, FNOers! We hope to see you out there.

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Posted at 02:00 PM/ET, 09/05/2012 | Permalink | Comments ()
Make more money off your gently used goods by avoiding the consignment store route and trying these free, easy-to-use websites and apps instead. By Meg Biram

We’ve all got those pieces in our closet gathering dust—the dress that’ll fit perfectly once you lose the last three pounds, or those pants you swear you’re going to get hemmed next week. Rather than wasting valuable closet space, just sell it and move on.

You can always take your clothes to consignment shops around town, which is a good option if you are just way too busy to put any time into selling your clothing, but you will only get a fraction of what you could from selling them online.

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Posted at 09:25 AM/ET, 09/04/2012 | Permalink | Comments ()
Just in time for Labor Day weekend: A handy roundup of shopping guides to our favorite out-of-town retail destinations. By Sarah Zlotnick
Silk & Burlap in Frederick carries a city-chic mix of furniture and clothing. Photograph courtesy of Robin Altice.

Annapolis, Maryland

Distance from DC: About 1 hour

If you love polished prep, all things Americana, and crabs on the waterfront, head to Maryland’s quaint capital. The shops here veer mostly classically chic (yes, there’s lots of Lilly Pulitzer) and maritime antiques, but there are some pretty darn trendy places, as well. Don’t miss: Re-Sails for sleek sailing duffels, in-business-since-forever Laurance Clothing for classic boating garb for your guy, and the handbag line Hobo’s amazing flagship store, which just opened in April. 

See our Annapolis shopping guide.

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Posted at 09:30 AM/ET, 08/28/2012 | Permalink | Comments ()
Ten helpful tips for what stuff to seek out—and what to skip. By Sarah Zlotnick
Knowing what to look for will help you make smart purchases at summer sales. Photograph by Yassine El Mansouri.

1) It’s probably best to avoid jeans.
Most summer styles, especially in the Washington area, are a lighter wash and looser fit. That’s ideal for our icky humid summers, but chances are you’re going to want something sleeker, slimmer, and darker come fall. And since you’ll wear them all the time, it’s worth it to pay full price.

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Posted at 10:25 AM/ET, 08/17/2012 | Permalink | Comments ()
Because budget clothes can still look chic—provided you know what to look for. We share our go-to tips and tricks. By Sarah Zlotnick

1) Avoid obviously serged ruffles.

A sure sign that something is cheaply made is an obvious detail hem. The thread used to finish the ruffle on the left may be the same color as the background fabric, but it’s so densely concentrated (the result of using an industrial-grade server) that it ends up looking darker. A higher-quality garment would have been made with fabric of a denser weft and warp that wouldn’t unravel as quickly and therefore wouldn’t require a serged hem. If you buy clothes with ruffle detailing at F21, it’s best to stick with pieces where the ruffle is folded back under itself (right), leaving a smooth finish on the end.

2) Buy patterns on certain fabrics.

F21’s cotton and rayon pieces fade and pill quickly in the wash, which becomes especially obvious on articles of clothing that have been screened in the contrasting colors used in patterns. It’s better to stick with polyester and viscose, which hold dye better and don’t pill.

3) Make a beeline for the Love 21 room.

This is the retailer’s “contemporary” brand, designed with an audience of twenty- and thirtysomethings in mind rather than teenagers. Designs are more sophisticated, the color palette is less crazy, and there’s a stronger emphasis on quality trimmings and fabric. It’s also where you’ll find most of the Forever 21 pieces you see in fashion mags, and the prices really aren’t noticeably higher than what’s available in the rest of the store.

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Posted at 01:40 PM/ET, 07/23/2012 | Permalink | Comments ()
Here’s what you need to know about selling your clothes to the sometimes picky consignment chain. By Erin Williams
A peak inside 14th Streets new Buffalo Exchange, slated to open this Saturday. Photograph courtesy of Anna Weldon.

As we head into summer, the season of barbecues, rooftop parties, outdoor concerts, and movie festivals, choosing an outfit for each event can be almost as fun as the events themselves. But if you find summer getaways and cocktails have left you strapped for cash, look no further than Buffalo Exchange, the newest trade and consignment outlet to hit Washington. For those unfamiliar, the premise is pretty simple: Customers are encouraged to bring in gently used clothing to be sold through in-store buyers; they can also shop the inventory that caters to both men and women.

Interested in selling? The chain—which has stores all over the country, but none previously in the DMV area—has a reputation for being picky about what it accepts on consignment, so we asked store manager Anna Weldon for a few pre-opening tips on what to bring in.

The specific summer trends they're looking to scoop up.

Posted at 02:45 PM/ET, 06/14/2012 | Permalink | Comments ()
This super-easy bracelet takes less than ten minutes to make.
By Sarah Zlotnick
Photographs by Kelci House.

This season’s resurgence of friendship bracelets has us perpetually on the hunt for fun, colorful additions to our arm parties. And while we instantly fell in love with this J.Crew cloth bracelet, the style had us thinking back to our summer camp days, when we made bandana versions of these by the wristful. Using only fabric scraps, pretty buttons, and a small jar of water, this sweet bracelet set can be yours in under ten minutes (and well under J.Crew’s $22 price point!). Read on for the instructions.

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Posted at 09:50 AM/ET, 06/04/2012 | Permalink | Comments ()
Oft-photographed local fashionistas share their fail-proof tips.
By Erin Keane Scott
Photographs courtesy of Kate Michael, District of Chic, Katherine Kennedy, and Lacey Maffettone (clockwise).

The annual simultaneous arrival of bathing-suit and wedding seasons is officially upon us (whose idea of a cruel joke was that?), meaning weeks of continuous picture-taking that make us wish the words “social network” weren’t in our lexicon. Per the ace advice boudoir photographer Shelby Leigh gave us back in April, we’ve perfected our skinny arm and made false lashes a must for any and all photo-worthy events. But though our Facebook profile is now much improved, we couldn’t help but wonder how our favorite local style setters manage to look so flawless in photos time and time again. Read on for their go-to strategies.

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Posted at 11:45 AM/ET, 05/24/2012 | Permalink | Comments ()
Oprah-approved bra expert Susan Nethero gives us five tips for getting it right. By Natalie Grasso
Bra-fitting expert Susan Nethero says European lines like Chantelle ($52.50 and $42, at Journelle) are worth the investment.

Poke, slide, slip, sweat. If that's your bra talking, it's time to review the finer points of a perfect fit. We've asked Susan Nethero, the woman Oprah dubbed the "bra whisperer," to share her top five tips for choosing a well-fitting bra.

1) Support shouldn't come from the straps
There's more to the architecture of a bra than you might realize. Think the straps should do most of the work? Au contraire, says Nethero. "Ninety percent of the support should come from your bra band, and only the remaining 10 percent should come from your straps. Most women associate looseness with comfort, but that is actually the most common cause of poor bra fit. When bands are too loose, the back of the bra rises up, causing breasts to sag. Finding the right fit will eliminate the appearance of back fat and will end discomfort, meaning you can stop fidgeting with your bra all day! Your underwire will stop poking, your breasts will stop over- or underfilling your cups, and your bra straps will stop falling down."

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Posted at 01:30 PM/ET, 04/26/2012 | Permalink | Comments ()