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Hint: Most of them are happening in the suburbs, and some start as early as 9 PM Thursday. By Sarah Zlotnick
Photograph courtesy of Shutterstock.

Ah, Black Friday—love it or hate it, it’s the biggest retail holiday of the year, and it’s not going anywhere. In fact, this year, it’s creeping into Thanksgiving proper, with a few local shopping outlets opening on Thursday. Here’s the skinny on what’s going to be happening in the major shopping malls and neighborhoods in the area. If you’re planning on sticking to the District, take note—many stores and small boutiques have opted to not hold special sales this year, citing out-of-town customers and the mass exodus to suburban malls. Here’s a list of the specials deals you will find happening around town. Be sure to check back—many stores don’t decide their sales until a few days before, so we’ll update accordingly.

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Posted at 01:00 PM/ET, 11/19/2012 | Permalink | Comments ()
You know Forever 21, NastyGal, and ModCloth—now get to scrolling on the next set of affordable fashion sites. By Sarah Zlotnick


If Forever 21 grew up, snagged an entry-level job, and got seriously edited, it’d probably look a lot like A-Thread. We keep coming back for plenty of colorful, full-coverage options that will be fun on the weekends and quirky-cool in the workplace (case in point: this metallic sweater and this watercolor skirt). Most pieces range from $25 to $70.

11 under-the-radar shopping sites.

Posted at 09:35 AM/ET, 09/18/2012 | Permalink | Comments ()
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 ()