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Eight off-the-beaten-path style stops from a few of our fave insiders.
By Sarah Zlotnick, Natalie Grasso

The cover story of The Washingtonian's April issue featured a great exploration of the area's hidden gems. And while there was lots to discover, the list was unfortunately lacking in advice from the city's style stars (sometimes there's just not enough room for everything good in print). But never fear! We consulted a few of Washington's top fashion folk for tips on where the in-the-know go.

Annie Lee, owner of Pretty People Vintage
"One of my favorite places is Treasure Trove. It's in Annandale and owned by Inova Hospital--all proceeds go to the hospital. All of the doctors' wives and the nurses who work for the hospital bring their stuff there. They have a great turnover--every couple of weeks, it's like a brand new store. They have housewares, clothing, books, great jewelry, really beautiful paintings. It's kind of like a high-end thrift store. They're very discerning about what they take in, but the prices are still affordable. I've gotten so many things there: really great vintage dresses that little old ladies bring in, furniture, decorative accessories for my store. It's next to a grocery store and has a very plain strip-mall storefront, but inside, it's amazing."

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Posted at 01:50 PM/ET, 04/19/2012 | Permalink | Comments ()
A local boudoir photographer shares some tricks of the trade.
By Natalie Grasso

You don't have to be in lingerie to look this adorable. Photograph by Shelby Leigh 
Okay, so maybe we're not hounded by the paparazzi on a daily basis. Yet in the age of Facebook and the ubiquitous camera phone, it seems like each day brings a new opportunity for friends near and far to see how good (or bad) we're lookin' as we move through daily life. And who has the time to primp? Lucky for us, photographer Shelby Leigh of Cupcake Boudoir and Shelby Leigh Photography spends her days bringing out the inner-supermodel in regular gals, and she's here to share her tips. Whether you're smiling for your BFF's Instagram account or just trying to beef up that OKCupid profile, here's what you need to know about putting your best face forward.

First and foremost, what's a good way to produce a natural smile? 
"When you get in front of the camera, laugh! You'll feel silly but it truly does work for making your smile look amazing and natural. [And you don't have] to be hysterical--just a little giggle will do. There are too many people who look like they are in pain because their camera smile isn't their real smile. If you're going for a more serious smirk, just relax your mouth--so there is a bit of air between your lips--and 'smile with your eyes', which basically means make sure you still look happy and not angry."

What type of outfit looks best on camera?
"The clothing that reads well on camera--and in real life, for that matter--is clothing that fits and is flattering. [As a photog], I tend to gravitate towards images that look timeless, so it's usually the really tame ensembles I love--like a little black dress. You can look at that image at any point and it will always just be a classic."

Next: the most flattering makeup and poses.

Posted at 11:45 AM/ET, 04/16/2012 | Permalink | Comments ()
The founders of DC’s newest style speakeasy are here to help you get dapper with a lookbook and some easy-to-follow advice.
By Sarah Zlotnick
Photograph by Kate Warren

Good news, guys: Menswear is experiencing something of a renaissance in Washington right now. Between all the awesome new places to shop, homegrown shirt and tie labels, and dapper Washingtonians rocking bold looks in our What I Wear to Work column, there's never been a better time to amp up your style game. The latest evolution of the scene? A super-cool "style speakeasy" happening Thursday, April 26. Masterminded by Elise Peterson of It's Vintage Darling, bow-tie maker Eliot Payne of Accoutre, and favorite Shop Around photog Kate Warren, the first WW Club (it stands for Whiskey and Women) event will feature a selection of menswear from Jack Spade, Federal, It's Vintage Darling, Dr. K's Vintage, Ginger Root, Alton Lane, and The Good Kin. There will also be a burlesque performance, a whiskey tasting, and a stocked bar. General admission is $10, and $25 gets you advance access at 6:30, a half-hour open bar, and a private burlesque performance. Tickets are available here.

Afraid to show up without already looking the part? No worries--Peterson and Payne styled a killer lookbook for the event (you can click through some choice shots in the slideshow above) and offered up eight simple guidelines for giving your closet a much-needed kick in the, well, pants. Happy clothes hunting!

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Posted at 03:00 PM/ET, 04/12/2012 | Permalink | Comments ()
The “Commander in Chic” author shares the secrets Michelle Obama uses to create a polished outfit in no time flat. By Sarah Zlotnick

Michelle Obama is a busy, busy woman. Between appearances on Nickelodeon shows, delivering gifts to Toys for Tots, and supporting her husband while he, you know, runs the country, FLOTUS doesn’t have time to spare for sartorial insecurities and multiple outfit changes. In Commander in Chic, a working woman’s style manual modeled after Mrs. Obama herself, Essence editor-at-large Mikki Taylor offers readers a lifestyle guide for the modern woman with an impossibly packed calendar. Can’t spare a second to read the compendium that could save you even more? No worries—Taylor summarizes five of the most important takeaways right here.

1) Wear clothes that make sense for your life.

"We all have long days, just as Mrs. Obama does,” says Taylor. “We may not have state dinners at the end of the day, but we do have events.” Taylor tells us life gets a lot easier when you size up how you’re spending your time and fill your wardrobe with pieces that fit within that framework. Be realistic about what you actually need to get dressed for. Attending a lot of company networking happy hours? Then you probably don’t need to keep a bunch of sequin miniskirts around.

“Define what works for you, and never veer from it,” says Taylor. “If something is not in Michelle’s lane, you won’t see her in it.”

Pay attention to the differences between how you think you ought to dress and what actually allows you to function. “You’ll never see Michelle suited up and there for the ‘appearance’,” says Taylor. “She’s there to do the work—it’s not about playing dress-up.”

Does your job keep you on your feet all day? Save the heels for after hours and wear a pair of comfy flats or chic, supportive boots. Never leave your computer? Wear sleeves you can roll up and leave the bracelets at home. You’ll be more productive when your wardrobe doesn’t interfere with the task at hand.

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Posted at 02:42 PM/ET, 01/26/2012 | Permalink | Comments ()
We ask the women who stock Washington’s coolest boutiques where they go when they’re buying for themselves. By Natalie Grasso

Hu's Wear owner Marlene Hu Adalba shops for hard-to-find Institu Estherderm products on spacenk.com. Photograph of Hu by Scott Suchman

You already know your favorite boutique owner has a knack for filling her shop with crowd-pleasing pieces. But where did she get that fabulous top she’s wearing? We polled seven of the area’s most stylish store owners on their go-to spots for stocking their own closets and makeup drawers. Read on to see where they head when it’s time to turn their sharp buyer’s eye inward.

Kelly Muccio, owner of Lost Boys

Carol Mitchell: “Carol is the best at curating couture. Only the most swoon-worthy styles from Dolce & Gabbana to Prada to Roland Mouret. Every time I walk in, I feel like I’m at Fashion Week all over again, and styled in her killer dresses I always leave runway-ready.”

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Posted at 11:02 AM/ET, 01/12/2012 | Permalink | Comments ()
Cleared out your closet in honor of the new year? We’ve got tips on how to turn a profit on your barely worn goods. By Laura Wainman

It's Vintage Darling in Columbia Heights is on the hunt for Navajo print pieces. Photograph by Erik Uecke

It’s eleven days into 2012, and those resolutions are (miraculously) still sticking. You’re a regular at the gym every morning. The office sweets hold no power over you. You’ve even tried—and rocked—one of our fun fashion risks. Most important, you’ve cleaned out your overstuffed closet and vowed to finally part ways with those snakeskin pleather pants that still have the tags on. But what to do with the heap of once-loved clothing now sitting on your bedroom floor? The answer’s easy: Sell the items to a local consignment or vintage shop. To help streamline the process (and ensure you get the best value for your pieces), we asked Washington-area secondhand shops for the skinny on what they’re currently seeking, what they’ve got more than enough of, and just how big your cut will be.

DC


Black-Eyed Susie
3443 14th St., NW; 202-588-9039

Black-Eyed Susie specializes in funky, fun items that can be worn to the office and to the bar. Sought-after brands include Urban Outfitters, Anthropologie, Ann Taylor, and J.Crew. The store is still taking winter items and will begin accepting spring fashion in mid-February to late March.

In demand: High-waisted skirts, layerable tops, big sunglasses, men’s items with a lean look (skinny ties, tailored button-downs) charm necklaces, and one-of-a-kind jewelry.

Don’t bother bringing: Jeans, suit pants, or generic sweaters.

Payment: The consigner receives 40 percent of the selling price; you’ll be paid by check.

Do I need an appointment? Yes; e-mail susie@blackeyedsusiedc.com for Wednesday through Friday availability.

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Posted at 02:32 PM/ET, 01/11/2012 | Permalink | Comments ()
Sweet boutiques in Alexandria's Del Ray. By Emily Leaman

Photograph by Chris Leaman.

Artfully Paper (2007 Mount Vernon Ave.; 703-778-4440; artfullypaper.com) is a one-stop gift shop. Owned by one of the chocolatiers at nearby Artfully Chocolate, the store stocks smart gift bags as well as wrapping paper, candles, stationery, and some party supplies. The card selection ranges from touching to funny to slightly raunchy, but you can find one for any occasion. Do-it-yourselfers might like the colorful card stock and matching envelopes in the back of the store.

It’s easy to miss the basement-level consignment store Labels Exchange (2417-B Mount Vernon Ave.; 703-836-2211; labelsexchange.com), but bargain shoppers looking for deals on clothes, shoes, and accessories should make a stop. The place has everything from vintage eveningwear to tags-on work slacks. A recent visit turned up a black cocktail dress from Bebe for $30 and a plaid Ralph Lauren clutch for $16.50. Sift through the Ann Taylor and Gap labels to find the gems.

Budding ballerinas and girly-girls would have a ball at the Purple Goose (2005 Mount Vernon Ave.; 703-683-2918; thepurplegoose.com). The children’s boutique, which carries sizes newborn to 12, is packed with clothes, shoes, accessories, and toys. Frilly tutus hang from the ceiling, and lacy pompom socks are near the front desk. Don’t expect many deals, but the shop holds occasional sales.

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Posted at 11:03 AM/ET, 01/27/2011 | Permalink | Comments ()
12 distinctive stores offering furniture, toys, clothing, and more By Sarah Zlotnick

The Pear Tree Cottage is brimming with wall art, clocks, lamps, and antiques. Photograph by Michael Ventura.

Beekman Place
Furniture spills onto the sidewalk in front of Beekman Place. Bargain hunters and antiquers have been known to spend entire Saturdays at the shop, which boasts a large selection of secondhand furniture, vintage glasses, and Asian-inspired offerings.

126 Maple Ave. E., Vienna; 703-938-8646

Curtsies & Petals
Girly girls and bridesmaids flock to Curtsies & Petals, where former wedding-shoe designer Susie Kim keeps a classic selection of handmade jewelry, feminine photo albums, and wedding-party-appropriate presents, such as colorful prints of iconic Washington neighborhoods and other places by local artist Joseph Craig English. Brides can also try on shoes and Badgley Mischka dress samples, which can be ordered and shipped in time for the ceremony. If all the sweetness gives you a craving for something sugary to eat, head upstairs—Cupcakes (703-938-3034), which opened in August, serves small cakes and hot chocolate.

527 Maple Ave. W., Vienna; 703-938-1220

The Freeman Store & Museum
Old-fashioned children’s toys, local-history books, and turn-of-the-century sweets fill this general store, which dates to 1859. Check out the collection of early-20th-century material in the upstairs museum, which features everyday objects such as pocket watches and street signs. Open Wednesday through Sunday noon to 4.

131 Church St., NE, Vienna; 703-938-5187

The Old Book Company of McLean
Times past are the focus of the Old Book Company, which specializes in military histories and explorers’ tales. In business 17 years, the shop caters to a pre-Facebook crowd who reminisce with owner Phillip Hanson about the books of their youth. In its first year, the store acquired the book collection of convicted spy Aldrich Ames and has maintained a steady stream of well-read clientele. Collectors stop by for finds including Hardy Boys novels, British first editions of The Lord of the Rings, and a big selection of leather-bound, gold-plated literary classics.

6829 Redmond Dr., McLean; 703-734-0858

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Posted at 08:15 AM/ET, 01/21/2011 | Permalink | Comments ()
In Turkey—where some women get styled twice a day—a hairdresser becomes an expert with a hair dryer. Here are some local Turks who are standouts for blowouts. By Cathy Alter

Rose Are at Elite for Hair Mini Spa Salon, 2315 Wisconsin Ave., NW; 202-337-8048.

Are’s blowouts are a relative deal compared with those at salons a few blocks away, and fashionistas such as CityShopGirl’s Kelly Collis Fredrick have discovered this unassuming Glover Park salon. Blowout: $40.

Guven Baltaci at Digos Salon, 3713 Newark St., NW; 202-244-0040.

Client Elchin Orer admits she never blow-dried her hair when she lived in Turkey: “My apartment was above a hairdresser.” The DC interior designer says she can do her own hair but much prefers Baltaci’s touch. Blowout: $40.

Zeke Baskaya at Headliner Hair Salon, 5008 Connecticut Ave., NW; 202-966-9662.

Owner Baskaya gives a blow-dry that, says one regular, “has nice volume on top so you don’t have that flat-head look.” Blowout: $40 and up.

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Posted at 10:46 AM/ET, 09/28/2010 | Permalink | Comments ()
Get clothes, shoes, and school supplies this weekend without forking over the sales tax. By Adela Smith

Attention back-to-school shoppers and anyone looking to freshen up fall wardrobes: Virginia and Maryland are cutting you a break this weekend with sales-tax-free shopping days.

Friday through Sunday in Virginia, school supplies that are $20 and under and clothing and shoes that are $100 and under are exempt from the state’s 5 percent sales tax. The Leesburg outlets are extending store hours until 10 PM on Friday and Saturday and 9 PM on Sunday for the occasion. Maryland’s tax-free holiday begins Sunday, but runs a bit longer—shoppers can avoid the 6 percent sales tax on similar items through the 14th.

Happy shopping!

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Posted at 07:49 AM/ET, 08/05/2010 | Permalink | Comments ()