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Ahead of her appearance at the Front Row, the TV star and author shares style tips and her favorite local spots. By Diana Elbasha
Maria Menounos will be in Bethesda this weekend for The Front Row. Photographs courtesy of BrandLinkDC.

Tonight marks day two of Bethesda Row’s annual fashion extravaganza, the Front Row, and the appearance of this year’s VIP guest, Maria Menounos. The Extra host and reality television star is constantly on our radar for her impeccable style—from red-carpet stunners to cute, workout-motivating fitness wear and everything in between—so it seemed only fitting that she’d headline one of the area’s most highly anticipated fashion events. Before sitting front and center at the runway show that takes over Bethesda Lane Friday evening, Menounos will greet guests and sign copies of her newly released book, The Everygirl’s Guide to Diet & Fitness, in front of Redwood restaurant beginning at 5. While sit-down tickets to the show, which kicks off at 7:30, are sold out, guests are still welcome to purchase copies of the book and meet the star beforehand. Read on for our interview with Menounos, who told Shop Around about everything from her favorite DC spots to her closet essentials. 

Welcome to Washington! What has your experience been with our city? Any favorite spots?

I love the city and being active in causes I believe in. I’ve advocated for diabetes awareness on the Hill and have been a part of other coverage and advocacy efforts. I also love the history surrounding Washington, and seeing the cherry blossoms never gets old. 

What’s your impression of DC fashion? 

Most people say it’s conservative, but I disagree. The style is some of the sharpest around; it’s smart and sexy.

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Posted at 12:36 PM/ET, 06/13/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
The local entrepreneur shares her beauty must-haves. By Diana Elbasha

Photograph by Joy Asico.

When she’s not at her day job as a financial executive for Marriott, beauty guru Maha Sharma can be spotted holding down the fort at DC’s newest blow-dry salon, Blo. We met Sharma when she opened her new spot dangerously conveniently close to Shop Around's downtown HQ back in March, alongside celebrity guest Whitney Port, and we immediately took notice of her polished look: spring-appropriate pink pout, clear, glowing skin, and, of course, silky-smooth waves. Naturally, we took the first opportunity to ask for her beauty tips. Read on to see the five items this pro always has in her makeup bag.

1) Unite 7Second Refresher 

“It is the perfect pick-me-up after the gym. Lightweight and refreshing, it helps keep your blowouts looking red-carpet-ready. Best of all, it doesn’t leave behind the chalky, powdery residue that a lot of other dry shampoos on the market tend to.” $24 at

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Posted at 04:30 PM/ET, 06/10/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
Your guide to the week’s most stylish events. By Diana Elbasha
If you're still on the market for a new bathing suit, you're in luck: Brazilian swim brand D'Milikah pops up in Georgetown this week. Photograph via Facebook.

D’Milikah Splashes Show at the Waterfront

Still searching for that perfect bikini? Brazilian swimwear brand D’Milikah hosts a runway show at Nick’s Riverside Grill—which will offer summer-themed drink specials for the event—on the Georgetown waterfront this week to showcase its latest colorful designs, including resortwear and a few men’s pieces. Wednesday 6:30 to 9:30. 3050 K St., NW.

Shop LA Style Fashion Showcase at the W

LA style collective M Dot makes its first East Coast appearance at the W Hotel’s Living Room this week, where you’ll be able to shop the designs of five Californian designers and snag some beauty advice from celeb makeup artist Marisol Garcia. Expect to see some familiar faces, as the bloggers behind Good Good Gorgeous, A Loyal Love, and Be Loud Be You will be on site to offer style tips. RSVP to Wednesday 6 to 9 and Thursday 11 to 7. 515 15th St., NW.

South Moon Under’s Summer Block Party

The Mosaic District location of this local favorite hosts an evening of shopping and sipping in preparation for the hotter season. Enjoy cupcakes and Honest Tea cocktails while shopping alongside Andrea Khoury of local blog Real Housewives of Northern Virginia, who is hosting the event. There will also be an in-store beauty bar and special discounts on summer clothing and accessories. Thursday 6 to 8. 2905 District Ave., Fairfax.

On Flora: On Work at Wild Hand Workspace

Alison Baitz of the beautiful arts-and-plants-focused e-zine On Flora is the guest of honor and curator of Wild Hand Workspace’s latest event, a pop-up shop of vintage office supplies. Join the locally based creative for an opening reception on Thursday, followed by a weekend-long shop featuring her hand-picked vintage items. Thursday 6 to 9, and Friday and Saturday 11 to 3. 716 Monroe St., NE.

The Front Row at Bethesda Row

Bethesda Row’s annual style event kicks off Thursday with the premiere of fashion documentary Versailles 73, followed by a Q&A moderated by Washingtonian fashion editor Kate Glassman Bennett. The three-day event culminates with a runway show on Bethesda Lane, showcasing the designs of the town’s best boutiques and attended by celebrity guest Maria Menounos. For a full list of events and promotions during Front Row, check out the website. All day Thursday through Saturday. Bethesda Ave., Bethesda.

Susana Monaco Trunk Show at Luna

Stock up on bright summer dresses and airy basics by contemporary womenswear brand Susana Monaco, which pops up for a daylong trunk show at Bethesda’s popular Luna boutique. The best part: All SM merch will be marked down 20 percent. Friday 10 to 9. 7232 Woodmont Ave., Bethesda. 

Posted at 04:15 PM/ET, 06/09/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
See the trailer for the locally based fashion documentary. By Diana Elbasha

Plagued by a false image of conservativism when it comes to style, DC’s self-described rep as an emerging fashion capital is often a controversial one. Personally, we feel its rapid spike in local labels with an increasingly edgy, entreprenurial lean (not to mention the roster of powerhouse designers that have come our way lately) has our city on its way to said status, but, alas, non-Washingtonians hardly see it that way. That's where Elaine Mensah comes in.

In her just-finished documentary The Politics of Fashion (produced by Svelte), Mensah aims to challenge the public's impression that DC lacks authority in the fashion department. The local-star-studded picture pulls together the city’s most powerful forces in styleincluding our own fashion editor, Kate Glassman Bennettto offer the public some insight into DC's increasingly influential fashion scene. The remaining cast is a mix of creative talents that make up all facets of local style, from Pulizer-winning critic Robin Givhan, to the young founder of Worn Creative, Nicole Aguirre, to luxury public relations pro Aba Kwawu. A slew of bloggers, shop-owners, designers, and more also make an appearance. The film premieres tonight during a kickoff celebration at Mazza Gallerie; tickets are sold out, but guests can add themselves to a waitlist via Eventbrite. Take a peek at the trailer below.


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Posted at 02:30 PM/ET, 06/03/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
Insiders tell us the luxe accessories brand may be headed our way soon. By Diana Elbasha
Photographs via

It’s been well-established that Shinola is a frontrunner in men’s accessories these days. Its distinctive watches made major waves last year when they landed a glitzy Vanity Fair spread, catapulting the brand from humble hometown startup to upscale industry leader. (We even snagged one for our annual holiday gift guide.) A tipster tells Shop Around that the brand's American-made goodswhich also include bicycles, journals, and wallets, primarily in luxurious leatherswill soon be a lot easier for Washingtonians to get their hands on. A Shinola boutique is rumored to be headed to the District.

We first heard the news in December, when the Michigan label announced plans for expansion not only to DC, but also to Minneapolis, Chicago, and London. Currently, the only standalone Shinola store that exists outside of its Detroit home base is in Manhattan’s Tribeca neighborhood, though a selection of the brand’s products are sold nationwide at high-end retailers such as Neiman Marcus.

Our suspicions were furthered when a DC-based job posting popped up on Shinola’s website. Our tipster says 14th Street is the top of the list for its location, though Shinola reps did not immediately respond to requests for confirmation of the rumor. We’ll update as we hear from them.

If the rumor proves true, the shop would sit alongside other neighborhood fashion favorites such as Federal, Mutiny, and Redeem. Where would you like to see the store open? Let us know in the comments.

See also: 

Gift Guide: For the Man in Your Life

Spring Style Picks: Colorful Men's Accessories

Posted at 04:30 PM/ET, 06/02/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
Your guide to the week’s most stylish events. By Diana Elbasha
Great news for jewelry lovers this week: Local boutique She's Unique hosts a carnival, while AUDEN (right) pops up in Georgetown.

Henri Bendel’s Birthday Bash

The girly retailer celebrates its birthday with a weeklong celebration at its Pentagon City and Tysons Galleria locations. Enjoy 30 percent off limited-edition Miss Bendel satchels as well as other in-store deals, such as a free scarf with any $150 purchase. There will also be an in-store VIP party in the middle of the week that adds cupcakes, Champagne, and music to the mix. All day through Saturday. VIP Party takes place Thursday 5 to 9. 1100 S. Hayes St., Arlington; 2001 International Dr., McLean.

Carnival at She’s Unique Boutique

You’ll spot lots of familiar faces at this playful event: Local blogger Natalie Pinto of the Fashionably Broke hosts a carnival-themed evening at She’s Unique, the Old Town jewelry favorite owned by SpicyCandyDC co-author Katya Ananieva. Get some styling tips from the bloggers, along with cocktails and discounts up to 30 percent. Plus, posting an Instagram from the evening using hashtags #OTBDBlockParty and #ShesUniqueCarnival automatically earns you a chance at winning a Voluspa candle. Thursday 6 to 8. 205 King St., Alexandria.

DC Style Factory Summer Celebration

Grab dinner and a few stylish goodies at the same time at DC Noodles this week, where local bloggers Tammy of A Loyal Love, Maria of Very Busy Mama, and Alison of DC Celine host a fashion-packed evening showcasing the season’s latest trends. You’ll be able to hear some summer beauty and fashion advice from the pros, peruse some jewels from Stella & Dot, and enter giveaways from Bluemercury, DC Style Factory, and Brierre Yoga. And, of course, Thai bites will be passed around. Thursday 6 to 9. 1412 U St., NW.

Summer Essentials Soiree in Old Town

Alexandria’s Sugar House Day Spa and the Pink Palm partner this week for a party to celebrate all things summer. Held at the salon, the event will provide guests with makeup touchups, discounts on spa and boutique items, and sweet treats from Dolci Gelati. Early arrivers will score swag bags; be sure to RSVP onlineFriday 6:30 to 8:30. 111 N. Alfred St., Alexandria.

Auden Trunk Show at Intermix

The edgy jewelry brand, typically found at upscale retailers such as Bergdorf Goodman, pops up in DC this weekend for a daylong trunk show at Intermix. Here’s your chance to try on some jewels from the spring/summer collection of the celebrity-beloved label. Saturday 1 to 5. 3300 M St., NW.

Posted at 12:05 PM/ET, 06/02/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
Your guide to the week's most stylish events. By Diana Elbasha
Made-to-measure womenswear brand NUMARI pops up in Old Town this Thursday. Photograph via Facebook.

Numari Trunk Show at Bishop

As part of Old Town’s Boutiques Up Late series, locally based womenswear brand Numari pops up at Bishop for a trunk show this week. The brand, which specializes in made-to-measure dresses, is normally sold online only, so here’s your chance to be fitted in-person into perfectly flattering frocks. Thursday 3 to 8. 815 King St., Alexandria.

Cocktails in the Courtyard at Shoe Hive

Don’t have happy hour plans Thursday? Drop by the beloved shoe shop to enjoy cocktails in its charming courtyard while perusing the designs of accessories brand Cinco Powell. Attendees will score 20 percent off Cinco Powell items, such as monogrammed necklaces and tassel handbags. Thursday 6 to 8. 127 S. Fairfax St., Alexandria.

Sara Campbell Grand Opening Party

The girly, made-in-USA fashion label kicks off the opening of its new Old Town location this week with an in-store celebration, at which Sara Campbell herself will be in attendance. Drop by the brand new boutique—you’ll be able to spot it by its black-and-white stripes—to enjoy a glass of wine or a morning cup of coffee and small bites. Guests will earn 15 percent off all purchases. Thursday 5:30 to 8:30, Friday 10 to 1. 320 Prince St., Alexandria.

Kevyn Aucoin Makeovers at Bellacara

Artists from the iconic makeup brand will set up shop at this Old Town beauty staple this weekend, offering one-on-one makeover sessions for boutique-goers. Be sure to call the shop (703-299-9652) ahead of time to make an appointment, as slots are limited. The $45 fee is redeemable for product in-store, and gifts will also be given with purchases. Saturday 10 to 6. 1000 King St., Alexandria.

Fashion Fights Poverty at Green Festival DC

The local installation of America’s largest sustainability-focused event, taking place this weekend at the Convention Center, will feature a style-packed runway show dubbed Fashion Fights Poverty, displaying the designs of ethical and eco-concious fashion labels. Stick around after the show to learn more about the labels at the booth labeled “Fashionably Green.” Tickets ($10 to $25) to the festival are available online. All day Saturday and Sunday. 801 Mount Vernon Pl., NW.

Posted at 12:48 PM/ET, 05/27/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
Whether business or casual, accessories with a hint of color put spring into a wardrobe. By Kate Bennett, Irina Grechko

Photograph of D. Wayne Robinson by Jeff Elkins.

Fashion-forward men often express their style with a signature, colorful accessory. For D. Wayne Robinson, president and CEO of Student Veterans of America, that’s a bow tie. “I wore a military uniform for more than 20 years, so I had time to think about what I’d dress like once I transitioned. These days, I’m biased towards bow ties,” says Robinson, who finds ties everywhere from Brooks Brothers and Andrew’s Ties to Bull & Moose and Sean John. “I enjoy a bow tie that speaks to how I’m feeling that day. Only those who pay attention can see it’s matching the color of something else I’m wearing.”

Photograph by Jeff Elkins.

1. Silk Road: Silk tie, $69.50 at Massimo Dutti (1220 Wisconsin Ave., NW; 202-944-8780)

2. Cash In: “Hampshire” bifold leather wallet, $125 at Rag & Bone (3067 M St.,NW; 202-295-9072)

3. Up Your Sleeve: Silver cuff links, $35.50 at Massimo Dutti

4. Buckle Up: Suede buckle loafers, $298 at Brooks Brothers

5. Time Will Tell: “Runwell” Contrast Chrono watch, $900 at

6. Geometry Lesson: “Coleco” cotton pocket square, $20 at Hugh & Crye (3212 O St., NW, Suite 5; 202-250-3807)

7. Carry All: “Dorilton” slim-flap briefcase by Tumi, $795 at Saks Fifth Avenue

Photograph by Jeff Elkins.

1. Paisley Perfect: “Isabel” cotton pocket square, $20 at Hugh & Crye

2. Clock In: Movado “ESQ One” watch, $150 at Saks Fifth Avenue

3. Fold and Hold: “Astern” leather trifold; $50 similar styles at

4. Take Cover: Acetate sunglasses with metal temples, $98 at Kenneth Cole (Pentagon City)

5. Mellow Yellow: Suede oxfords, $140 at Banana Republic

6. Connect the Dots: Handmade “Grover” silk tie, $35 at

7. Sock It to Me: Lavender socks, part of a “Prepster” pack of six in assorted designs, $39 at

Photograph by Jeff Elkins.

1. Top It Off: Block Headwear straw fedora, $60 at Saks Fifth Avenue

2. Sunny Skies Ahead: “Rez” sunglasses, $100 at

3. Greener Pastures: Sperry Top-Sider canvas boat shoes, $90 at the Lucky Knot (103 King St., Alexandria; 703-549-1797)

4. Tighten Up: Suede belt, $59.50 at Johnston & Murphy

5. Ride the Wave: Surfer silk pocket square, $70 at Thomas Pink (1127 Connecticut Ave., NW; 202-223-5390)

6. Code Blue: Salvatore Ferragamo card holder, $195 at Saks Fifth Avenue (Tysons Galleria)

7. Flower Power: Cotton bow tie, $58 at Bonobos (Bethesda and Georgetown)

This article appears in the May 2014 issue of Washingtonian.

Posted at 11:29 AM/ET, 05/27/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
The Maryland-based style pro is a consultant by day, blogger by night. By Diana Elbasha
Natalie's classic, feminine aesthetic has us visiting her site regularly. Here, she wears d'orsay flats by Betsey Johnson. Photographs courtesy of Natalie Vargas.

As saturated as Washington’s blogosphere can often seem, every once in a while, we come across a gem that completely impresses us. The latest on that list: Catalina Creative. Authored by 24-year-old Maryland native Natalie Vargas, what began as a side project (previously known as Doses of Design) to express her love for interiors has rapidly blossomed into a multifaceted lifestyle resource. In just about a year, Vargas has amassed close to 2,000 Twitter followers, her own print shop, a fashion-packed style guide, and, of course, blog posts full of sartorial and interior inspiration with a refreshingly minimalist yet elegant vibe. We chatted with the talented blogger to hear more about how her brand was born and where she gets her inspiration.

Take us through the evolution of your blog. How did it get to where it is today? 

It began as a home decor blog. I don’t think it was until late fall that I posted my first style post on a “beach chic” look. That day, I received so many comments and likes on my little blog, and I was ecstatic. From then on, I made it a point to write about more than home design. I joined Bloglovin’, created a Facebook page and a Google Plus page, tweaked my social media, and began seeking out and following lots of bloggers. Social media is your best friend in the blogosphere! This past January, I decided on a rebrand and a fresh start for a new year. My name no longer applied to what I was posting about, and I wanted to step things up, so Catalina Creative was born.

How would you describe your personal style—and what’s your favorite item in your closet?

As written in my Stylish Finds guide, “my style involves lots of neutrals, a casually chic look . . . pretty patterns and feminine lines.” I’m a fan of casual cool. I love to dress up when the occasion calls for it, but everyday life is spent in skinnies, chic flats, and a tee, silk top, or oversize sweater. In the office, I love fitted pants, heels, and a printed top for flair. Favorite item? I’m not sure I can choose just one! I finally bought my first Gigi New York clutch this year, in gray, with my initials in gold. I can’t get enough of that one. I’m also a big fan of my black skinnies and leopard pumps.

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Posted at 09:45 AM/ET, 05/23/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
Vogue’s powerful editor is hosting another pro-Democrat fundraiser. By Diana Elbasha
Anna Wintour is Barack Obama's fourth-biggest fundraiser. Photograph via lev radin /

From the start of his first presidential campaign, it didn’t take long for Barack Obama to become an icon in popular culture as much as in politics, thanks to the outspoken support of numerous Hollywood A-listers and other boldface names. Among such fans was, somewhat surprisingly, Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour.

Following lavish events—some of which raised upward of $1 million at a time and were cohosted by such names as Sarah Jessica Parker and Harvey Weinsteinthe Devil Wears Prada muse climbed the charts to become the Obamas’ fourth-biggest fundraiser. That extravagance continues this year with the announcement of another political event: a $32,000-a-head dinner to benefit the Democratic National Committee at Wintour’s Greenwich Village townhome, at which the President and First Lady will be the guests of honor. The event is scheduled for June 17.  

The fundraiser marks the second major event of the year in the ongoing Obama-Wintour relationship; early this month, the First Lady cut the ribbon at the opening ceremony of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Anna Wintour Costume Center. 

Posted at 02:13 PM/ET, 05/20/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()