Violet Boutique Brings Affordable, Party-Conscious Clothing to Adams Morgan

New store stocks breezy $20 tops and—gasp!—$45 sundresses.

By: Sarah Zlotnick

Violet Boutique
2439 18th St., NW; 202-621-9225
Open Tuesday through Friday noon to 8, Saturday 11 to 8, Sunday 11 to 6.
The 411: A boutique experience even the lowliest intern can afford, this new shop has a firm grasp on twentysomething Washington style. Flirty, fun (but never salacious) floral tops, one-shoulder dresses, and notice-me pieces of costume jewelry come in dozens of bright patterns and colors. Brands include Lush, Ark & Co., Everly, Collective Concepts, and Solemino.
See more: A photo preview of Violet Boutique.

When it came to shopping for cute going-out clothes, the Miller Lite-fueled main drag of Adams Morgan had sadly become the last place we’d think of to go looking. Sure, it’s an unavoidable destination when it comes to wearing said cute going-out clothes, but actually buying them? Packed to the brim with bars and drunk-food spots, 18th Street has seen more retail outlets close than open in recent years.

Luckily, newcomer Violet Boutique has us reconsidering our old don’t-shop-where-you-party stance. Officially open for business as of last Saturday, the cheery purple-and-white-walled shop sits above reggae club Timheri in what once was Color Me Mine. Merchandise includes everything a Washingtonienne would wear to a nearby night spot. The clothes are trendy but accessible—think floral tops, dresses, and plenty of color and pattern—and have delightfully affordable prices. While items from brands such as Ark & Co. and Collective Concepts can go for $60 and up at places such as Current in Arlington or Bethesda’s Mustard Seed, 31-year-old owner Julie Egermayer keeps Violet Boutique’s average price at an easy-to-swallow $45. Oversize, Nicole Ritchie-type sunglasses can be had for $10, and jewelry—which includes funky feather earrings, bright beads, and the occasional horseshoe charm—is all $20 and less.

>> See more photos of Violet Boutique

“I wanted Violet to be a boutique experience everyone could take part in,” Egermayer says. Originally from Omaha, Egermayer moved to DC eight years ago to pursue a career in politics. The desire for more “direct, intimate” contact with people on a daily basis pushed her away from Capitol Hill and into a master’s degree in social work, but that, too, resulted in a quick burnout. Finally ready to take her love of fashion seriously, she called upon cousin Jennie O’Dell to help select merchandise and painstakingly turned her dreams into brick-and-mortar reality. The resulting boutique indirectly takes its name from a former coworker of Egermayer’s named Iris.

“She had her own sense of style and was everything I wanted my store to embody,” says Egermayer. “The name Violet reminded me of her. Yes, it’s very common, but it’s appealing to everyone.”

By relying on time-tested, universally flattering trends that, while definitely fun, still wear well in more conservative Washington, Violet certainly isn’t taking any risks. But that doesn’t mean we aren’t looking forward to killing time here before happy hour by hunting for a new tank. Egermayer tells us a cute one can always be had for less than $20. That’s cheaper than two cocktails!

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