Brightly patterned pieces stand out in Undeniable’s neutral, warehouse-like interior. Photograph by Erik Uecke
I was both intrigued and puzzled when Undeniable Boutique owner Alicia Russman first described her shop to me. The list of cities she sources her clothing from is certainly long—Atlanta, Vegas, London, and Dallas, to name a few—but the fashion capital that is New York is conspicuously absent. “All the boutiques around here shop at New York shows,” she explained. In order to set Undeniable apart from the pack, she avoids that market and finds her store’s wares elsewhere.
That thoughtful strategy is reflected in every aspect of the boutique. Russman spent ages conceptualizing the store, a year and a half choosing the location, and several months transforming it into a space where each handpicked piece is equal parts trendy and comfortable.
Russman worked for several years in Washington’s marketing and advertising area (most recently as the creative director of a tech firm) and has been a businesswoman on the move for as long as she can remember. She wanted her business attire to be serious yet fashionable, and struggled to find clothes that would allow her to board a flight without arriving at her destination a wrinkled mess. During her travels, she also noticed people dressed in much more interesting items than she could find back home. Undeniable Boutique is her means of bringing those innovative fashions to the Northern Virginia scene.
Inside, Undeniable is a spare, warehouse-style space, which serves as an ideal backdrop for a range of colorful offerings. Casual tank tops and Southwestern-style tunics, perfect for an afternoon barbecue, hang next to brightly patterned cocktail dresses. More-subdued work pieces get a kick from unexpected details, like a scalloped neck on a fitted black frock, or orange and red stripes on a simple A-line sheath. Accessories have a global slant—think feathered bangles, clutches in mustard and raspberry, vintagey oversize rings, and necklaces fashioned by hand from black leather. Brands include British Yumi of London and Uttam; West Coast–based Eva Franco, Esley, Hazel, and Goddess Knits; and, out of Atlanta, Blue Plate and Karlie. Prices generally range from $60 to $215.
The wide variety of inventory helps the staffers present shoppers with multiple options. If something doesn’t look right, they’ll tell you, and then promtply scour the store again to find something better for your shape/color/price point/whatever.
“We’ve had people say, ‘Thank you for telling me that didn’t look good’,” Russman says, noting that some customers have visited the store five or six times since Undeniable’s Thanksgiving opening. She says they love the honesty.
Undeniable Boutique. Fairfax Corner, 11891 Grand Commons Ave., Fairfax; 703-327-4417. Open Monday and Thursday 10 to 7, Friday and Saturday 10 to 8:30, and Sunday 12 to 6. Closed Tuesday and Wednesday.