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Page Castrodale opened her shop, Curated, on May 16.  By Caroline Cunningham
Image courtesy Page Castrodale.

While Christmas shopping last year, Page Castrodale ran from store to store, trying to find unique, interesting gifts for all the ladies in her life. But she’s putting an end to her gift-buying dilemma by filling her new boutique in Old Town Alexandria, Curated, with accessories and home goods for every woman.

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Posted at 12:40 PM/ET, 05/20/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
Read this and weep (tears of joy), UMD students. By Caroline Cunningham
The TargetExpress will be located at 7501 Baltimore Avenue. Photograph by Caroline Cunningham.

Last July, the first of a new line of mini Target stores, called TargetExpress, opened in the retailer’s hometown, Minneapolis, right off of the University of Minnesota’s campus. In early July 2015, University of Maryland students in College Park will get a TargetExpress of their own, filled with products selected specifically with the college consumer in mind. Though we’ve criticized College Park for not being a very good college town, the addition of this store on Baltimore Avenue seems to be a step in the right direction.

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Posted at 11:19 AM/ET, 05/12/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
Washington women can hunt down the perfect pair at the new shop in Pentagon City Nordstrom. By Caroline Cunningham
Image courtesy Shoes of Prey.

Women can be pretty picky about shoes—wishing the heels were just a bit shorter, they came in more colors, or they were patent leather instead of suede. Jodie Fox, the founder of Australia-based Shoes of Prey, appreciates this need to find the perfect shoe, which is why she launched an online custom shoe shop in 2009 with the help of two Google alums.

On Thursday, Shoes of Prey will open in the Washington area for the first time with an in-store shop within the Pentagon City Nordstrom. Originally an online-only retailer, the brand opened its first physical store in Sydney, Australia in 2013.

“The one question we heard the most from our customers before opening a store was ‘What will my shoes look like in real life?’” says Fox. “We saw that what our customers really meant was: What does the shoe feel like on my foot? What does the leather feel like? What do these colors look like side by side?”

After great success with their first store—they won “Store Design of the Year” in 2013 from the World Retail Awards—the brand began expanding in the US market, choosing Nordstrom as their host. The Pentagon City Nordstrom’s Shoes of Prey shop includes "sculptures of flowers from shoes to shift your thinking from pulling something off the shelf to creating something you'll love,” says Fox

It works like this: after locating the women’s shoe section of Nordstrom where Shoes of Prey resides, pick up an iPad, loaded with the software that renders an image of the shoes as you design them. To get a feel of what you’re working with, there’s material swatches, sample shoes, and sizing shoes to make sure the fit will be right. After you’ve selected the shape, height, toe style, materials, and colors, and placed your order, your custom shoes will arrive on your doorstep three weeks later.

After a soft opening last Friday, Fox is confident the shop will be a hit with Washington ladies. “We already know that Washington women love to design their own shoes, because it's where we have the majority of our happy customers,” says Fox. “We cannot wait to shoe the women of Washington.”

Visit the Shoes of Prey boutique at Nordstrom, The Fashion Centre at Pentagon City, 1400 South Hayes St., Arlington; 703-415-1121.

Posted at 12:45 PM/ET, 04/22/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
The New York-based brand is bringing more luxury retail to town. By Caroline Cunningham
Pictured is Vince's store at Brookfield Place, New York. Photo courtesy Vince.

Vince, a luxury apparel retailer that got its start in Los Angeles with women’s knits and cashmere sweaters, is the latest in the long chain of new brands arrivals at CityCenterDC. The store is slotted to open on April 30 alongside other high-end shops: Boss Hugo Boss, Alexis Bittar, Burberry, and Kate Spade, among others.

The brand has international boutiques, but the CityCenterDC shop will be its first Washington storefront. The DC location will carry Vince women’s and men’s apparel and accessories, a go-to for high-end, "iconic essentials," from their $60 v-neck tees to their $995 glossy, slim-cut leather jacket.

The 2,562-square-foot shop will be located at 1093 Palmer Alley, NW, and it will be modeled after the design of the Brookfield Place Vince store in New York (pictured above).

Posted at 03:24 PM/ET, 04/21/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
The Japanese retailer announced they will finally open in the DC Metro area. By Caroline Cunningham
March Marcho / Shutterstock.com

On April 6, Uniqlo announced that it would open stores in three new areas in the United States: Seattle, Denver, and the DC Metro area. The new DC-area store will occupy around 10,000 square feet at the Silver Line-accessible Tysons Corner Center.

The store is slotted to open in spring or summer of 2016, and even through that’s still a ways off, it’s okay to start getting excited. Here are five things you have to look forward to at the new Tysons Corner Center Uniqlo.

1. Non-bulky, warm clothes

Forget about layering four pairs of leggings underneath your pants so that you don’t freeze on your walk to the Metro: Uniqlo’s Heattech products are specially designed to keep you toasty. The shirts, jeans, and leggings with Heattech are constructed with “a totally new material to combat the cold,” according to Uniqlo’s website, offering heat-trapping apparel that’s still slim fitting. Additionally, their “Ultra Light Down” jackets, parkas, and vests will repel water and keep you warm without creating a marshmallow silhouette.

2. Free alterations

Shorties, rejoice! The bane of a petite person’s existence is pants that fit everywhere except for in length. You can only get away with cuffing pants so many times, and taking them to seamstress or tailor can be inconvenient or expensive. With Uniqlo’s in-store alterations, jeans and pants over $20 can be hemmed on the day of purchase for free.

3. Under $40 jeans

Speaking of pants, if you’re a denim hoarder, Uniqlo will be your best friend for inexpensive jeans. Women’s jeans run around $39.90 full price, and with their ultra stretch, boyfriend, and slim fit cuts, you can have a cut and color for every day of the week that are comfortable, but still chic.

4. Outfit the whole family

With apparel in newborn, toddler, child, and adult sizes, Uniqlo could be your one-stop shop for flushing out the family wardrobe, from yellow duck onesies to office-appropriate dresses. Uniqlo sells everything from underwear to outerwear, so for everyday apparel, it’s a great go-to.

5. Clean and classic basics

Step aside, American Apparel. Chambray shirts, tees, and dressy blouses in a range of hues run around $13 to $30, rather than in the $30 to $60 range of American Apparel’s fashionable basics. Uniqlo isn’t around for the hyper-trendy dressers, and there’s not much in the way of formal wear, but for staples that will hang in your closet for a few seasons, it’s a no-brainer.

Posted at 12:16 PM/ET, 04/14/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
Washington’s preppy gents will have a field day (dressed in seersucker, of course) By Caroline Cunningham
Image courtesy Onward Reserve.

In June, luxury retailer Onward Reserve is slotted to open on Wisconsin Avenue in Georgetown. This will be the shop's sixth location, and it’s the furthest north of them all—the rest are in Georgia, North Carolina, and Tennessee.

The apparel has a distinctive southern gentleman flair, so Washington’s preppy men can look forward to picking up Smathers & Branson needlepoint accessories and plenty of pastel Collared Green neckties. With all the preppy, well dressed young men in town, Onward Reserve should feel right at home. Due to the fact that it'll be right in a major national city, TJ Callaway, Onward Reserve’s founder, viewed Georgetown as a natural fit for their next brick-and-mortar.

“We are thrilled to enter the Georgetown market and expect this to be one of the many premiere locations around the United States,” said Callaway.

Along with apparel, accessories, and shoes, the shop will also market home goods, gifts, and luggage, making it a great one stop shop for a graduation or Father’s Day gift with handmade wood cards, decanter sets, cologne, and watches.

Onward Reserve will be located at 1063 Wisconsin Ave., NW.

Posted at 01:38 PM/ET, 04/03/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
Because you needed more $80 t-shirts in your life. By Caroline Cunningham
Photo depicts the inside of Kit and Ace's Vancouver shop. Image courtesy Kit and Ace.

Lululemon founder Chip Wilson’s wife and son, Shannon and JJ Wilson, teamed up to launch a “technical cashmere” brand that has all the stretch, comfort, and machine-washable-ness of yoga pants, embodied in high-end, luxury apparel.

There are currently only seven boutiques worldwide, but the founders intend to open 50 retail shops by the end of the year—one of which will be located in Washington’s Shay development. The DC store, as with all Kit and Ace shops, will draw on its surroundings—local artists, craftsmen, and designers—for the boutique's design.

“We are excited to come to DC and bring a beautiful space in which customers can access our clothing, but also come away with a deeper sense of our brand. What we offer is far more than apparel; it’s an evolved retail experience,” said JJ Wilson in a press release.

The shop will market the brand’s minimalist designs—men’s and women’s apparel in shades of gray, blue, black, and white, including soft and drapey t-shirts, scarves, and blouses that are priced in the $80 to $120 range.

Kit and Ace is slotted to open on October 15 at 1924 8th St., NW.

Posted at 12:48 PM/ET, 03/31/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
This local startup has us swooning over their on-trend pieces. By Caroline Cunningham
Images courtesy Hanuel.

With it’s delicate accessories and very affordable prices, there’s little not to love about Hanuel, the online jewelry shop that launched this September. The site is the brainchild of two local women, Cynthia Kim and Jen Eun, who decided last fall to bring this collaboration to life.

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Posted at 03:55 PM/ET, 03/18/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
Check out the designer's hand carved and painted lucite jewelry. By Caroline Cunningham
Images courtesy Alexis Bittar.

After presenting for the first time at New York Fashion Week this February, jewelry designer Alexis Bittar is on a role. He made a name for himself with his carved lucite jewelry, a line which has expanded into 12 retail boutiques across the globe.

This week, Alexis Bittar opened his first store in the area. His soft opening at CityCenterDC took place on March 12, and there’s a grand opening slotted for April 9. The boutique will sell Alexis Bittar’s fine and fashion jewelry, including his chunky cocktail rings and his hand carved and painted lucite bangles and statement necklaces.

Alexis Bittar, CityCenterDC, 984 Palmer Ally, NW; 202-842-2804

Posted at 05:26 PM/ET, 03/13/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()
Marla Malcolm Beck’s products will soon be made available to 95 million households. By Caroline Cunningham
Image courtesy of Bluemercury.

Starting Wednesday, Bluemercury CEO Marla Malcolm Beck’s skin-care line will be made available to 95 million households via HSN. Beck created M-61 in 2010 in response to feedback from consumers looking for skin-care products made without any parabens, artificial fragrances, or sulfates.

HSN’s 24/7 curated retail channel will give M-61 a much bigger platform for the product. “With HSN, we will be able to reach an entirely new audience of women who are savvy about their beauty products, and know a great value when they see it,” said Beck in a press release.

In celebration of the launch, M-61 is also releasing brand new sets featuring the Hydraboost Eye, a cream that aims to reduce eye puffiness and fine lines; the Perfect Cleanse, a cleanser with mandarin orange and grapefruit; and the Hydraboost Cream and Serum moisturizers.

Posted at 04:04 PM/ET, 02/24/2015 | Permalink | Comments ()