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Furniture to Fit Any Space: Room & BoardSmall condo? Quirky space? Limited budget? At Room & Board, the modern furnishings include space savers such as the Avery Bed with Storage Drawer ($1,999, queen), flexible pieces like the Chelsea Three-Piece Sectional ($3,247 and up), and affordable finds such as the Jake kitchen chair ($79). Four floors of choices mean you could furnish a house, down to custom window treatments, colorful kids' beds, and limited-edition art. The furniture won't go out of style quickly; like J. Crew, Room & Board has great basics in classic styles. + Bonus: Almost everything is US-made. 1840 14th St., NW; 202-729-8300
Stylish Outdoors: Janus et CieInterior designers love this retailer, whose luxe furniture can be placed outside or in. Janus's Becky Fischer says Washingtonians are drawn to the Arbor collection, "a contemporary take on Victorian garden furniture." An Arbor dining chair sells for $879; a round dining table and sideboard are in the $3,500 range. + Bonus: The enclosed courtyard with a topiary wall means customers can enjoy the sunny outdoors even on a winter day. 3304 M St., NW; 202-333-8111
Witty Accessories: Jonathan AdlerFans of pop art rejoiced when industry icon Jonathan Adler opened his Georgetown boutique last year. Think kitschy decorative items ($148 bird-shaped vase, anyone?) and plush velvet sofas, witty needlepoint pillows, boldly printed rugs, and more. Your home will thank you. + Bonus: Pick up Adler's 100 Ways to Happy Chic Your Life ($24.95) for fun and surprisingly helpful tips on life and decor.1267 Wisconsin Ave., NW; 202-965-1416
Designer Chic: Lori Graham Home and Stuart Nordin Home & DesignInterior designers Lori Graham and Stuart Nordin are helping define Washington style with their chic shops. Graham blends contemporary art with furnishings and lighting that combine midcentury mod and Hollywood glam. We love the vintage snakeskin-covered "tusk" table by Maitland-Smith ($6,595). Nordin is all about youthful modern— our favorites include coral and barnacle formations from the Eastern Shore ($70 and up) and wildly colored Moroccan leather poufs ($245). + Bonus: Nordin offers free design advice on Walk-in Wednesdays. The first Tuesday of the month from 5 to 7, you can sip Champagne while browsing. Lori Graham Home, 1412 14th St., NW; 202-745-0118. Stuart Nordin Home & Design, 101 S. St. Asaph St., Alexandria; 571-357-1144.
Cutting-Edge Contemporary: ContemporariaThe sleek, high-quality furnishings here by such top designers as Minotti, Cappellini, and Vitra will still look new in 20 years—which helps alleviate the sticker shock. (The Minotti Sherman sofa runs $24,000.) + Bonus: Contemporaria's uncommon collection extends to floor coverings, such as shearling rugs that look and feel like the finest fur stole, and Paola Lenti's carpets in polished palettes. 3303 Cady's Alley, NW; 202-338-0193
Sophisticated but Fun: Ligne RosetThis French company is quintessentially modern without a single cliché nod to icons like Eames or Saarinen. Its most recognized piece, the Togo modular sofa (starting around $3,300), debuted 40 years ago but stays fresh with a rainbow of color options. Other pieces run from fun to sleekly sculpted, with outstanding comfort and quality. The elegance of the bestselling Nomad-Express (starting around $6,000) puts other sofa beds to shame. + Bonus: The year-old DZein Studio, which houses Ligne Roset, includes showrooms for innovative Flos lights and Natuzzi Italia leather furniture. 2201 Wisconsin Ave., NW; 202-248-3112
Fresh Design: Darryl CarterCarter's passion for the handmade is everywhere in his store, where the 19th-century beams and brick are exposed on every floor. Named to Architectural Digest's list of 100 top talents, Carter designed much of the furniture and lighting, which mix with antiques and modern art. + Bonus: The minimalist tableware is all handmade. Check out the antler ice-cream scoops ($56). 1320 Ninth St., NW; 202-234-5926
Bright Lights: Annapolis Lighting and Dominion Electric Supply Co.Dominion Electric and Annapolis Lighting have both been in business for decades, with loyal staffers and customers. For good reason: They sell thousands of products, from light switches to the fanciest of chandeliers. The choices can be overwhelming, but each has certified lighting designers who can help you decide. Bonus: All of the showrooms have an LED lab where you can compare bulbs and hold fabric and paint samples up to them to get a feel for how they'll look in your home. Dominion's Arlington flagship has a delightful outdoor lighting display that makes you feel you're on an evening stroll. Multiple Maryland and Virginia locations
Modern Lights: IlluminationsAsk any modern-minded architect or designer where to get top-quality lighting, and Illuminations is likely to be the answer. Artemide, Kartell, Foscarini, Bocci, and dozens more brands can be found here, and the consultants at its Georgetown and Penn Quarter stores will help you decide what should go where. Bonus: The store's online sample sale is impressive for its variety of styles and sizes. 3323 Cady's Alley, NW, 202-965-4888; 415 Eighth St. NW; 202-783-4888
Rugs by Design: Matt Camron Rugs & TapestriesDesigners have long been in the know about Matt Camron, a Texas company that specializes in reproducing antique designs in custom colors and also crafts contemporary patterns made to order. Now Washingtonians can see its work in a new DC showroom above Marston Luce Antiques. Bonus: Owners Elizabeth Esfahani and Dara Mersky are working with a Defense Department program to employ Afghan women to produce a new line of rugs for them this fall. 1651 Wisconsin Ave. NW; 202-333-0642
Modern Dining Tables: CalligarisThis company got its start 90 years ago in Italy, when Antonio Calligaris fashioned a wooden chair with a woven rush seat and curved legs. Since then, the company has expanded to make beds, sofas, and other furnishings with modern flair. Dining room furniture is still a strong suit; most tables feature a hidden pull-out leaf. Bonus: Space tight? Some of the company's coffee tables feature adjustable legs and fold-out tops that mean they can be converted into dining tables. 5252 Wisconsin Ave., NW; 202-244-5544
Great Classics: Random HarvestBeth Aberg's stores carry antiques and her own new line of classically styled upholstery and case goods. Buying directly from mills, she says, keeps down prices. We've got our eyes on the never-out-of-style Wiltshire dining table ($2,800) and the elegant Bailey tufted sofa ($2,200 and up). + Bonus: The stores sell great vintage Chinese chests.DC, Bethesda, Arlington, Alexandria
Proper and Elegant: The Kellogg CollectionIf you asked Miss Manners how to furnish a home, she'd send you here. Kellogg sells traditional elegance, and designers help you place everything just so. We're smitten with the needlepoint rugs and hand-painted dressers. + Bonus: Download a free 12-page guide, "Interior Design Made Simple," at kelloggcollection.com. 5215 Wisconsin Ave., NW, 202-363-6879; 1353 Chain Bridge Rd., McLean, 703-506-0850
Nuts for Neutrals: And BeigeAnd Beige is a booster for the much-maligned hue in its name, "embracing the beauty, sophistication and simplicity of a neutral palette." Its furnishings are no wallflowers, though—hipster lines such as Julian Chichester and Oly Studio have a glamorous edge. + Bonus: An online library of floor vignettes offers decorating inspiration. 1781 Florida Ave., NW; 202-234-1557
Twist on Tradition: Urban CountryThe shapes are familiar—a club chair or a high-back sofa—but gussied up: A tufted ottoman sports a zebra print and Lucite legs ($3,290), while an emerald-green lacquered coffee table has a gold-leaf Greek-key base ($1,295). + Bonus: Selling your house? The store's staging service can make it look first-rate. 7117 Arlington Rd., Bethesda; 301-654-0500
Hand Made Quilts: Bellwether Dry GoodsIt's not quite over the river and through the woods, but a trip to this retailer in Anne Arundel County is like going to Grandma's house. Georgina and Richard Fries offer more than 150 handmade quilts ($45 to $1,950). Their secret? A network of 125 Amish and Mennonite ladies who do the intricate stitching. + Bonus: Customers can bring in partially made or damaged quilts to be completed or repaired. 137 Bayard Rd., Lothian, Md.; 410-867-0665 (by appointment)
Antique & Vintage
Swedish Simplicity: Tone on ToneThe clean lines and muted paint colors of the mostly antique furnishings at this boutique will make you swoon for Sweden, the country that much of the wares come from. Much higher-style than Ikea, it's also higher-priced, with pieces averaging about $1,500. + Bonus: Need decor ideas? Don't miss owner Loi Thai's Pinterest page. 7920 Woodmont Ave., Bethesda; 240-497-0800
Creative Vintage: Foundry and GoodWoodA one-block stretch of DC's U Street is home to two of the city's most refined refurbishers. At Foundry, owner Yvette Freeman finds top-quality antique furniture and gives it a modern makeover. Our favorite recent piece is a wingback chair recovered in men's flannel suit fabric ($3,100). One block east, GoodWood owners Anna and Dan Kahoe reimagine the classic American mercantile. Antique and vintage furniture shares the stage with boutique fragrances in apothecary bottles, new women's clothing, and the odd taxidermy alligator head. + Bonus: Both stores constantly refresh their inventory, so if you don't find what you want, come back in a week. Foundry, 1522 U St., NW; 571-277-5245. GoodWood, 1428 U St., NW; 202-986-3640.
Graceful Vintage: Silk & BurlapOn a street full of shops selling antiques and home decor, Silk & Burlap is a favorite. From crystal-knobbed vanities and chalk-painted dressers to ghost chairs and filigree light fixtures, the vintage and contemporary furnishings have a light, airy feel. + Bonus: Clothing racks feature designs by such contemporary labels as Yoana Baraschi and Tracy Reese. 28 E. Patrick St., Frederick; 301-360-9648
Finest Antiques: GeorgetownFrom the sublime (19th-century painted Swedish furniture at Marston Luce) to the sublimely absurd (a late-'80s Bloomingdale's display in the shape of a hyperbolic white quilted pocketbook at Darrell Dean), the 1500 and 1600 blocks of Wisconsin Avenue in Georgetown have the highest concentration of top-quality antiques around. Dean and Luce have the most practiced eyes. The shop at 1657—with Oliver Dunn, Moss & Co., and Catharine Roberts—offers vintage home and garden accessories, while Comer & Co.'s laid-back style keeps the 18th- and 19th-century English and Continental offerings from feeling fussy. + Bonus: For a caffeine-and-pastry infusion, Pâtisserie Poupon (1645 Wisconsin) is steps away. Darrell Dean, 1524 Wisconsin Ave., NW; 202-333-6330. Marston Luce, 1651 Wisconsin Ave., NW; 202-333-6800. Oliver Dunn, Moss & Co., Catharine Roberts, 1657 Wisconsin Ave., NW; 202-338-7410. Comer & Co., 1659 Wisconsin Ave., NW; 202-525-2767.
Midcentury Finds: Home Anthology, Archer, and Daniel DonnellyGot the Mad Men bug? This area is rife with midcentury-modern offerings. Start at the 5,000-square-foot showroom of Home Anthology, where Rob Degenhard and Nini Sarmiento scour auctions, estate sales, and other sources for furnishings, lighting, and accessories. In Georgetown, Robert Archer sells both vintage and modern, including pieces by DC architect Hugh Newell Jacobsen. (A fantastic barely there Vero glass coffee table is $3,400.) For those who already own vintage, Daniel Donnelly can reupholster or refinish it. Along with his showroom full of finds, he does a robust custom business. + Bonus: Donnelly's handmade ceramic lamps are sold at Archer. Home Anthology, 91 Mellor Ave., Catonsville, Md.; 410-744-0042. Archer, 1027 33rd St., NW; 202-640-2823. Daniel Donnelly, 520 N. Fayette St., Alexandria; 703-549-4672.
True Shabby Chic: Lucketts StoreForget the fake shabby chic you see elsewhere at high prices. Real deals are found at this farmhouse hosting more than 30 antiques dealers. You could spend hours sifting through architectural elements such as columns as well as lighting, dishes, and more. A visit yielded a weathered gray nightstand ($89), a curvy-legged end table ($198), and a spectacular 1930s rewired crystal chandelier ($1,148). + Bonus: The Beekeeper's Cottage next door has beautiful French country antiques and painted furniture.42350 Lucketts Rd., Leesburg; 703-779-0268
Decor Day Trip: Historic Savage MillAmong the unusual shops in this former textile mill, a few stand out: Hands of Time sells clocks, from cuckoos to grandfather. In the Antique Center, two favorite vendors focus on midcentury: Class of 56 is full of affordable finds, such as a large wooden bowl for less than $6, while Modern Eyes' smaller selection includes some furniture—a Russel Wright desk was a reasonable $695.+ Bonus: Stop for coffee and a delicious French pastry at Bonaparte Breads. 8600 Foundry St., Savage; Hands of Time, 301-206-3281; Antique Center, 301-369-4650; Bonaparte Breads, 410-880-0858
Linens & Accessories
Bedroom Magic: Valerianne and Timothy Paul Bedding & HomeForget prepackaged sheets: At Valerianne, Aimee Wedlake mixes gorgeous bedding for a look that's all yours. Sheet sets range from $250 to $1,200, depending on the thread count or any custom work. Meanwhile, Timothy Paul is another magnet for luxe linens, as well as a favorite for upholstered headboards ($1,000 to $2,500).+ Bonus: Timothy Paul is also a designer pick for distinctive rugs. While the Fairfax branch has rugs and bedding, the 14th Street shop is expanding in January, with the original rug store (1404 14th St.) moving into the new space. Valerianne, 211 Mill St., NE, Vienna; 703-242-1790. Timothy Paul Bedding & Home, 1529-A 14th St., NW, 202-234-2020; 2910 District Ave., Suite 140, Fairfax, 703-992-9494.
Beautiful Planters: Flora's Feathered Nest"We love blurring the line between indoor and out," says Marcia Copenhaver, whose garden and home goods overflow from a converted 1930s barn. Flora's is a destination for pottery, including Campo de' Fiori's mossy planters and Guy Wolff's handmade pots. The decor is casual but carries big impact, such as huge French farmhouse clocks. + Bonus: Holiday displays are legendary. 12211 River Rd., Potomac; 301-765-0003
Country House: Creme de la CremeThese bright boutiques stock country chic, such as colorful John Robshaw pillows and table linens and the Cavallini Florentine picture frames. You can find a small gift such as a seashell spreader ($32) or splurge on elegant Claude Dozorme steak knives ($177 to $524).+ Bonus: In Middleburg, browse the meats and other food at Ayrshire Farm's Home Farm Store (1 E. Washington St.; 540-687-8882). 101 S. King St., Leesburg, 703-737-7702; 23 E. Washington St., Middleburg, 540-687-4796
French Accents: The French ApartmentMaybe you can't move to Paris, but you can pretend when you step into this Georgetown shrine to all things Gallic. Carved concrete planters, vintage Air France coasters, absinthe glasses, stylish room screens, and brass and glass side tables are the sort of treasures to be found in this chic shop done up in white with black accents. + Bonus: Owner Kathleen McGarrah goes on weekly forays for items, so there's always something new. 1671 Wisconsin Ave., NW; 202-506-1846
Old Meets New: Red Barn MercantileAmy Rutherford has an eye for blending vintage and antique accessories with current furnishings. Our favorites include brightly colored Pehr cotton storage bins ($49 and $79), the crosshatch pattern of Pine Cone Hill's Baja matelassé coverlet ($370 for king size), and vivid Dash & Albert rugs. + Bonus: A recent relocation puts Red Barn on the main drag of King Street, nestled in a row of several home shops between North Henry and North Fayette streets. 1117 King St., Alexandria; 703-838-0355
Finishing Touches: Pear Tree CottageFrances Brayshaw's shop is filled with vintage, European antique, and new "Hollywood chic" furnishings, plus hundreds of gifts and accessories like $185 chandeliers fashioned from antique milk strainers. + Bonus: Brayshaw now offers interior-design services. 12211 River Rd., Potomac; 301-765-0003
Pull a Room Together: The Cottage MonetAt this crammed-in-a-good-way shop painted in sherbet colors, Belgian linens, French and Italian cutlery, and colorful Italian ceramics share space with throw pillows, distressed terra-cotta planters, and wooden folk art. There's a bit of wit, too, like signs emblazoned with such sayings as you had me at merlot. + Bonus: Though the focus is on home accents, there is some furniture, too—a white library cabinet, a hutch, and coffee and dining tables. 36 Maryland Ave., Rockville; 301-279-2422
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Trendy Clothing If You're Over 35: GingerAt this chic boutique, you won't battle it out with tweens and twentysomethings for a dressing room, but you also won't leave looking like every other mom at the bus stop. The helpful service makes shopping even easier for fashion-forward labels such as Trina Turk, Calypso, and White & Warren. + Bonus: Don't miss the jewelry, including beautiful artisan pieces by Suz Somersall. 7114 Bethesda La., Bethesda; 301-664-9242
Shoes and Bags Fit for a Princess: Bishop BoutiqueThis Old Town gem boasts one of the area's largest selections of the Duchess of Cambridge's beloved L.K. Bennett shoes and bags, including her go-to "Sledge" nude pumps ($345). Other of-the-moment brands include Loeffler Randall, London Sole, and Matt Bernson. + Bonus: There's a small but well-edited selection of CC Skye jewelry and Alistair Rai scarves. 815-B King St., Alexandria; 571-312-0042
Budget Baubles: Lou LouThis local chain is one of Washington's most affordable spots for accessories. Along with its vast collection of statement jewelry—from neon baubles to brass spikes—you'll find colorful wallets, clutches, and totes.+ Bonus: Locations in Dupont Circle, Leesburg, and Middleburg also offer clothing, including Splendid and Ella Moss.Multiple area locations
Travel Wardrobe: WinkGraphic Tibi separates, printed Mara Hoffman dresses, and neon Clover Canyon bodycon dresses will get you in the mood to take a vacation. The chic boutique also has a great selection of denim from such labels as J Brand, 7 for All Mankind, and Citizens of Humanity as well as delicate jewelry. + Bonus: Look for vintage finds culled from stylish owner Paige Speyer's trips abroad.3109 M St., NW; 202-338-9465
Chic Dresses: Urban ChicFashionable locals flock to this spacious boutique for dresses of every kind, from breezy Shoshanna and DVF frocks to work-perfect 4.collective structured sheaths. A small selection of beauty products includes such hard-to-find brands as Sara Happ and Kai, and there's a large stock of undergarments—for that strapless or low-cut gown you pick out. + Bonus: Frequent trunk shows and events add to the draw of this sassy outpost. 1626 Wisconsin Ave., NW; 202-338-5398
Great Sale Dresses: CuspDresses abound at this girly designer haven, curated by Neiman Marcus. Young women love the cocktail stunners as well as office-appropriate shifts by the likes of Trina Turk, Diane von Furstenberg, Rebecca Taylor, and Tibi as well as colorful bags and statement shoes. + Bonus: There are sale items galore on Georgetown's second floor. 3030 M St., NW, 202-625-0893; Tysons Corner Center, 703-288-1940
One-Stop Shop: Bloomingdale'sDon't know what you want, just that you want something current? Head to Bloomingdale's, where you'll find perfectly stocked mini-boutiques—we're partial to DVF, Alice & Olivia, and Ted Baker—and loads of options for hard-to-find items like flattering jeans and swimsuits. + Bonus: We also love the well-lit dressing rooms. 5300 Western Ave., Chevy Chase, 240-744-3700; Tysons Corner Center, 703-556-4600
Perfect Jeans: Denim Bar and LunaDenim Bar carries rare Japanese and European labels beloved by denim connoisseurs—brands such as Momotaro, Japan Blue, and Nudie. Luna also has an ample selection of all the latest washes and cuts, with such labels as Mother, DL 1961, J Brand, Adriano Goldschmied, and Citizens of Humanity. + Bonus: Denim Bar offers hemming, alterations, and repair. Luna's occasional sales offer deep discounts. Denim Bar, 1101 S. Joyce St., Arlington; 703-414-8202. Luna, 7232 Woodmont Ave., Bethesda; 301-656-1111.
Preppy Style: The Lucky KnotLove all things prep? This shop—from the owners of the nearby stores 3 Sisters and Andrea's Boutique—stocks a who's who of prepster style (Vineyard Vines to Elizabeth McKay) and a boatload of nautical motifs. Preppy not your style? A second-level room houses sequined cocktail dresses, jewel-tone clutches, and glam baubles. + Bonus: Sale items from all three stores end up at Andrea's Boutique (217 King St.), often at 50 percent off. 101 King St., Alexandria; 703-549-1797
New York Style: Muléh and RedeemIf your style leans Manhattan, swing by Muléh for stunning pieces that define effortless cool, by the likes of 3.1 Phillip Lim, Hasche, Ter et Bantine, and Vivienne Westwood. Your look's more Brooklyn? Cross the street to Redeem, which carries edgy design by such emerging brands as Religion, Kai-aakmann, and, for men, Wolf vs. Goat. + Bonus: Part of Muléh is devoted to dreamy home goods that balance contemporary design with organic warmth. At Redeem, cool local wares include Saint Clair's modern-organic jewelry and men's apothecary and vintage-inspired goods by DC's Mutiny. Muléh, 1821 14th St., NW; 202-667-3440. Redeem, 1810 14th St., NW; 202-332-7447.
Cheap and Trendy: ZaraLooking for a bright-blue miniskirt? A little black dress with a collarful of gold studs? This Spanish chain is great for the latest trends. Prices rarely go over $100—Zara is more about quantity than quality—but everything from pencil skirts to two-tone seude shoes has subtle European flair. + Bonus: Down the block from the Georgetown Zara, its sister store, Massimo Dutti (1220 Wisconsin Ave., NW), recently opened. Consider it Zara for grownups: Styles are more refined and mature. 1238 Wisconsin Ave., NW, 202-944-9797; 1025 F St., NW, 202-393-2810; Westfield Montgomery Mall, 301-365-4930
Bargain Chanel: Inga's Once Is Not EnoughWhat do fashionable ladies who lunch do with their designer duds when tired of them? Chances are they bring them to this consignment shop. Owner Inga Guen rarely misses with her selection of gently used Chanel, Oscar de la Renta, Dolce & Gabbana, and Armani, to name a few. You'll spend a bit more than at other consignment shops, but the feeling that you're perusing the closet of a society doyenne is worth it. + Bonus: Don't overlook the shoes—you'll likely find styles by Manolo Blahnik, Prada, and Christian Louboutin. 4830 MacArthur Blvd., NW; 202-337-3072
Bargain Hermès: New to YouFor more than 20 years, this consignment boutique has been very selective about the clothes and accessories it accepts, limiting labels to designers such as Gucci, DVF, Tory Burch, and YSL. Recent scores include a Louis Vuitton Speedy bag for $300, an Hermès scarf for $265, and a $230 like-new Rebecca Minkoff brown-and-neon-green handbag that retails for $495. + Bonus: The staff have fabulous style, and they're happy to pull together outfits. 108 W. Broad St., Falls Church; 703-533-1251
Designer Splurge: Hu's Wear and RelishIt's not every day you can walk into a store and see the latest runway looks, which is why local style setters rely on Hu's and Relish. While Hu's carries more cutting-edge, artful fashions from the likes of Proenza Schouler, Yigal Azrouël, and Lanvin, Relish's looks by Maison Martin Margiela, Balenciaga, Cedric Charlier, and other designers feel simultaneously timeless and fresh. + Bonus: At Hu's Shoes (3005 M St., NW), you can find an avant-garde shoe for your new outfit. Hu's Wear, 2906 M St., NW; 202-342-2020. Relish, 3312 Cady's Alley, NW; 202-333-5343.
Bridal Foundations: TrousseauVisit on a Saturday and you may find a bride-to-be with her mom and bridesmaids, all getting fitted with undergarments for the big day. Trousseau also stocks veils, shoes, and other bridal accessories. + Bonus: You don't have to be a bride to appreciate the expert bra fittings. 306 Maple Ave. W., Vienna; 703-255-3300
Women's Shoes: Saks Fifth AvenueSaks's sprawling new women's shoe department is the anchor for the Chevy Chase branch's hip reinvention of its lower level. Look for the latest styles from Christian Louboutin, Chanel, Valentino, Jimmy Choo, Givenchy, Prada, and Tory Burch, all in a comfortable setting with helpful sales staff. + Bonus: After shoe-shopping, check out the revamped contemporary clothes department with such brands as 3.1 Phillip Lim, Joie, Theory, and DVF. 5555 Wisconsin Ave., Chevy Chase; 301-657-9000
Chic Work Dresses: Zoe BoutiqueLarge windows and a corner spot off Old Town's main drag foster an inviting vibe, but what makes Zoe shine is its polished apparel. Simple, colorful shifts and flattering wrap dresses join tasteful, on-trend separates such as printed pencil skirts, silk blouses, and tailored blazers from such midrange contemporary brands as Rebecca Taylor, Trina Turk, and Amy Matto. + Bonus: The free reusable tote Zoe puts purchases into is good for 5 percent off future shopping. 130 S. Union St., Alexandria; 571-970-6324
Luxe Lingerie: SyleneDespite all the fantasy—thank you, Victoria's Secret angels—buying lingerie is all about fit and function (not feathers). Without that, you have nothing. Enter Sylene. At the longstanding boutique, women find well-fitting bras, underwear, and shapewear in a comfortable environment with a knowledgeable staff. + Bonus: Need a bridal-shower gift? Sylene's plush microfiber robes can be embroidered ($85). 4407 S. Park Ave., Chevy Chase; 301-654-4200
Bohemian Chic: AnthropologieCozy, ladylike apparel in pastel and neutral hues rules at this national chain. You'll find lace dresses, flowy blouses, and dainty accessories by hundreds of brands, from Citizens of Humanity to Meadow Rue. Bonus: Don't miss the pretty, minimalist home pieces—from spice jars to duvet covers. Downtown DC, 202-347-2160; Georgetown, 202-337-1363; Chevy Chase, 301-654-1481; Alexandria, 703-535-8750; Tysons Galleria, 703-288-4387
Carefree and Current: South Moon UnderTribal prints, geometric shapes, and bright hues dominate the clothing and accessories at this chain. Brands include Free People, Rebecca Minkoff, and House of Harlow. Denim in both trendy prints and traditional blues by such labels as 7 for All Mankind and Joe's Jeans round out the mix. Bonus: The nine area locations occasionally host in-store soirees, usually featuring discounts, refreshments, and blogger appearances. Multiple Maryland and Virginia locations
Well-Priced Shirts: MadewellThis chain is most reliable for its shirts—from rugged chambrays to classy silk blouses—and other timeless basics like tees and cardigans. Backed by the quality of J. Crew, this sister store boasts a younger, more relaxed vibe with its geometric jewelry, brightly colored flats, and "destroyed" denim—all at friendly prices. Bonus: Some labels, such as Herschel Supply Co., craft unique accessories exclusively for Madewell. 1237 Wisconsin Ave., NW, 202-333-3599; Tysons Corner Center, 703-761-4301; 7101 Democracy Blvd., Bethesda, 301-469-0104
Sexy Party Outfit: IntermixSleek, body-conscious designs from the likes of Herve Leger, Helmut Lang, Sergio Rossi, Elizabeth and James, and Rag & Bone are infused with a sexiness that turns a ho-hum silhouette into a stand-out-at-the-party outfit. Bonus: Several times a season, Intermix teams up with designers such as Rag & Bone and Vince on exclusive pieces. 3300 M St., NW, 202-298-8080; Tysons Galleria, 703-506-0914
State-Dinner Gown: Saks JandelThe odds of being invited to a black-tie affair are high in Washington, which is why we appreciate Saks Jandel's racks of flowy, sparkly showstoppers from Valentino, Oscar de la Renta, and others. Bonus: For brides, this is the only area boutique to carry Vera Wang. 5510 Wisconsin Ave., Chevy Chase; 301-652-2250
Well-Priced Suits: SuitsupplyThis Amsterdam import excels at slim-fitting, impeccably tailored suiting high on style yet low on cost. But suits aren't the only game. From the slim-cut dress shirts and ties in every hue to the stylish shoes, dress socks, bags, and casualwear, it's one-stop wardrobe shopping. + Bonus: An on-site tailor means one less step to getting your dapper new suit.2828 Pennsylvania Ave., NW; 202-800-7800
Shirts That Fit: Hugh & CryeThis sunny space off of an alley sells the best-fitting men's shirts in town. The line's philosophy is that men do indeed have different body types—tall, short, skinny, athletic, broad—so it offers 12 sizes. While the shirts ($85 to $125) have the look and feel of Savile Row custom, they're all ready-made in a variety of patterns, styles, and colors. + Bonus:Hugh & Crye has launched a collection of blazers, with sizes in line with those of the shirts. 3212 O St., NW, Suite 5; 202-250-3807
Great Men's Shoes: Saks Fifth AvenueSaks is keeping the well-heeled men of Washington well heeled. Last year, the men's shoe department in Tysons increased in size and scope to offer contemporary shoes (Giuseppe Zanotti, Gucci, Cole Haan, Diesel, Tod's) adjacent to a dress-shoe section (Prada, Ferragamo, Bally, and more). + Bonus: Saks partners with a cobbler, so customers can drop off shoes needing repair. Tysons Galleria; 703-761-0700
One-on-One Help: Lost BoysLost Boys features cool-guy designers such as Band of Outsiders, Gilded Age, and Shipley & Halmos. What really makes this place stand out is owner Kelly Muccio, who offers the Black Room—a members-only, by-appointment styling studio where she and her assistants offer their undivided attention. + Bonus: The masculine vibe extends to the store's design—think leather armchairs, exposed brick, and bourbon. 1033 31st St., NW; 202-333-0093
Lumberjack Look: FederalFederal oozes the rugged, nonchalant cool of the hipster set. Starting with the wolf-skin rug, the store offers a heritage Americana aesthetic in the form of Red Wing boots, Filson bags, and Tanner Goods wallets. + Bonus: Need a manly gift? The shop also carries Pendleton blankets and tough-guy grooming gear. 2216 14th St., NW; 202-299-9008
Classic Menswear: Brooks BrothersFor some, Brooks Brothers conjures images of "old" Washington style: navy suits, stiff shirts, and standard khakis. But that idea is dispelled when you step into the massive Georgetown location, which boasts everything from casual sportswear to updated classics, custom suiting, and Brooks's stellar Black Fleece collection—a fashion-forward line of bold plaids, stripes, and revamped collegiate prep. + Bonus: Take a break from shopping and play a game of pool on the lower level. 3077 M St., NW; 202-298-8797
Last-Minute Baby Gift: Daisy Baby & KidsThis is a one-stop destination for newborn essentials, from irresistible nursery furniture to unabashedly preppy bedding and cute bath essentials. It also has a registry service and unusual gifts such as eco-conscious Babysoy clothing, thoughtful maternity beauty products, and chic Bloom high chairs. + Bonus: Owner Dana Evans offers free nursery-decorating consultations.4912-A Del Ray Ave., Bethesda; 301-654-7477
Black-Tie Maternity Gown: Bellies & BabiesThis consignment boutique carries a variety of brand-name kids' and maternity clothes. What makes it special is that mothers-to-be can also rent designer dresses for special occasions. (A two-day rental costs $45.) A miniature play area for kids adds to the welcoming feel. + Bonus: The shop donates unsold clothing to charities aiming to improve the lives of less fortunate families. 1913 Mount Vernon Ave., Alexandria; 703-518-8908
Child-Size Formalwear: The Magic WardrobeYour sister wants your little girl in her wedding party? Behind its dreamy windows, these boutiques stock darling designer dresses. Prices are on the higher end, but the quality is top-notch. + Bonus: The store offers monogramming. 1663 Wisconsin Ave., NW, 202-333-0353; 22 E. Washington St., Middleburg, 540-687-4643
Bookworm Heaven: Hooray for BooksBright-blue doors welcome customers to this Old Town gem with a large assortment of titles for kids and young adults. Neatly organized shelves are divided by age, and story-time readings, author signings, and workshops are draws. Can't find a title you're looking for? The staff can order it. + Bonus: Hooray for Books also carries educational toys, puzzles, and music CDs. 1555 King St., Alexandria; 703-548-4092
Mint-Condition Consignment: Monkey's UncleThis shop stands out for its selective array of kids' and maternity apparel. Thanks to clothing that's in like-new condition and a nice assortment of diaper bags, books, and baby gear, you may have a hard time remembering you're in a secondhand store. + Bonus: At a time when many businesses claim to be "green," this consigner shines for its commitment to using recycled materials. 321 Seventh St., SE; 202-543-6471
Terrific Toys: Kinder Haus ToysAt 5,000 square feet, this is one of the area's largest independent toy stores—and the best. Owner Sue Pyatt stocks it with everything from exquisite Madame Alexander dolls to a variety of Lego building bricks; there's even an area dedicated to arts and crafts. Want a gift with a real Washington feel? You'll find wooden presidential blocks as well as books such as Good Night Washington, DC and Call Me Madame President. + Bonus: Every Monday and Friday at 10:30, the store hosts popular book readings.1220 N. Fillmore St., Arlington; 703-527-5929
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For Your Stylish Best Girlfriend: TrohvIn this 8,000-square-foot space in DC's Takoma neighborhood, unusual gifts, such as a miniature terrarium of moss ($40), practically leap off the shelves. F. Scott Fitzgerald classics ($25) get stylish makeovers with metallic-paper covers, and a set of zodiac coasters ($18) is almost too cute to use. + Bonus: Trohv also carries high-end furniture. 232 Carroll St., NW; 202-829-2941
For the Couple With Everything: Home RuleThis pioneer of DC's thriving 14th Street scene packs in everything from chevron-patterned platters ($17 to $25) to gadgets such as the Corkcicle wine chiller ($25). An impressive wall of kitchen utensils, plus fun extras including cock-tail napkins printed with District maps ($5 a pack), make this an ideal stop for assembling gift baskets. + Bonus: Pop into Cork Market next door for wine and artisanal cheese to go into that basket. 1807 14th St., NW; 202-797-5544
A Washington Gift: Hill's KitchenYou'll find top kitchenware such as All-Clad pans and Mac knives at this shop, steps from Capitol Hill's Eastern Market Metro. Playful print aprons and dishtowels by Now Designs make wonderful gifts, as do Washington-centric items such as cookie cutters shaped like the Washington Monument and states. + Bonus: The store offers classes on everything from knife skills to pasta-making.713 D St., SE; 202-543-1997
For a Martha Stewart Wannabe: The Nest EggThis gorgeous store is full of what Martha would call "good things"—from deliciously scented candles to elegant his and hers mugs. Want to get invited back for dinner? Pick up one of the lovely Lollia hand lotions ($28) or a crisp white cheese plate. Don't be surprised if you leave with something for yourself, such as a black lacquered bamboo chair with gray-and-white zigzag upholstery ($695).+ Bonus: Giftwrapping is free—and as beautiful as everything else in the store.11940 Grand Commons Ave., Fairfax; 703-988-0944
Toys for All Ages: Franklins General StoreFar from being a sentimental reminder of simpler times, Mike Franklin's 20-year-old multipurpose store is an exuberant display of gifts ranging from the serious (cool kitchen gadgets, handmade jewelry, local wine) to the silly (a hilarious middle-age parody of Goodnight Moon), with lots of penny candy to strike the right note of nostalgia. There's a separate toy store, with nary a Barbie or Spider-Man in sight; look for science toys and playthings made out of recycled materials. + Bonus: Stop into the adjoining microbrewery and restaurant for one of 12 handcrafted beers and a good wood-fired pizza. 5121 Baltimore Ave., Hyattsville; 301-927-2740
For a Georgetown Hostess: Dalton PrattDresses abound at this girly designer haven, curated by Neiman Marcus. Young women love the cocktail stunners as well as office-appropriate shifts by the likes of Trina Turk, Diane von Furstenberg, Rebecca Taylor, and Tibi as well as colorful bags and statement shoes. + Bonus: There are sale items galore on Georgetown's second floor. 3030 M St., NW, 202-625-0893; Tysons Corner Center, 703-288-1940
One-Stop Shop: Bloomingdale'sThis little shop always has just the right item for a certain type of hostess—namely, one who's part of Georgetown's social set. The owners have keen insight as to what customers crave—be it a cashmere wrap, a turquoise statement necklace, or a decorative plate. + Bonus: Don't miss the up-stairs home-goods section, stocked with candles and tasteful knickknacks. 1742 Wisconsin Ave., NW; 202-333-3256
Made in America: Red OrchardThis is a place to pick up a special gift to hide away until the perfect occasion. Exquisite $15 chopsticks could be paired with a restaurant gift card, a Simon Pearce hand-blown pitcher justifies ignoring a wedding registry, and a Rockville artist's woodblock-print tea towels ($15) elevate a housewarming. Well over half the offerings are handmade in the US. + Bonus: An offshoot, Tuck, a few doors away, offers youthful, fun dresses and well-edited accessories. 10253 Old Georgetown Rd., Bethesda; 301-571-7333
For a Vintage Lover: Georgetown EmporiumThere are more vintage chandeliers, bone-china services for 12, Buddha heads, bangle bracelets, and silk scarves—including a fair share of Hermès—than you can shake a vintage cane (also for sale) at. Open less than a year, this dollhouse-size shop is like an attic of treasures. + Bonus: Out back are garden ornaments. 2613 P St., NW; 202-944-8449
For the Francophile: Le Village MarchéGlassware from one of France's oldest factories, French-made tea towels in vibrant colors, and other finds evoke a Parisian aesthetic. Soaps, candles, and cards are bestsellers, but there are occasional vintage pieces such as old typewriters and cameras. + Bonus: New to the shop are small antique furnishings. 2800 S. Randolph St., Suite 110-A, Arlington; 703-379-4444
For Holiday Inspiration: PeriwinkleWhether you're looking for a hostess gift for a Downton Abbey-ish dowager, a clever bauble for a friend, or a toy for your favorite niece, you'll find it at this charming shop. Soaps, artisanal jams, and chocolate truffles sit alongside trendy jewelry, note cards, and elegant picture frames. + Bonus: Holidays are given their due with witty window displays—the tongue-in-cheek Halloween decor is the most tasteful we've seen. 3815 Livingston St., NW; 202-364-3076
For Glitzy Gifts: A ManoAdam Mahr specializes in curiosities for the society set, with everything from table linens to coffee-table books to fine jewelry. We're obsessed with Phil Luangrath's colorful animal-skin handbags. + Bonus: Mahr shops throughout Europe and brings back finds otherwise unavailable stateside, such as French glassware and Italian pottery. 1677 Wisconsin Ave., NW; 202-298-7200
For the Foodie: Salt & SundryAmanda McClements's background as a writer on food and entertaining inspires what she selects for her warmly chic Union Market shop. Along with rustic home goods, you'll find colorful Jadeite cake stands, nautical coasters, and cotton Turkish linens that double as tablecloths or bath towels. + Bonus: A section boasts local products, including cookbooks, Sydney Hale candles, Cloud Terre tableware, and food items such as Gordy's Pickles. 1309 Fifth St., NE; 202-556-1866
For Design Buffs: ChinoiserieArchitect turned shopkeeper Peter Zia handpicks the wares for his small shop, where contemporary items are infused with a subtle Asian flair. The stock leans heavily toward housewares, such as Iittala glassware, Bauhaus-style chess sets, and Bellocq silver tea caddies. + Bonus: Other finds include letterpress cards, sculptural clothing from Yeohlee, and fragrances by the niche perfumery Yosh. 1325 King St., Alexandria; 703-838-0520
For Modern Flair: TabletopSleek design meets color and whimsy. Super-soft Velvet Moustache animal pillows ($76) will make you a favorite aunt or uncle, while Maptotes wine bags ($14) and melamine lobster plates will get you another beach-house invitation. + Bonus: Check out co-owner Daphne Olive's organic-modern jewelry. 1608 20th St., NW; 202-387-7117
Whimsical Gifts: CovetThis shop corners the market on cute: It specializes in locally made, limited-production gifts that embody Etsy-ish handmade charm. You'll find vintage-inspired jewelry, quirky home items, original artwork, cheeky greeting cards, and beauty products. + Bonus: Don't miss the darling pieces for babies and toddlers. 5140-B Wilson Blvd., Arlington; 703-247-9797
For the Mixologist: Batch 13Local bartenders browse the shelves for inspiration at this specialty liquor store. An impressive variety of American craft spirits such as Leopold Bros. gin from Colorado and Vermont's WhistlePig rye includes local producers, from Green Hat to Catoctin Creek to Don Ciccio & Figli. Need a gift? Choose among artisanal bitters, tonic bases, and other items for perking up cocktails.+ Bonus: Look for a second level soon with an emphasis on ports and sherry. 1724 14th St., NW; 202-483-0214
For an Arts Fan: Shop at StrathmoreTo complement Strathmore's cultural and music programming, this small gift shop is a symphony of mostly art-related gifts. Think Mozart action figures ($10.95), an Edvard Munch–inspired doll that screams when you squeeze it ($17.95), and a kitchen timer shaped like a turntable ($14.95). + Bonus: November 14 through 17, Strathmore hosts a Museum Shop Around that brings together offerings from 16 local museum stores. 10701 Rockville Pike, North Bethesda; 301-581-5175
Vintage Barware: The HourVictoria Vergason collected vintage barware for more than 25 years before opening this shop in 2009. Mad Men fans will go mad for the elegant cocktail glasses, shakers, and pitchers from the 1950s and '60s; there's also Art Deco drinkware from the '20s and '30s and mod finds from the '70s. + Bonus: Four times a year, the Hour hosts cocktail classes with top mixologists. 1015 King St., Alexandria; 703-224-4687
Gifts for a New Home: Stylish PatinaEverything indeed has a stylish patina at this new shop, whether truly old ($15 wooden tennis racquets) or made to look it (red-rimmed measuring cups, $27.50 a set). A trio of ceramic owls ($44.95) is a hoot, and other gifts abound, from stainless flasks to pretty pillows. Owner Kelly Millspaugh Thompson has a knack for reviving old furniture with chalk paint—we swooned over a $450 mirrored vanity in duck-egg blue—and you may be inspired to buy a paint pot and tackle your own project. + Bonus: Monthly warehouse sales mean more gems. 410 Maple Ave. S., Falls Church; 703-663-8428
Gifts for a Game Night: LabyrinthAt this Capitol Hill board-game shop, travel back to a time when video didn't rule. The old-fashioned fun ranges from educational kids' puzzles to complex strategy games such as Settlers of Catan. The friendly staff is passionate about the products—which is helpful in learning how to play the newest games. + Bonus: Game nights allow you to play demos for free or bring favorites from home to enjoy with the crowd. 645 Pennsylvania Ave., SE; 202-544-1059
For a Tween: Peeps and CompanyIt's hard to not smile when you walk into this shop. An explosion of yellow and blue, it's dedicated to the Peeps marshmallow treats. The gooey chicks and bunnies aren't all that's for sale—you'll find "Chillin' With My Peeps" tees, mouse pads (Peeps pads?), and tween-appropriate gifts like Peeps-scented glitter nail polish ($7.90 for a set of five). Bonus: Enjoy time on the National Harbor waterfront, lined with eateries. National Harbor; 301-749-5791
Happy Gifts: The Blue HouseIn addition to adorable presents for babies and children, girlfriend gifts such as purses and scarves ($29) are deceptively inexpensive. This shop abounds with housewarming treasures—from the latest cookbook to a smashing bamboo-framed mirror ($349) in creamy orange to Le Cadeaux European-ceramic-inspired dinnerware in unbreakable Melamine. Try the local Chouquette chocolates—some have a sprinkle of Old Bay. Bonus: The shop is three blocks from the Metro and three blocks from the relocated Bruce Variety. 7770 Woodmont Ave., Bethesda; 301-656-6088
For the Glam Gal: Coco BlancaMarked by French sophistication mixed with beachy boho and a dash of glamour, this expansive lifestyle boutique works a Zen-like palette of crisp white, soft beige, and shimmery metallic throughout its wares, which range from earthy, organic jewelry and breezy clothing (floaty kaftans from Baci, silver-foiled denim from Eugene Is My Middle Name) to sequined clutches and textured, gold leather wallets. This store also offers some majorly chic furniture, such as white lacquered console tables, gold-leaf accent tables, and oversize nail-head armchairs done in lush oyster velvet. Bonus: Marylanders can check out Coco Blanca's National Harbor location for a slightly different aesthetic, marrying "French farmhouse" with "rustic lake cabin." 210 S. Union St., Alexandria; 703-535-8002
Photographs by Jeff Martin.