News & Politics

Best of Arlington: 18 Great Stores

Where to look for cute shoes, elegant furniture, and lots more.

Clothes and More

Denim Bar

Whiskered, faded, ripped. Skinny, boot cut, flare. They’re all at this edgy boutique where labels such as Nudie, APC, and AG share space with more obscure brands from Australia and Japan. And though denim is the raison d’être, there’s a well-culled collection of tops, frocks, and accessories from emerging designers such as Project e, Morphine Generation, and Loomstate. This fall, look for motorcycle vests and trendy poof skirts from McQ, designer Alexander McQueen’s sporty but still pricey line.

1101 S. Joyce St.; 703-414-8202.


Why should a girl limit herself to diamonds? Gemstones such as pink tourmaline, moonstone, and chalcedony pack plenty of bling. Find them along with Swiss blue topaz, chrysoprase, black pearls, and diamonds in modern settings at this design studio/shop where Suzanne and Tom Arnold and daughter Alicia craft rings, bracelets, earrings, and necklaces. Alicia Arnold’s wedding rings for men and women are especially striking. Also look for pieces from trendy names including Sonya Ooten, known for her fishnet designs, and Laurie Kaiser, with her delicate yet contemporary jewelry.

4530 Lee Hwy.; 703-527-4247.


Mauro Farinelli was one of the first to bring emerging designers and small labels to Washington, with his eponymous women’s clothing shop in Old Town. Now, almost ten years later, he’s returned to his roots with another store that bears his name. An eclectic mix of under-the-radar designers makes this an appealing stop for male and female fashionistas. Check out piped cardigans from Nice Collective, silk tops by Maloom, girlish blouses from Sea, and cocktail dresses by Vena Cava. Lesser-known labels energize the men’s side: Kicking Mule, Apolis Activism, APC, Rag & Bone, and Fred Perry. Look for Farinelli’s own line to debut soon.

2839 Clarendon Blvd.; 703-647-9856.


Paris Hilton would feel at home amid the strapless minis and plunging maxis here. But while the boutique’s name means “sexy” in Farsi, not everything is skin-baring: A nice collection of filmy off-the-shoulder tops, tunics, and backless halters pair well with jeans. Pari and Tabby Zamani, the twentysomething Persian sisters who own LaVand, scour New York City and Los Angeles for of-the-moment denim, dresses, tops, and accessories for women and rock-inspired T-shirts and sportswear for men. They also carry (and quickly sell out of) Nima NY tees emblazoned with Farsi calligraphy from a young Persian designer.

1301 S. Joyce St.; 703-413-3434.

Lemon Twist

Lobster-shaped watering cans in the windows give it away: This is prep central, home to clothes more classic than trendy. Look for Vera Bradley bags and accessories in paisleys and floral prints, Lily Pulitzer sheaths, and Vineyard Vines beach caftans and sandals. Not everything is candy-colored. There’s a nice cache of little black cocktail dresses and jeans that hit the navel instead of the bikini line, plus the requisite country-club accessories—pearls, bangles, and enamel hoop earrings. The store stocks a small selection of Vineyard Vines ties and swimwear for men.

4518 Lee Hwy.; 703-524-4680.


Channel your inner Carrie Bradshaw at this well-stocked shoe shop where trendy knockoffs won’t mean skipping lunch for a month. Lining the shelves are labels such as Miz Mooz, Frye, Seychelles, and Tom’s Shoes. At the moment, summer’s gladiators have given way to fall’s biker boots, peep toes, and ballet flats. Dangly earrings, bangles, and statement necklaces round out the offerings for women. A small men’s section has such finds as color-blocked sneakers from Gola and funky shoes by John Fluevog.

2727 Wilson Blvd.; 703-243-6490.

Sisters 3

The notion of combining a lingerie shop with a bikini-waxing salon is a no-brainer—at least that was the thinking behind this chic boutique in Clarendon run by three sisters. Full of lacy bras, wispy camisoles, and eco-friendly panties, the shop also carries more practical items. We love the cute PJs from Betsy Johnson and foundation garments from Spanx. There’s also a great selection of tape and other stick-on products to keep body parts covered and in place. The waxing menu includes a range of options for both women and men.

2729 Wilson Blvd.; 703-525-3333.

South Moon Under

A bohemian sensibility coupled with a laid-back approach to life is what this clothing and home-goods stores is all about. Margarita glasses and pillows with embroidered peace signs share space with duds for men and women. For guys, that means Lacoste polos, Billabong shorts, Alternative Apparel pullovers, and Seven jeans. Women have a lineup of designer denim to choose from. Rather than the brand of the moment, think labels such as Hudson and Citizens of Humanity. Racks are crammed with tops and dresses from Velvet, Splendid, and Ella Moss. And there are bags, belts, and jewelry, too. Come resort season and summer, the store has an impressive swimwear collection for men and women.

Market Common, 2700 Clarendon Blvd.; 703-807-4083.

Fun for Kids

Agape Bears

Hundreds of stuffed bears—themed and classic—are crammed to the rafters. Glass cases are filled with miniature collector bears as well as bear figurines and jewelry. You’ll even find bear books and CDs. And though the dominant motif is ursine, other stuffed critters from such makers as Boyd’s, Gund, and Steiff are here, too. The shop specializes in limited-edition hand-sewn bears, “pre-loved” bears, collector’s bears, “retired” bears that are no longer being made, and eco-conscious baby-safe options made from soft cotton rather than plush “fur.”

Ballston Common Mall; 703-841-2444.

Anna-Kate’s Closet

Owner Dawn Frattarelli has crammed a lot into this charming space for infants to tweens. Tutus in sherbet-hued pastels, kicky clothes from lesser-known labels such as Lollybean and Twirls & Twigs, and a vivid array of bows, headbands, and barrettes all make a showing along with unexpected items such as Piggy Paint nontoxic nail polish and polish remover. Amid all the frou-frou girly stuff is a small section of togs for boys.

2491-A N. Harrison St.; 703-533-0482.

Home Furnishings

Random Harvest

Antiques and collectibles abound, but this store never feels fusty. Rather, it’s an example of how vintage can have as clean and uncluttered a sensibility as modern decor. Relics from the 1850s to the 1930s share space with high-class reproductions. Expect slipper chairs and club sofas that feel very Old Hollywood. There are also armoires, breakfronts, end tables, side chairs, and dining tables in cherry, walnut, and rosewood. And embellishments: an Art Deco–inspired tic-tac-toe set, white ceramic piggy banks, and elegant glass compote bowls.

4522 Lee Hwy.; 703-527-9690.

Le Village Marché

Can’t get to the City of Light this fall? Francophile Angela Phelps’s shop will make you feel you’ve spent hours trolling Paris’s flea markets. Look for an eclectic mix of vintage furniture, tabletop accessories, and bath products evoking early 1900s Paris and Provence. You’ll also find French linens and tea towels; Provençal soaps, candles, and linens; and artisan-made notepaper and journals. Don’t miss the collection of bracelets and cuffs studded with faux gems—just the sort of thing a chic French woman would throw on to pull an outfit together. This fall, Phelps is opening a store in Shirlington called Verbena Paper & Gifts (2800 S. Randolph St.).

Village at Shirlington, 4150 Campbell Ave., Suite 101; 703-379-4444.

For Your Dog


This pet bakery and boutique stocks everything a dog (or dog owner) might want: organic-cotton chew toys in animal shapes, an array of gourmet treats such as breath-cleansing “puppermint” biscuits, and homeopathic remedies for doggies under the weather. Practical accoutrements include leashes, collars, and dog dishes, but even these have been chosen with an eye toward fun. Books on canine care and psychology (It’s a Dog’s Life, but It’s Your Furniture), T-shirts, and dog-themed rugs make this a great place to pick up gifts.

2445 Harrison St.; 703-237-5070.

Hobby Shops

Puppet Heaven

You can’t help but smile when you walk into Alban Odoulamy’s postage stamp of a shop. Hundreds of puppets from the world over hang from the rafters, perch on shelves, and fill glass cases. Some are familiar finger and hand puppets and marionettes depicting storybook characters, animals, and fantasy creatures. Others, such as the beautiful batik-clad Thai stick puppets, are one-of-a-kind collector’s items. Besides puppets, the shop has foreign dolls, wall hangings, wooden animal figures, and puppet theaters, including a notebook-size one for finger puppets.

1625 Crystal Square Arcade, Suite D-60; 703-414-7885.

Urban Angler

This well-appointed shop has everything to outfit the would-be fly fisherman: rods, reels, waders, boots, many-pocketed vests, quick-drying duds, and books and videos that teach and inspire. But the real lure is the thousands of hand-tied flies on the back wall: nymphs, streamers, poppers. Manager Richard Farino, a passionate fly fisherman himself, is happy to share his know-how—and spool your reel from the brightly colored lines hanging in the shop. Fly-tying classes give novices a jump-start, and a travel department can arrange for guides as well as itineraries near and far—from Belize to the Bahamas to Yucatán.

2165 N. Glebe Rd.; 703-527-2524.

Gifts and More

Carol’s Daughter

Carol’s Daughter products smell so good you may want to eat them. Not a surprise because Lisa Price—the company is named for her late mother—developed recipes for her balms, creams, elixirs, and perfumes in her Brooklyn kitchen. Coconut, sweet almond, vanilla, and lemon verbena are among the scents wafting around the shop. Samples are plentiful, and there’s even a sink so you can really see if that Almond Cookie Sea Salt scrub does the job. Products for body, hands, feet, and hair—Jada Pinkett Smith swears by Lisa’s Elixir for her locks—complement a line for men that includes the unisex Love Butter, with cinnamon and honey notes.

Fashion Centre at Pentagon City; 703-415-0010.

Company Flowers

There are flowers: gorgeous hydrangeas in every shade imaginable. And there are floral and garden accessories: glazed and terra-cotta pots, blown-glass vases, and the occasional vintage wicker chair or chaise. But this quirky shop is really more about gifts. Among the finds are note cards and journals, party napkins and favors, and beaded jewelry. An extensive bath collection includes Caldrea lotions and kitchen products and Pré de Provence soaps and creams.

2107 N. Pollard St.; 703-525-3062.

Woodmont Weavers/Ellipse Fine Crafts

Here’s a chance to do good while shopping. The lovely woven scarves, tea towels, and bags on display are all made by developmentally disabled adults—you can see some of them at work at looms in the store, run by St. Coletta’s of Greater Washington. Also featured are works by local artists with the collective Ellipse Fine Crafts. Intricate bead bracelets and on-trend cuffs, earth-toned pottery, and glass sculptures are among the finds along with art-glass sushi plates, pendants, and rings.

Ballston Common Mall; 703-469-1892.

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