Furniture spills onto the sidewalk in front of Beekman Place. Bargain hunters and antiquers have been known to spend entire Saturdays at the shop, which boasts a large selection of secondhand furniture, vintage glasses, and Asian-inspired offerings.
126 Maple Ave. E., Vienna; 703-938-8646
Curtsies & Petals
Girly girls and bridesmaids flock to Curtsies & Petals, where former wedding-shoe designer Susie Kim keeps a classic selection of handmade jewelry, feminine photo albums, and wedding-party-appropriate presents, such as colorful prints of iconic Washington neighborhoods and other places by local artist Joseph Craig English. Brides can also try on shoes and Badgley Mischka dress samples, which can be ordered and shipped in time for the ceremony. If all the sweetness gives you a craving for something sugary to eat, head upstairs—Cupcakes (703-938-3034), which opened in August, serves small cakes and hot chocolate.
527 Maple Ave. W., Vienna; 703-938-1220
The Freeman Store & Museum
Old-fashioned children’s toys, local-history books, and turn-of-the-century sweets fill this general store, which dates to 1859. Check out the collection of early-20th-century material in the upstairs museum, which features everyday objects such as pocket watches and street signs. Open Wednesday through Sunday noon to 4.
131 Church St., NE, Vienna; 703-938-5187
The Old Book Company of McLean
Times past are the focus of the Old Book Company, which specializes in military histories and explorers’ tales. In business 17 years, the shop caters to a pre-Facebook crowd who reminisce with owner Phillip Hanson about the books of their youth. In its first year, the store acquired the book collection of convicted spy Aldrich Ames and has maintained a steady stream of well-read clientele. Collectors stop by for finds including Hardy Boys novels, British first editions of The Lord of the Rings, and a big selection of leather-bound, gold-plated literary classics.
6829 Redmond Dr., McLean; 703-734-0858
Once Upon a Time
This maze of a toy shop is best known for having the largest selection of dolls and dollhouses in Northern Virginia. Collectors can find everything from retro Madame Alexander figurines to three-story Victorian mini-mansions. Perhaps most impressive is the selection of dollhouse furniture and accessories, which includes room sets and window treatments from nearly every decade of the past hundred years. You’ll also find tiny silverware and china as well as a special section dedicated to miniature electrical supplies.
120 Church St., NE, Vienna; 703-255-3285
The Pear Tree Cottage
This home-goods store makes up for its small size with a bevy of good gift options. Shelves—and sometimes even the floor—are packed with luxe-looking table lamps, textured pillows, and small decorative accessories, all with a modern romantic flair and plenty of pretty details.
130 Maple Ave. E., Vienna; 703-938-1331
A Lilly Pulitzer shop feels at home in McLean, where some locals sport pastels and khaki pants all year long. In the Balducci’s shopping center on Old Dominion Drive, this Palm Beach–inspired outfitter relies on kelly greens, princess pinks, and intricate floral patterns to turn simple sheaths, dresses, and tunics into fun resortwear. Though the clothing selection is almost entirely for the ladies, men can peruse Vineyard Vines ties and boxers.
6647 Old Dominion Dr., McLean; 703-556-8750
Color and texture burst from every corner of this densely packed furniture showroom. If you’re in the market for painted armoires, brocade chairs, or detail-laden vases and mirrors, make a stop in the store’s interior-design office, which sells everything on its display floor.
419 Maple Ave. E., Vienna; 703-319-7674
The Preppy Pink Pony
Monogram lovers and ribbon-belt wearers will like this cheery stationery, gift, and accessories shop where everything feels straight out of a Southern prep school. Pastels dominate on men’s ties and paisley Scout totes, while equestrian-inspired jewelry and critter-patterned plates—which can be inscribed with initials—make nice gifts. Our favorite pick: the striped Jayes dustbins ($55 to $65), which are hand-painted in India and double as planters.
1355 Chain Bridge Rd., McLean; 703-556-3237
This undergarment shop draws lingerie lovers and brides-to-be for its expert bra fittings and wedding-worthy corsets. There’s a wall of bras dedicated to large-chested women as well as a good selection of Oscar de la Renta nighties and Cosabella bras. Men, take note: Michael’s Club is a discreet service that takes the guesswork out of anniversary shopping by allowing women to register their tastes and sizes with the store.
306 Maple Ave. W., Vienna; 703-255-3300
At this luxury linen and accessories boutique, owner Aimee Wedlake Lange mixes boho accents and rich patterns to create custom bedding for her clients. The casual Southern California aesthetic makes it feel fresh out of Laguna Beach. Don’t miss the Art Deco–inspired Claus Porto bath soaps ($20 each), which would make a good housewarming gift.
111 Church St., NW, Suite 201, Vienna; 703-242-1790
If you’re on the lookout for drinking glasses and tea sets, Vienna Bargains is the place to go. Most deal hunters stop here and at Beekman Place, which is next door. A crowded secondhand home store, Vienna Bargains also offers pins and costume jewelry.
132 Maple Ave. E., Vienna; 703-255-6119
BEST OF TYSONS
With hundreds of stores in three malls, the Tysons Corner area is one of Washington’s top shopping destinations. Here’s a look at what’s new and one-of-a-kind:
Tysons Corner Center (1961 Chain Bridge Rd., McLean) boasts the Washington area’s only Mango store, a popular contemporary Spanish brand for women, as well as the only standalone L.L. Bean store in Northern Virginia. Preteens and the mothers who shop for them will be glad to know about two new stores: Metropark, a trend-conscious girls’ and boys’ outfitter and, opening in June, the American Girl store, whose collection of dolls and accessories has a cult-like following.
An upscale crowd heads to Tysons Galleria (2001 International Dr., McLean) for brands such as Chanel, Ferragamo, and Nicole Miller. The mall is also home to Bottega Veneta, a Gucci-owned clothing-and-accessories store known for its woven-leather wallets and bags. At 7 For All Mankind, fashionistas can shop an extensive selection of designer jeans and contemporary casualwear. Also check out the minimalist boutique Carol Mitchell, which carries such fashion-forward labels as Roland Mouret, Céline, and Lanvin.
The Shops at Fairfax Square (8045-8075 Leesburg Pike, Vienna) houses more luxury stores including Gucci and Louis Vuitton. It also has Washington’s only freestanding Hermès store, where you can find the brand’s iconic silk scarves, double-wrap leather watches, and classic handbags.
McLean and Vienna are home to several consignment and thrift stores:
Consignment Boutique (141-A Church St., NW, Vienna; 703-281-0759) carries pantsuits and tweed jackets for the mature, sensible set as well as finds that would delight any Mad Men fan—from vintage furs to $74 Ferragamo bow heels.
Looking for designer shoes for less? Head to Fashion Exchange Consignment (6663-B Old Dominion Dr., McLean; 703-760-0808), which has an especially good shoe selection, including Jimmy Choos, Manolo Blahniks, and leather boots.
Open since August, Betsy & Cornelia’s (1355 Chain Bridge Rd., McLean; 703-448-0881) can feel cluttered with eclectic furniture and home goods, but the clothing racks carry a surprising number of name brands such as St. John and Ralph Lauren.
For kids’ clothing, try Paddington Station (448 Maple Ave. E., Vienna; 703-938-0378), a smart option for parents looking to save a few dollars. The gently used items, which outfit newborns to size eight, are of consistently high quality. Winter coats are a particularly good buy.
Though Unique Thrift Store (2956 Gallows Rd.; 703-992-6569) is in Falls Church, it’s only a 15-minute drive from Tysons Corner—and worth the trip. Thrifters love combing the racks for finds such as $4 vintage tees and $7 leather skirts, and they often make games out of the flash sales announced over the loudspeaker.
This article first appeared in the January 2011 issue of The Washingtonian.