Looking for a unique cocktail dress? Try Pretty People Vintage. Photograph by Yassine El Mansouri
Diva Designer Consignment
116 S. Pitt St.; 703-683-1022
Friendly staff, spacious dressing rooms, cheery decor—shopping doesn’t get much better than this. Three levels of vintage finds, including a downstairs room devoted to sales, keeps shoppers browsing. Virginia belles will love the abundance of Lilly Pulitzer–like prints and colors.
Mint Condition Designer Consignment Boutique
114 S. Royal St.; 703-836-6468
Shopping here feels like sifting through a Junior Leaguer’s closet. Color-drenched clothes from Shoshanna, Tibi, and Trina Turk (all at one-third retail price) are bestsellers, and the upstairs sales rack is not to be missed: Most items that have been in stock 60 days get marked down to half price.
Pretty People Vintage
108 N. Patrick St.; 703-739-2522
This darling boutique has been open since March. Run by a former partner at Georgetown’s Annie Creamcheese, the bright space is packed with Jane Aldridge–worthy cocktail gems, pillbox hats, and knockout vintage dresses from every decade. Click here to see more pictures of the store.
Verdigris Antiques & Interiors
1215 King St.; 703-505-9970
Though this cluttered antiques shop is filled with home knickknacks, the real treat is the vintage clothing upstairs. You’ll have to work for each find—YSL smoking slippers, ’70s wrap dresses, and ’40s-inspired evening gowns are piled on top of one another with little organization—but those dedicated to the hunt won’t come up empty-handed.
An American in Paris
1225 King St., Suite 1; 703-519-8234
The rules may be off-putting and the owner overly particular—you have to knock to be let in, clothes can be moved only by the hanger—but the dress selection keeps us coming back. You’ll find modern business shifts, floral frocks with a Michelle Obama sensibility, and the hard-to-find girly-girl label By Smith.
Apple Seed Maternity & Baby Boutique
115 S. Columbus St.; 703-535-5446
Moms-to-be will love the fashionable and functional clothing options at Apple Seed, where finds include Paige and Citizens of Humanity maternity jeans and versatile stretch jersey dresses from Maternal America. Also available: organic children’s bath products, diaper bags, and cute baby-shower gifts. Closed Mondays.
309-B Cameron St.; 703-548-2452
Tucked away in a cobblestone alley, this high-end clothier focuses on luxury Italian resort and business wear. Couples will find durable Belvest suiting for him and classic Kiton apparel for her. But they don’t come cheap—shirts start at $298 and cocktail dresses can ring up at just under $1,000.
125 S. Fairfax St.; 703-548-1615
Polished prepsters swear by Ethan and Lindsey Drath’s lime-green shop (They are also the masterminds behind Georgetown’s Sherman Pickey). Look for sharply tailored Smythe blazers, colorful tunics from Roberta Freymann and Tory Burch, and Sarah Jessica Parker–approved Halston Heritage dresses.
The Shoe Hive
127 S. Fairfax St.; 703-548-7105
Nordstrom already sold out of this season’s hottest shoe? Head to the Shoe Hive. Trend-conscious but timeless selections from Kate Spade, DVF, Sam Edelman, and Bettye Muller—all of which will coordinate perfectly with an outfit from Hysteria next door—are likely to do the trick.
103 S. St. Asaph St.; 703-535-3294
Formerly a weekend-only “sample-sale boutique,” Treat now offers discounts five days a week (Wednesday through Sunday). Savvy shoppers head to the sleek store for overstock apparel from such fashion-editor-favored labels as BB Dakota, Line & Dot, Leifsdottir, and Aryn K.
JUST FOR FUN
102 N. Fayette St.; 703-664-0344
Yarn, needles, notions—and a DIY community to go along with them. Although this funky knitting and crochet store draws shoppers looking for basic supplies, many stay longer thanks to regular classes, an inviting sitting area, and the owner’s adorable Italian greyhounds.
323 Cameron St.; 703-836-4435
Old Towners like this independently owned cooks’ resource for gourmet items such as glacée fruits, French flavor essences, and imported olive oils. Bakers hoping to recreate Ace of Cakes in their own kitchen will find all the necessary tools here as well. We love the Couverture chocolate tasting wall, where you can sample baking sweets before buying them.
HEALTH AND BEAUTY
1000 King St.; 703-299-9652
This charming beauty and skin-care boutique is staffed by smiley sales gals who work hard to remember their regular customers. On the shelves you’ll find Smashbox cosmetics, Molton Brown bath products, St. Tropez self-tanner, and luxe Deborah Lippmann nail polish.
1017 King St.; 703-535-8225
This discreet sex shop is run by a nurse who is now dedicated to the art of romance. Forget gimmicky toys and outlandish costumes—the shop stocks decadent massage oils, retro underwear, nightgowns, educational literature, and classy bachelorette gifts.
1127 King St., 703-739-1031
The only outpost of an Alexandria-based bath and body-products company, Zencastle provides all-natural soaps, bath salts, lotions, and lip balms that are designed to ease aching muscles, relieve cracked skin, and encourage relaxation. We especially like the invigorating Peppermint & Eucalyptus scent.
FOR THE HOME
Red Barn Mercantile
113 S. Columbus St.; 703-838-0355
This rustic furniture and home accessories shop is a favorite for Americana-inspired sofas and tables—some of them antique, some new—bedding, and decorative items. Outfitting a new kitchen? There’s also a large selection of tabletop and kitchen accessories.
This article appears in the August 2011 issue of The Washingtonian.