News & Politics

Where to Shop in Alexandria

Alexandria is home to terrific shopping, from polished dresses to high-end cookware to vintage jewelry.

Mint Condition, a consignment shop, sells gently worn clothing by such labels as Kate Spade and Milly. Photograph by Jeff Elkins

Women’s Boutiques

The white-lacquered shelves of Kelly Ferenc’s darling shoe shop, Bishop Boutique, are stocked with stylish Schutz flats, prim LK Bennett peep-toes, and some edgier options by Loeffler Randall. There’s also a selection of chic scarves and colorful costume jewelry.

Lilly Pulitzer, Lesley Evers, Elizabeth McKay, Vineyard Vines, Gretchen Scott—the list of classic preppy brands at the Lucky Knot could outfit the entire Kennedy clan. The shop—which opened, fittingly, on July 4—pulls you in with an eye-catching display of enamel jewelry, then entices you farther back with rack after rack of brightly patterned dresses and tops.

The kelly-green women’s boutique Hysteria has one of the area’s most extensive selections of Rachel Zoe outside of Neiman Marcus. The stylist-turned-designer’s sexy-chic looks are complemented by other smart pieces such as impeccably tailored Smythe jackets and crisp button-downs from the Shirt by Rochelle Behrens.

Well-heeled Old Towners rely on Elizabeth Todd’s the Shoe Hive for Tory Burch boots and flats, bow-topped Butter pumps, and whimsical Kate Spade sandals. The friendly staff will help you sort through subtle gold jewelry and supple wear-with-everything leather totes.

The sophistication inside tucked-away Donna Lewis doesn’t come cheap—tweed blazers are $1,700, peplum dresses go for $650. But the made-in-Italy cashmere pieces are timeless investments you’ll wear again and again, and the seasoned sales staff will serve you espresso while you shop.

Ideal for budget-conscious shoppers who have outgrown Forever 21, 3 Sisters is packed with affordable, fast-fashion pieces from Ya, Esley, Ark & Co, and Jack by BB Dakota. Expect color-block tops for around $35, feminine dresses less than $100, and jewelry in popular styles.

The persnickety owner of the longstanding boutique American in Paris doesn’t exactly encourage idle browsing—you have to knock to be let in, clothes can’t be touched and can be moved only by the hanger—but her selection of polished dresses is a welcome respite from the predictable finds at local department stores. Consider stopping in for your next big event.

Owned by former tech exec Susan Lilly Gerock, Zoe Boutique spices up the standard Washington work wardrobe with business-casual options in rich colors and polished patterns. Brands include Tracy Reese, LiaMolly, Rebecca Taylor, and Graham & Spencer. There’s also denim from Mother and Red Engine.

Gift and Specialty Shops

From tagines to pastry tips, La Cuisine carries all the necessities for a home chef. Shiny copper pans make for memorable gifts; there are also cookbooks, unusual kitchen equipment, and a large selection of gourmet baking chocolates and French flavor essences.

Fibre Space carries all the yarn, needles, and notions you’d expect at a knitting shop, but its funky DIY community makes it special. Visit any day of the week and you’ll find regulars attending classes or chatting in the inviting sitting area.

Old Town beauty mavens don’t have to travel far to get their fix. Bellacara has enough Morrocanoil hair products, Tocca perfumes, and St. Tropez tanning lotions to keep everyone happy. There’s also Kevyn Aucoin and Smashbox makeup, Butter London nail polishes, and grooming supplies.

One of the best places in Northern Virginia to pick up an unusual gift, Red Barn Mercantile is an Americana-inspired hodgepodge of furniture, bedding, tabletop items, and ingenious knickknacks that make perfect last-minute office or hostess presents.

Can’t get enough Mad Men-era cocktails? Serve them up retro style in a bar set from the Hour, a store dedicated to all things drinking. Almost all of the glass sets are vintage and date to the 1950s, ’60s, and ’70s. Shakers, muddlers, stirrers, pitchers, and bar carts are also stocked.

Consignment and Vintage

We’re fans of the statement-making, boho-cool vintage finds at Pretty People Vintage. Though fun contemporary lines sit out front, the real draw is owner Annie Lee’s collection of one-of-a-kind pieces—think ’60s hippie dresses, designer cocktail jewelry, pillbox hats, and mesh evening bags.

The adorable newcomer 529 Kids Consign carries stylish, gently used clothes for moms, babies, and toddlers. The goods skew trendy—baby Uggs and Burberry jackets, Citizens of Humanity maternity pants—and the wrought-iron racks and pale-blue walls make for a welcoming shopping experience.

The beloved consignment shop Mint Condition feels more boutiquey since moving into a larger space in June. Two floors of gently worn clothing and accessories by such popular designers as Kate Spade, Trina Turk, and Milly are organized by item type, then size, then color. A recent visit turned up an elegant J. Crew chiffon top for $26.

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Sarah is the Editor-in-Chief of Washingtonian Bride & Groom, and writes about weddings, fashion, and shopping. Her work has also appeared in Refinery29, Bethesda Magazine, and Washington City Paper, among others. She is a Georgetown University graduate, lives in Columbia Heights, and you can find her on Instagram at @washbridegroom and @sarahzlot.