Something Old, Something New: Antiques Shopping in Alexandria

The trend for vintage-flavored weddings is sweeping the region—and these spots are great for inspiration and finishing touches.

A beaded midi dress and the potential of turning stunning brooches into hair accessories were among the highlights of our Alexandria antiques shopping. Photographs by Yelena Moroz Alpert.

The historic charm of Old Town Alexandria provides fantastic inspiration for planning a vintage-themed wedding. The King Street neighborhood is home to more than a dozen antiques stores, all stocked with hundreds of one-of-a-kind pieces. Whether you’re shopping for yourself, your bridesmaids, or the reception, exploring the memorabilia-filled rooms is only half the fun. The other half comes when you realize that you’ve given a once-forgotten treasure new life and purpose.

We spent an afternoon rummaging through Alexandria’s delightful antiques shops. Here’s what we found.

The Jewelry Mecca

BW Art, Antiques & Jewelry features rows of cabinets containing hundreds of pieces of jewelry. You’ll want to allocate at least an hour to go through the drawers, which are categorized by material, style, or color. A search for “something blue” yielded these gorgeous crystal clips ($32) circled with a gold feather. Rhinestone brooches pinned to a satin ribbon create a sash for under $50. (For a more elaborate design, play around with different sizes.) A simpler pin can be fastened in a chignon for an eye-catching hair accessory.

BW Art, Antiques & Jewelry. 108 N. Fayette St., Alexandria; 703-518-8464.

Time to (Cocktail) Party

The Hour specializes in vintage glassware for all your cocktail party needs—such as these gilded Art Deco glasses ($400 for six). Unless you plan on starting married life with ramen dinners, we suggest adding these shiny beauties to the Hour’s Wedding Wish List, then passing along the store’s business card to your wealthy aunts and uncles. Couldn’t hurt!

The Hour. 1015 King St., Alexandria; 703-224-4687.

Dress the Part

Anyone who has shopped for wedding dresses knows the gowns aren’t cheap—unless you shop at Pretty People Vintage. The boutique carries a small collection of vintage wedding dresses, circa 1950s and ’60s, all under $300 on the day we visited. A beaded midi dress ($125) works for an older bride who is looking for some glamour. And a romantic jacquard sheath ($165) with a pinhole center is ideal for a garden soiree. Since sizes and cuts aren’t standard, it’s a good idea to work with a good tailor once you buy the dress. Owner Annie Lee suggests buying one or two sizes up.

Pretty People Vintage. 108 N. Patrick St., Alexandria; 703-739-2522.