Oh, who are the indie shopkeepers in your neighborhood?

Monday, February 25, 2008

In between several failed attempts to finish unpacking all my belongings and actually fit it all nicely in my apartment, I've spent a lot of time these past few weeks popping between the various D.C.-area shopping spots, with the aim of checking out every notable retailer within a reasonable walking distance from a Metro line.

I've hit Georgetown and Adams Morgan, Friendship Heights and Bethesda, Arlington and U Street and Takoma Park and Foggy Bottom and Penn Quarter and Eastern Market and more. It's partly for work, and partly for fun, and partly because I believe a girl should know where she can buy a vintage ruffled-front tuxedo shirt in the area, just in case she gets invited to a 70s prom-themed party or something. (Fyi, The Remix has a bunch of fab pastel-hued ones for $45, but at last check, Mustard Seed in Bethesda has one – in mustard yellow, no less – for $15 on their men's rack. Also, if you would like to invite me to a 70s prom-themed party, I would very much like to attend, thank you.)

My D.C.-area retail reconnaissance is far from finished, but I'm prepared to pass out some well-deserved superlatives at this point, because there is some really good stuff out there, and I think you should know about it. And then, later this week: Alexandria! And next week: Baltimore! And then: Who knows? We've always had a soft spot for Annapolis. Stay tuned…

Most Likely to Make You Drool, Right Then and There on the Shop Floor: Georgetown's fab Relish boutique (a glimpse above), tucked away in Cady's Alley, stocks those stop-dead-in-your-tracks fashion items that make you happy just to be looking at them. (Which is all I can really afford to do at this point, though I am planning on saving all my pennies for one of their amazing Junya Watanabe trenches, or maybe the glorious lemon-yellow short-sleeved leather Marni coat.) It's worth the browse, if only for stealing some styling tips from the extremely well-dressed mannequins.

Drool-inducing runner-up: Longtime favorite Muleh is now setting out their spring offerings, and can we just say that they have one (okay, at least three) lovely Rozae Nichols pieces with our name all over it? Particularly the yellow and gray printed skirt? Swoon.

Best sale rack: We've got to give this one to Urban Chic in Georgetown. There was a Maria Bonita Extra gray sweater capelet that was just fab, and going for something like 70 percent off. It was alongside some really cute Boulee black trapeze dresses with bell sleeves, also on major sale. Resistance was difficult. We suspect these things might end up at the buzzed-about District Sample Sale next week, and that kinda makes us really want to go.

Sale rack runner-up: Back to Muleh! Seriously, we cannot believe no one has grabbed the last of the 3.1 Phillip Lim silky purple dresses with the wide, ruffled collar that they've heavily discounted. And, we offer as further proof of their sale rack amazingness: fab gingham!

Most Likely to Make Us Embrace a Big Spring Trend: Betsy Fisher has these amazing shrunken leather jackets by June (including this one). They are super-soft, have great tailoring, and might be just the thing we could throw over a little spring dress, like they suggest in all the Big Magazines, and actually like it. Bonus find: They've also got some really cool dresses from Hoss. Bonus bonus find: We kinda sorta love how staffer Ricardo – who we do not actually know, we just identified him from their website -- compliments us every time we enter the store and seems completely sincere about it. Oh, Ricardo, we're such suckers for flattery about our faux fur.

Most unlikely place where we might return immediately: We sort of randomly found ourselves in funky streetwear store Commonwealth, and we sort of randomly fell for this great tuxedo t-shirt by the Kid America Club. We've been wanting a tuxedo tee for forever, and this one is really high-quality and well-designed. (Now, $38 worth of well-designed we're not sure about, but on sale, it would be quite tempting.)

Best. Shoes. Ever! (Or, at least, the best shoes we've seen so far for spring): Chie Mihara tri-color sandals with a chunky wooden heel, courtesy of Hu's Shoes. While we're at it, we'd also like these, thanks!

Best. Secondhand. Shoes. Ever!: I'm a pretty big fan of Dupont consignment shop Secondi, and I think their shoe section in particular almost always has some great finds. If I was a size 39.5 (about a US 9), these black and white Chanel heels (about $115, if I remember correctly) would definitely have been mine. Ditto for these size 8 satiny Mary Jane booties (a very reasonable $35ish).

{Um, we do apologize that we are not exactly an ideal foot model, particularly in shoes that are entirely too small for us, but we did want to give you a proper glimspe.}

Secondhand shoes runner-up: Oh, we so loved these sparkly gold heeled shoes from Meeps (which I believe were a size 8 1/2, fyi. {update} actually, i just stopped in again and checked, and they're a 6 1/2. sorry!).

Most Ubiquitous (Yet Highly Adorable) Piece of the Season: Everyone – and by everyone I mean Pop, Mustard Seed and about a dozen other places along the Eastern seaboard – is stocking the BB Dakota cropped swingy Camille jacket in a rainbow of colors (that's it above in white, though we would have to suggest wearing it with pants). Luckily, it's really cute, so we won't mind seeing it all over the place once the weather gets warmer. At this point, any trend would be better than Uggs. {Please, D.C.: No. More. Uggs!}

Craftiest find: Ipso Crafto on Barracks Row in Southeast had rolls of pom-pom trim in different bright colors for $2/yard. I happily snagged a loooong strand of bright purple trim in hopes of recreating Susie B's fab DIY necklace. Plus! They also had a ton of pretty tulle!

Runner up: Moonshadow Antiques & Vintage in Takoma Park has an assortment of oversized skeleton keys for about $8 apiece. And you know how we love using old keys to make great pendant necklaces.

Only recipient of my money: After all this running around, I've only bought one thing (okay, two things, including the Ipso Crafto trim) – a wide gray vintage belt for $10 from tiny Second Affair Consignments over on 18th Street. I'm sure it will be making an appearance here on the blog very soon. As soon as I can reach my closet again. Sigh… the unpacking continues…


Alison Santighian said...

I second the Moonshadow vote (and all the others, quite frankly). I've been a fan since I lived in TP ages and ages ago. H bought me an amazing fur muff/purse - yes, a muff - a few weeks ago. I have yet to blog about it, but will soon!

Marissa said...

Well, I clearly agree with you about Muleh. Thanks for the link, by the way!

Also, nice find on the satin booties. I'd love to call dibs, but unfortunately, as we all know, shopping doesn't work that way. *sigh* Hopefully, they'll still be around tomorrow when I have some time to go check Secondi out.

Johanna said...

I hope the purple Lim goes undiscovered at Muleh, because then I won't have to worry about twin syndrome the next time I wear her black sister to an event...

Anonymous said...

oh dear, i've never been one much for going to dc, but these places are delightful!

Flashy_Shades said...

i would love to pick your brain about the new york consignment shops!

Olha Pryymak said...

ah, this is the best list ever :) Made me feel really homesick for DC, I reckon Relish just opened and my friend Elissa got there this amazing ultra stylish puffy skirt...

Righteous (re)Style said...

I second the NYC consignment/vintage info . .. pretty please?

kendra said...

muleh was my best kept secret in this city!! =)

Retrodiva said...

This makes me want to get up to DC and shop in civilization!

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