Who are the Great Shopkeepers in Your Neighborhood? {DC edition}

Saturday, October 18, 2008

We had a note this week from reader Anna (hi Anna!), who recently moved to DC and needs a quick primer on where to shop/what to do/who to see for personal grooming purposes. We realized we'd been remiss about sharing some of our favorite DC stores thus far, and thought it was high-time—now that we're fully settled in—to give some accolades where they're due. It's by no means an total list of all I love, but it's a start.

And so, a guide for Anna, or anyone else in, around or coming to DC… Those of you locals with suggestions to add, please feel free to do so in the comments.


Brows: We'd never had our brows regularly groomed before, but had heard so much about Bluemercury Georgetown's Lance that we decided we had to go see him. And now: We'll never go anywhere else, he's just that good.

Hair I have always absolutely hated my hair -- until now. Thanks go solely to Chris, hairstylist extraordinaire and the co-owner of U Street's newish Parlour salon, who has managed to tame my thin, fine, incredibly unruly locks into a sleek and easily styled bob. He always takes the time to talk things out and offer great suggestions. Words cannot express my hair joy.

Nails: It's nothing fancy, but I always go to Queen Nails near Dupont: 1) It's pretty reasonable for in-the-city prices ($36 for a pedi); 2) they do a solid, long-lasting job; 3) It's near my apartment; 4) It's also near tangysweet, for a yogurt fix afterwards.

Facial: Terrie at Hela Spa's new The Collection at Chevy Chase outpost is just amazing. Gentle (very important for my easily irritated skin), meticulous, helpful… Two thumbs up. Better than Cats. I'd go back again and again.


Best Bargains, secondhand division: I've long been a fan of Dupont consignment shop Secondi, but it's gotten so popular that the selection can be really picked over. I'm really, really loving Georgetown's new Second Time Around (a few doors from Annie Creamcheese), which has a great mix of new and gently used clothing. I've spotted everything from vintage coats to brand-new J Brand jeans, and the staff is insanely friendly and helpful. {Side note: I've also started consigning my old clothes at Second Time Around – they've got a great online system so you can see everything that has sold, and they also let you take back the things that haven't sold after three months, which is a really nice perk.}

Best Bargains, new division: Bethesda's Mustard Seed (which also has vintage and consignment clothing) has a great selection of reasonably priced, cute-but-not-cutesy new items. I almost always leave with something.

Worth the Drool: Nothing beats Muleh for an afternoon of sartorial swooning. Phillip Lim, Ports 1961, Vivienne Westwood—oh my!

Favorite Newcomer: I was just up in Bethesda Row's Ginger earlier this week and am incredibly impressed with their selection for fall. Lots of quietly stylish finds and very cool pieces.

Best Home: U Street's Rckcndy is so well-stocked this season, I think that it's accurate to say I want everything in the store. It's not super-cheap, but it's all really super.

Best Home, part 2: I tend to get excited whenever I step into Dupont's Tabletop. Their newish second floor means there's twice the goodness.

Biggest Selection: The Georgetown Cusp is almost overwhelming in its amount of merchandise, but there's always plenty to check out.

Fave Discount Department Store: The Filene's Basement at the National Press Building in Penn Quarter. Generally pretty quiet, a wide selection of stuff, great shoe department. The Friendship Heights Loehmann's is another solid stop.

Best Guys Stuff: DC's really been lacking in the menswear category, which is why I'm totally jazzed about brand-new shop For the Greater Good. Cool, indie brands like Common Projects; totally hip vibe.

Best Shoes: I might as well just go ahead and forward a chunk of my paycheck straight to Zelaya. They're the ones who introduced me to amazing DC comfort-shoe maven Jeanne Jarvaise, and I literally might never wear another brand again, she's just that great.

Best Vintage: You never know what you'll find with vintage, so it probably makes sense to hit all the big ones. Annie Creamcheese is enormous, but it can be pricey. Meeps has a smaller selection but a totally fun retro vibe. Remix Vintage is worth the trip to Eastern Market – such gorgeous stuff. The weekends-only Adams Morgan hotspot Mercedes Bien has just ramped up their selection by bringing in wares from those cute Listopad girls, while U Street Vintage Junction is small but generally worth a browse. And if you feeling like hopping up to Takoma Park, I always find something great at the large and well-priced Polly Sue's. Plus, you can never go wrong with thrifting in DC. Goodwill, Georgia Avenue Thrift, Value Village… all have been great retro resources for me and my unending quest to Own More Stuff. {sigh}

That's it for today! Please leave your own suggestions in the comments… We'd all love to hear them!


DC Goodwill Fashionista said...

RCKCNDY is indeed a *tasty* place to shop for your space (zing!), but for the more adventurous vintage décor lover, Millenium Arts, right across U Street, has one of the best, most affordable selections of mid-20th century furniture and knick-knacks.

My last purchase there? A 3 1/2 foot tall plexiglass wine glass. Heck yeah! -the DCGF

Anya said...

Thank you, thank you - this is a great list and will keep me occupied for a long time, especially the shoe store

Anonymous said...

Brows - DuPont Threading
Hair - One80
Nails - AcquaNails in Bethesda

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for the list. Me and my girlfriends will be in the US in December and DC is in the itinerary. Any chance you'll do the same for NYC? :)

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this great blog. Heading to DC on business trip soon, I will surely indulge in the great pedi you advise.
Btw I'm in Singapore and left a comment about your bog on our new blog...hope you are alright with that

Anonymous said...

I agree with your comment about Cusp in Georgetown-gorgeous store, amazing clothes, and their sales people are really great helping put an outfit together. I love Georgetown in general-Paper Source, Kate Spade, J. Crew, Anthropologie, Georgetown Cupcake, the waterfront, the list goes on and on.

Unknown said...

I've been waiting for this (having just moved to DC in the fall for school) thank you!!!

Can't WAIT to take advantage of the new things I haven't heard about.

One other nail suggestion: It's pricey but... Elizabeth Arden Red Door Spa in Pentagon City (on Pentagon Row) always has impeccable service. They are fabulously trained and couldn't be nicer. However, they use Zoya nail polish only, so if you happen to want a particular color that Zoya doesn't carry I suggest you bring along your own bottle.

Ms. Spinach said...

Nice! Thanks, everyone. Have to agree with Beth: A walk through G'town is a great way to spend a sunny afternoon. (My must-stops: Hu's Shoes, Paper Source, Barney's Co-op, Urban Outfitters, H&M, Anthropologie, Annie Creamcheese... and then maybe up Wisconsin to Urban Chic, Sugar and Sassanova if I'm feeling energetic...)

Oliver said...

oh betsy betsy betsy. i know you are on the mainland, but i have been oh so patiently waiting for a bangkok shopping guide. please? PLEASE?

Viva La Style said...

I'm in Cali, so the list won't do much for me, but I love the idea.

I'm a big fan of the consignment in my area.

SamIAm said...

Oooo, I'm so excited that you did this, especially since I'll be headed to DC during the holidays!!! I cannot wait!

Always In Style said...

I love the Blue Mercury in our neighborhood for makeup. I also love Shobha salon in NYC for threading & other hair removal services.

Discount Designer Shopper said...

Thank you, Thank you dahling for adding in the big L; Loehmann's to your list of must shops!! May the shopping gods surprise with a fabulous find for all your troubles!!

Just one small thing...don't forget to tell your folks to join the Insider Club for even more discount designer savings and for discount clothing stores in California and NY, Loehmann's is coast to coast. In NY we are one of the ten Best Places to shop for Bargins says Gothamist.

( new back room designer clothing coming in TODAY!)

MinervaO said...

Thanks for the great shopping guide. Now I have an even bigger incentive to go check out Georgetown Univeristy for my phd!

Unknown said...

I second Dupont Threading for brows: fast, affordable, and great shaping.

For skincare, I go to Lise Emond on M St. in Georgetown. She gives the best facials ever, ever, ever and doesn't push products. CALL LISE.

Great list!

Unknown said...

This just in: I went to Urban Style Lab for my haircut the other day - not joke most amazing, professional, and technical haircut I have EVER received. It's practically perfection. Thank you, Kelly! Every stylist is renowned there (I was referred by a friend in one of my classes). Prices start fairly competitive ($75), but the seasoned veterans with publications and such get pretty pricey (Kelly was $150 before tip - unbeknownst to me until I got the bill, oy!).

But I could tell while I was getting my haircut what a true magician he is (you know how you can just tell that some people are just MEANT for their jobs - kinda like we're meant for shopping?). Anyway, he styled my hair so that I can let it air dry on its own and it's all flippy and pretty or I can blow it dry, straighten it and it looks all rocker edgy. I LOVE the versatility.

Okay, I could probably go on forever raving about my experience. In conclusion (lol, I feel like I'm writing a 5th grade paper), if you want something fresh, Urban Style Lab's the place to go in Dupont.

Anonymous said...

I used to go to Lance at BlueMercury for brows. He's great. But Erwin Gomez, who runs his own salon, also in Georgetown, fittingly called The Erwin Gomez Salon, is even better. He's got an unfailing sense of shape, plus he's super, super quick and really fun to be around.

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nicole.c.l said...

For hair I MUST add Salem @Charmed (previously of PR at Partners- K St.) I came from Cali five years ago and never found a stylist who could give me something fun, sexy, and softer like I was used to out west. Salem is fab and actually much cheaper than my previous pricey LA stylist.

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