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The 38 Essential D.C. Shopping Experiences, Winter 2014

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Welcome to the Racked 38, our list of Washington's most essential stores. It'd be impossible to sum up the city's entire shopping scene, but this is our rough guide—a north-to-south round-up of the places worth browsing, whether you're a tourist or a Beltway lifer. We've included our favorite neighborhood gems, a few new flagship designer shops, the highest of the local high-end luxury stores, and some spots to score a bargain.

Got other suggestions? State your cases for (or against) stores in the comments or email the tipline.


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1. Style Etoile

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1701 Rockville Pike, Ste B9
Rockville, MD 20852
(301) 770-4218
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If you want to dress like you live in Los Angeles, you better head to Rockville. Sisters Christina and Natalie Albina carry a global mix of au courant lines like LA's Lovers + Friends, Parisian brand IRO, and even relatively unknown lines from Australia like Cameo The Brand. [Image]

2. Ginger

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7114 Bethesda Lane
Bethesda, MD 20814
(301) 664-9242
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Trendy yet sophisticated, Ginger's clothing, decor, and gifts fit in so well in Bethesda. Find brands like White + Warren, Plenty by Tracy Reese, and Calypso St. Barth. [Image: Courtesy of Ginger]

3. Julia Farr, LLC Boutique

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44th Street Northwest
Washington, DC 20015
(202) 364-3277
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Sixth-generation Washingtonian Julia Farr is all about elevating your wardrobe. Find grown-up, sophisticated options, from elegant gowns for black-tie galas to basics worthy of the corner office from Julia's eponymous line. [Image]

4. Trohv

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232 Carroll St NW
Takoma Park, D.C. 20012
(202) 829-2941
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A spin-off from Baltimore, Trohv Takoma Park is absolutely gigantic. Housed in a former grocery store, Trohv is chockfull of the coolest furniture, cookbooks, greeting cards, candles, and giftables. Budget at least an hour and get lost in the indie, vintage vibes. [Image]

5. Sassanova Shoes & Accessories

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7134 Bethesda Ln
Bethesda, MD 20814
(301) 654-7403
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For the woman who loves her some girly shoes, shop Sassanova for eye candy from brands like Stuart Weitzman, DVF, and Kate Spade. Psst... they carry clothes and accessories too. [Image]

6. Salt & Sundry

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1309 5th St NE
Washington, D.C. 20002
(202) 556-1866
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We think Salt & Sundry is the Reese Witherspoon of stores: charming, slightly Southern, with impeccable taste. Located in Union Market, this is where to go for everything you need to set a beautiful table, buy a hostess gift that makes an impression, or pick up some cool locally-made foodstuffs. [Image]

7. Federal

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2216 14th Street Northwest
Washington, DC 20009
If "fly urban woodsman" describes your style, make haste and shop menswear boutique Federal on 14th Street. The store stocks heritage brands like Filson, Pendleton, Red Wing, and Levi's (vintage!). Bonus: it's connected to skate shop Palace5, in case that's more you. [Image]

8. Goodwood

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1428 U St NW
Washington, D.C. 20009
(202) 986-3640
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Goodwood is all about beautiful vignettes of vintage and antique furnishings, as well as neat-o apothecary items. While most shoppers make a beeline here for the furniture, don't miss Goodwood's Ladies Department, with hard-to-find yet accessibly-priced accessories and dresses. [Image]

9. Redeem

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1810 14th St NW
Washington, D.C. 20009
(202) 332-7447
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Moody, totally unique, and so-not-stereotypical Washington. That sums up cool shop Redeem, which just moved to a brand-new space on 14th Street. Find brands you won't see everywhere, like Funktional, Kai-aakmann, Religion, Chapter, and PostBellum, at prices that won't break the bank. [Image]

10. Muléh

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1821 14th Street Northwest
Washington, DC 20009
(202) 667-3440
A retail mainstay on 14th Street since 1999, Muléh offers architectural takes on furniture and clothing, featuring big-name designers like 3.1 by Phillip Lim and Vivienne Westwood. The gallery-like luxury shop also has an outpost in NYC. [Image]

11. Home Rule

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1807 14th St NW
Washington, D.C. 20009
(202) 797-5544
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This month, we're pouring one out for newly-departed gift shop Pulp on 14th Street and treasuring its neighbor Home Rule. The quirky kitchen shop is all about bright colors and fun and useful gadgets. [Image]

12. Current Boutique

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1809 14th St. NW
Washington, D.C.
(202) 588-7311
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Consignment shop Current Boutique has grown to include four locations in the Washington D.C. area, providing a revolving closet for shoppers in Alexandria, Bethesda, Clarendon and Logan Circle. You never know what you'll find, but brands at Current have included Preen, Yumi Kim, Leifsdottir, Cole Haan, and Tod's. [Image]

13. Miss Pixie's

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1626 14th St NW
Washington, D.C. 20009
(202) 232-8171
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Miss Pixie's got its start in Adams Morgan in 1997, and the furniture store has been in its 14th Street location since 2008. The shop is painted in can't-miss-it hot pink and the constantly changing mix of vintage home furnishings makes this so fun to browse. Find Victorian, mid-century modern, shabby chic, Boy Scout badges, vintage Playboys, and who knows what else. There's one thing you'll always find at Miss Pixies, though: free teeny tiny chocolate chip cookies. [Image]

14. Tysons Corner Center

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1961 Chain Bridge Rd
McLean, VA 22102
(703) 893-9400
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OK, so maybe this is cheating because it's over 300 stores, but Tysons Corner Center has a special place in our mall-shopping hearts. It's gigantic and pristine, with both a Bloomingdale’s and a Nordstrom and then practically every mainstream brand you could think of, like West Elm, Urban Outfitters, Madewell, Lush, Sephora, Under Armour, and North Face. [Image]

15. Hunted House

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510 H St NE
Washington, D.C. 20002
(202) 549-7493
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Did Mad Men really, really get under your skin? For a pad that compares to Don and Megan's groovy apartment, head to the gallery-like Hunted House on H Street. Proprieter Mark Johnson is passionate about mid-century modern furnishings, and he also stocks vintage clothes as well. [Image: R. Lopez]

16. Analog

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716 Monroe St NE
Washington, D.C. 20017
Vintage clothing goodness meets crafty cards and notebooks at new shop Analog, located at the Monroe Street Market development in Brookland. True to the name, everything here is old-school in the best possible way. [Image: Adele Chapin]

17. Mutiny

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52 O Street Northwest
Washington, DC 20001
(202) 500-8680
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Menswear e-tailer Mutiny is envisioned as an art exhibit for what a particular artsy/woodsy dude would wear, own, and style his hair with — and every piece is impeccable with a long backstory. Shop by appointment at their new studio, and grab a coffee or a beer while you're browsing. [Image: R. Lopez]

18. Treasury Vintage

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1843 14th St NW
Washington, D.C. 20009
(202) 332-9499
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The "treasurers" of vintage clothing shop Treasury on 14th have an impeccable eye. Find lovely pieces that will blend seamlessly into your modern wardrobe. [Image]

19. Via Gypset

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2311 Calvert St NW
Washington, D.C. 20008
(202) 803-2874
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For vintage with a heavy dose of fun and color, check out Via Gypset's charming, light-filled shop in Woodley Park. [Image]

20. Violet Boutique

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2439 18th St NW
Washington, D.C. 20009
(202) 621-9225
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The prices at Violet in Adams Morgan are shockingly affordable, so why not pad your wardrobe with printed dresses, cozy sweaters, and fun handbags and costume jewelry? [Image]

21. Lou Lou

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1601 Connecticut Ave. NW
Washington, D.C. 20009
(202) 588-0027
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Turns out Washington shoppers really love jewelry separated by color. That's what you'll find at Lou Lou, a costume jewelry shop filled with affordable finds displayed in very organized fashion. Lou Lou has grown at an insane pace, opening 17 stores — including a clothing boutique down the street from the Dupont Lou Lou shop. [Image]

22. Kramerbooks & Afterwords Cafe

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1517 Connecticut Ave NW
Washington, D.C. 20036
(202) 387-1400
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Feel like a part of the literati at Dupont Circle institution Kramerbooks, first opened in 1976. There's always a buzz at this bookstore/cafe/restaurant, and the book selection is just as fascinating as the people-watching. [Image]

23. Tabletop

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1608 20th St NW
Washington, D.C. 20009
The cuteness just won't stop at Tabletop, aka the perfect place to shop for gifts. You'll never know you needed a Umbra bunny ring holder, Rifle Paper Co. cards, or rocking whiskey glass, but now you've gotta have it. [Image]

24. Proper Topper

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1350 Connecticut Ave NW
Washington, D.C. 20036
(202) 842-3055
Proper Topper has been open since 1990, and its merchandise includes hats and so much more, like cookbooks, gifts, kid's wear, and women's clothes from intriguing indie designers. [Image]

25. Chocolate Moose

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1743 L St NW
Washington, D.C. 20036
(202) 463-0992
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The tagline for Chocolate Moose is "Serving weirdly sophisticated Washingtonians since 1978, but now attempting to reach out to the rest of you!" This is the place to look for something weird but strangely rad, from Simpsons ornaments to cards to coffee table books and gag gifts.

26. M29 LIFESTYLE

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2800 Pennsylvania Ave NW
Washington, D.C. 20007
(202) 295-2829
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Right outside the driveway of the Four Seasons Hotel, find M29 LIFESTYLE, a dreamy shop set in an all-white space. The shop is stocked with artsy clothing from designers like Annelore, whimsical pillows and home decor, and lovely gifts and cards too. [Image: R. Lopez]

27. Hu's Shoes

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3005 M St NW
Washington, D.C. 20007
(202) 342-0202
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OMG shoes. Hu's Shoes is known for their unique selection of shoes from designers like Charlotte Olympia, Pierre Hardy, Valentino, Isabel Marant, and more. If you want to drop a pretty penny on art masquerading as footwear, this is the place to do it. And find the outfit to match across the street at Hu's Wear, Hu's Shoe's gorgeous sister store stocked with a curated selection of designer goods. [Image]

28. Wink

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3109 M St NW
Washington, D.C. 20007
(202) 338-9465
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Clover Canyon. Vince. Joie. Dolce Vita. J Brand. Paige Speyer stocks what the cool girls are wearing at her shop Wink, located right on M Street. [Image]

29. Ella-Rue

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3236 P St NW
Washington, D.C. 20007
(202) 333-1598
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Ladies in Georgetown really consign the best pieces. We're happy to browse through their treasures at adorable shop Ella Rue, where owner Krista Johnson curates a selection of high-end designer pieces and affordable baubles. [Image]

30. KickkSpott

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1436 Wisconsin Ave NW
Washington, D.C. 20007
This is the only shoe store we've ever been in with a step-and-repeat photo backdrop. Shoppers are that excited about purchasing rare, collectors-edition sneakers. Celeb fans of the tiny sneaker shop include Wale. [Image]

31. The Frye Company

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1066 Wisconsin Ave NW
Washington, D.C. 20007
(202) 337-3793
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Last year, The Frye Company opened a flagship D.C. store in a historic structure that once was a firehouse. The American boot and leather goods company outfitted their new home to be a stunner, with vintage furnishings and an installation of leather harnesses. [Image: R. Lopez]

32. Lost Boys

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1033 31st St NW
Washington, D.C. 20007
(202) 333-0093
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Men get their fashion due at Lost Boys boutique, where owner Kelly Muccio has been styling the fashion-obsessed Washington man since 2008. The prices will set you back, but what do you expect from on-trend brands like Band of Outsiders, Theory, John Varvatos, Rogan, and more? [Image]

33. Billy Reid

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3211 M Street NW
Washington, D.C. 20007
(202) 499-6765
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Last year, Billy Reid transformed a Pizzeria Uno into an elegant flagship for their Georgetown store. Head here for the high-end brand's trademark style that's Southern gentleman meets alt-country rockstar. And find custom suiting options for both men and women. [Image]

34. Relish

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1800 M St NW
Washington, D.C. 20036
(202) 333-5343
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The airy, light-filled Relish feels like a museum to design, with gorgeous, perfectly-arranged tableaus of brands like Dries Van Noten, Jil Sander, Marc Jacobs, Marni, and Martin Margiela, as well as intriguing pieces from European and Japanese brands. Like everything else, the shoes are out of this world, but so are the prices at Relish, so prepare accordingly. [Image]

35. South Moon Under

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2905 District Ave
Fairfax, VA 22031
(703) 712-8980
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Regional chain South Moon Under is a great overview of the trends that are hitting the fashion blogosphere, from shoes to bags to going-out dresses. Prices range from affordable to mid-range, and this is always a great spot to shop swimwear, no matter the season. [Image: Adele Chapin]

36. Bellacara

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1000 King Street
Aexandria, VA 22314
(703) 299-9652
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Luxury, Bellacara has it. With a location in Alexandria and the Mosaic District, you'll find the make-up brands you already love and some that are tougher to find, like Lipstick Queen and Kevyn Aucoin. And the personalized attention is top-notch. [Image]

37. Bishop Boutique

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815B King St
Alexandria, VA 22314
(571) 312-0042
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As shoe, accessory, and handbag lovers, we wish this was an extension of our closet. Instead, we'll just have to visit Bishop Boutique to ohh and ahh over their selection of girly-yet-grown-up pieces from brands like LK Bennett, Loeffler Randall, Ivanka Trump, and Loren Hope. [Image: R. Lopez]

38. Red Barn Mercantile

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1117 King Street
Alexandria, VA 22314
Country home fans and hipsters can probably meet in the middle at Red Barn Mercantile, which carries both graphic slogan pillows and classic lighting and furniture. [Image]

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1. Style Etoile

1701 Rockville Pike, Ste B9, Rockville, MD 20852
If you want to dress like you live in Los Angeles, you better head to Rockville. Sisters Christina and Natalie Albina carry a global mix of au courant lines like LA's Lovers + Friends, Parisian brand IRO, and even relatively unknown lines from Australia like Cameo The Brand. [Image]
1701 Rockville Pike, Ste B9
Rockville, MD 20852

2. Ginger

7114 Bethesda Lane, Bethesda, MD 20814
Trendy yet sophisticated, Ginger's clothing, decor, and gifts fit in so well in Bethesda. Find brands like White + Warren, Plenty by Tracy Reese, and Calypso St. Barth. [Image: Courtesy of Ginger]
7114 Bethesda Lane
Bethesda, MD 20814

3. Julia Farr, LLC Boutique

44th Street Northwest, Washington, DC 20015
Sixth-generation Washingtonian Julia Farr is all about elevating your wardrobe. Find grown-up, sophisticated options, from elegant gowns for black-tie galas to basics worthy of the corner office from Julia's eponymous line. [Image]
44th Street Northwest
Washington, DC 20015

4. Trohv

232 Carroll St NW, Takoma Park, D.C. 20012
A spin-off from Baltimore, Trohv Takoma Park is absolutely gigantic. Housed in a former grocery store, Trohv is chockfull of the coolest furniture, cookbooks, greeting cards, candles, and giftables. Budget at least an hour and get lost in the indie, vintage vibes. [Image]
232 Carroll St NW
Takoma Park, D.C. 20012

5. Sassanova Shoes & Accessories

7134 Bethesda Ln, Bethesda, MD 20814
For the woman who loves her some girly shoes, shop Sassanova for eye candy from brands like Stuart Weitzman, DVF, and Kate Spade. Psst... they carry clothes and accessories too. [Image]
7134 Bethesda Ln
Bethesda, MD 20814

6. Salt & Sundry

1309 5th St NE, Washington, D.C. 20002
We think Salt & Sundry is the Reese Witherspoon of stores: charming, slightly Southern, with impeccable taste. Located in Union Market, this is where to go for everything you need to set a beautiful table, buy a hostess gift that makes an impression, or pick up some cool locally-made foodstuffs. [Image]
1309 5th St NE
Washington, D.C. 20002

7. Federal

2216 14th Street Northwest, Washington, DC 20009
If "fly urban woodsman" describes your style, make haste and shop menswear boutique Federal on 14th Street. The store stocks heritage brands like Filson, Pendleton, Red Wing, and Levi's (vintage!). Bonus: it's connected to skate shop Palace5, in case that's more you. [Image]
2216 14th Street Northwest
Washington, DC 20009

8. Goodwood

1428 U St NW, Washington, D.C. 20009
Goodwood is all about beautiful vignettes of vintage and antique furnishings, as well as neat-o apothecary items. While most shoppers make a beeline here for the furniture, don't miss Goodwood's Ladies Department, with hard-to-find yet accessibly-priced accessories and dresses. [Image]
1428 U St NW
Washington, D.C. 20009

9. Redeem

1810 14th St NW, Washington, D.C. 20009