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Khelan Style: J’Adore Rue 14

by Borderstan.com March 25, 2011 at 7:00 pm 0

Rue 14th, Borderstan, Luis Gomez Photos, Khelan Bhatia

Khelan has so many reasons for loving Rue 14. The clothing boutique is at 1803-A 14th Street NW. (Luis Gomez Photos)

From Khelan Bhatia. You can follow Khelan on Twitter @KhelanB. He lives in the U Street area and writes about style for Borderstan.

J’Adore Rue 14.

Greetings, Borderstanis. I’m sure many of you have been to Rue 14, a lovely clothing boutique nestled in the heart of Borderstan 14th Street just above S). If you haven’t yet, I’m going to give you several reasons why you should.  And if you have dropped by, I’m going to give you even more reasons why you need to go back. (See Rue 14 Style: Forward Thinking from Cecile Oreste, October 2010.)

As much as we love the District, can we all agree that D.C. is not most customer-service oriented city? I call it the “CVS effect,” which somehow trickles into restaurants, clothing stores, bars, coffee shops, etc. I certainly know that I’ve walked out of many an establishment wondering why my sunny disposition was met with indifference and/or mild scorn — not to mention outright incompetence.

Rue 14th, Borderstan, Luis Gomez Photos

Khelan: Rue 14 raises the fashion bar in D.C. (Luis Gomez Photos)

Great Service

Lucky for us, Rue 14 has none of that. You’ll find that folks there are friendly, attentive and knowledgeable, i.e. the holy trinity when it comes to consumerism. The boutique is run by Jiwon and her husband, Andrew, both of whom have quite a pedigree in fashion (so they totally know what they’re talking about). On their staff is Jeff, who has a savant-esque knowledge of denim. He’s the District’s premiere Denimologist. (No, that isn’t a word, but it needs to be).

More Parisian Influence

What’s really exciting, especially for someone like who’s been frequenting Rue 14 for years, are the upcoming renovations. According to Andrew, they’re going to have a stronger Parisian influence (appropriate, given the name) and an old-world charm.

There’s already evidence of the evolving aesthetic in the store. Yes, that’s an actual vintage suitcase adorned with stickers of exotic locales and airlines that don’t exist anymore, e.g. Pan Am. It evokes an era when traveling was, once-upon-a-time, a classy affair; not the sweat pant-filled, croc-wearing chore it is now.

Rue 14th, Borderstan, Luis Gomez Photos

Vintage Traveler. (Luis Gomez Photos)

Designer Labels

Similarly, Rue 14 has been raising the bar for fashion in the District for the past couple of years by carrying designers such as Geren Ford (classic dresses), Gant (preppy, tailored chic), Amanda Uprichard (feminine and flirty dresses, perfect for Spring), Life After Denim (affordable, comfortable, plaid shirts), Ever (laid back, California-inspired casual wear), J.Brand (possibly one of the best denim designers out there… check out the Kane fit, which is the slim straight cut and currently on Sale, my favorite four-letter word natch), and Naked and Famous (great jeans and even better oxford shirts).

They’ve recently started carrying Edwin, a denim line that’s known as the Levi’s of Japan. I was particularly impressed with the used wash, which is a much softer version of selvedge denim. Don’t get me wrong; selvedge is amazing.

Edwin Jeans, Rue 14, Borderstan

Edwin Jeans. (Luis Gomez Photos)

But there’s something nice about not having to wait a year to break in high-end denim, especially as the warmer months are approaching. What really brought a smile to my face is that Rue 14 has recently started carrying Happy Socks, which are basically the best socks ever. Comfortable; stylish; fun. Can’t go wrong.

April 8: Smooth Ambler

And because shopping and imbibing go hand in hand like chocolate and peanut butter, Rue 14 will be hosting a sophisticated soiree on the evening of Friday, April 8. The sponsor is Smooth Ambler, an artisan, small-batch distillery that brews vodka, gin, bourbon and whiskey. You’ll be able to check out the new aesthetic and designers I’ve mentioned. And you’ll get a free gift with your purchase.

Before I sign off, I have to say that I can never leave this store without making a purchase. This time around it was a gray military jacket from Life After Denim that’s perfect for this unpredictable spring weather and a chambray shirt from Gant that’s so comfortable I could sleep in it.

That’s it for me this week, folks. Have a terrific weekend.

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