by Borderstan.com June 19, 2013 at 1:00 pm 0

"Summer"

Ready for summer wear? (Luis Gomez Photos)

From Sarah Griswold. Email her at sarahg[AT]borderstan.com.

Hi friends! I hope you are all having a fabulous summer so far, I know that I am. Apart from those few bursts of crazy rain, the sunshine has been more that welcomed in this household. And with these beautiful days abound, I have brought my summer wardrobe out of hiding.

Ladies, I’m sure you’re like me — when dragging out your dusty box of summer dresses, short-shorts and cami’s, it’s exciting to be reunited with those small, but essential pieces that adorned all your “Summer 2012” Instagram photo album pictures, but then you’re left wanting.

My Local Picks

Whether you’re looking for new frocks to wear on your summer trip to NYC, or relaxing beachside vacation to Charleston, SC, or if you just want to freshen up your summer outfits, I have a list of cute little boutiques you must check out this year.

  • Redeem Shop Independent, 1734 14th St NW. Flaunting cool, designer duds for men and women, this shop also makes room for lesser known names too. For me, this is great place to get something completely unique, edgy, urban and screamingly original.
  • Caramel, 1603 U Street NW. One of the first spots I explored upon moving to the city. Again, this shop caters to men and women, so feel free to drag your boyfriend along to spruce up his wardrobe too! As far as the clothing goes, I find Caramel ultra feminine and airy; things you can wear to work and to happy hour right afterward.
  • Lettie Gooch, 1517 U Street NW. This is such a great shop and every time I walk by the window displays, I’m compelled to go in. Bright and bold colors and ready to wear styles that are modern without being pretentious. Flowy dresses, structured collars and bright statement jewelry adorn this little boutique.
  • Violet Boutique, 2439 18th Street NW. This is a great “go-to” spot with reliably cute and easy styles. It reminds me of shopping in your stylish girlfriend’s closet. Pretty, girly styles and accessories without pushing your boundaries too far.

At all of these boutiques, styles and sizes are limited, so be sure to check in with them often so you don’t miss out on anything!

And Once You’re Done…

  • Once you have done your damage, be sure to make some room in your closet and get rid of all those items you love but don’t wear anymore — Buffalo Exchange on 1318 14th Street NW accepts donations or you can resell there too.
  • You can also donate your items to any one of the great donation centers in a neighborhood near you.  Here are a couple to get you started — Martha’s Table at 2114 14th Street NW or Goodwill Donation Center on 2200 South Dakota Avenue NE.

Have I missed one of your favorite shops? Are there any new boutiques the rest of us should know about? Post a comment below and spread the love!

Happy summer shopping!

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by Borderstan.com June 6, 2013 at 12:00 pm 0

Capital Pride Decorations on 17th Street NW. (Luis Gomez Photos)

Capital Pride Decorations on 17th Street NW. (Luis Gomez Photos)

From Dito Sevilla. Email him at dito[AT]borderstan.com, follow him on Twitter @DitoDC.

This week we’ve once again festoon anything and everything with the six colors that comprise the rainbow flag. It’s that special time of year, when our usually gay neighborhoods become cloyingly gay. And, yes, I contribute my fair share.

Each year in a futile attempt to outdo the previous one, I encrust the facades of several 17th Street businesses, Floriana included, with just enough rainbow materials to make Rainbow Brite wish she were colorblind. It’s fun, it’s harmless, and it couldn’t be tackier. Trust me, we’ve tried.

We call it Capital Pride because this is the nation’s Capital after all, and frankly, because it really helps with getting permits to close city streets for several hours so we can parade & party. Of course, anything involving gay men, summer heat, and vodka quickly becomes a large, messy, sweaty, street fair — albeit one attended by the happiest and best looking people you’ll eve run into.

Basically it’s fun, it’s upbeat, and it’s gayer than Barbara Streisand riding a unicorn sidesaddle, though the wedding of Lindsey Graham and Marcus Bachmann.

Kurt Powers, Patterns

With all these “Pride” related events  (Jello-O Wrestling is tonight (9 pm at Phase 1 of Dupont), other, dare I say, equally interesting, less colorful pursuits may be overlooked. To that end, may I suggest you experience the world through the eye of Kurt Powers.

Kurt is a DC-based photographer who has a knack for capturing the ordinary in a rather extraordinary light. Beginning this weekend, his work will be on display at Caramel, 1603 U Street NW. The show, “Patterns,” includes some wonderfully deceptive pieces from his travels through Yellowstone National Park.  Moments of self-reflection are all but guaranteed moments after even paying them a cursory glance. A reminder that first impression are not always what they seem.

"Kurt Powers"

Kurt Powers, “Patterns,” at Caramel Boutique. (Courtesy of Powers).

I know just what you’re thinking. This year’s Pride theme is Heroes, and his name — Kurt Powers — sort of sounds like he might look splendid in a cape… and that perhaps Yellowstone is the material the Yellow Brick Road was fashioned from. But trust me, it’s well worth your time.

Juxtaposed among deeply exposed, highly saturated scenes resembling nebulas, outer space, and the vibrant cosmos are hung somber images captured at Fort Zachary Taylor Park in Key West.

There, a stack of cannonballs piled ominously against one side of a diptych created by uneven decay of an exterior wall provides an excellent foil for the optimistic scenery captured at Yellowstone.

“Patterns” runs from June 7 to July 27 at Caramel Boutique (1603 U Street NW). Get a further glimpse of Kurt’s work.

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by Borderstan.com April 19, 2013 at 4:00 pm 0

"Fashion"

Dafna’s Fashion Alert: Four events in the neighborhood. (Luis Gomez Photos)

From Dafna Steinberg. Follow her @AlizaySteinberg. Email her at dafna[AT]borderstan.com.

Sorry folks… I have had a crazy week… between working at Union Station all day yesterday for a “vintage is green” fashion show and pop up shop to having an exhibition tomorrow (which you can read about here on Borderstan), I have been swamped. Which means that I didn’t have a chance to write an advice column or trend alert.

So here are a few upcoming events to check out in the meantime!

  • Friday, April 19: Tonight, Ginger Root (1530 U Street NW) will be having a Champagne Toast & Spring Line Premier for YB Green, the makers of beautiful recycled glass jewelry. Stop by between 6 and 9 pm for a glass of Champagne and some awesome accessories!
  • Saturday, April 20: Caramel (1603 U Street NW) will be having a sweet Saturday with desserts by pastry artist Sarah Krueger and jewelry by ADMK from 1 to 7 pm. Designer Megan Kurtz will be on hand to talk about her new designs. There will be special discounts throughout the store and a 10% discount off the Spring designs from ADMK! 
  • Wednesday, April 24: Room & Board (1840 14th Street, NW) is having their summer kick off party! RSVP here
  • Sunday, April 28: Nana, a boutique that formerly had its home on U Street, will be having a trunk show for Meg, one of their favorite labels. Designed by New York designer Meghan Kinney, the line will be showcasing its Spring 2013 looks at Cork Tasting Room (1805 14th St NW) from 1 to 5 pm.
  • Happy Fashion Partying! Will get back to you all in a couple weeks!

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by Borderstan.com December 14, 2012 at 8:00 am 0

"caramel"

Art and Holidays at Caramel on U Street. (Luis Gomez Photos)

From Rachel Nania. Check out her blog, Sear, Simmer & Stir. Follow Nania on Twitter @rnania, email her at rachel[AT]borderstan.com. 

On Friday, December 14, Caramel (1603 U Street NW) will host a little celebration featuring local art, fashion and holiday cheer.

From 6 to 9 pm, the U Street boutique will showcase art by U Street Art Club members Parth A. Tikiwala and Marc Latourrette. Caramel will also discount some of its items for the evening and serve champagne, wine and light hors d’oeuvres.

For more information on the event, visit the website or call the store at 202-265-1930.

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by Borderstan.com November 14, 2012 at 11:00 am 0

"caramel"

Get ready to help. (Luis Gomez Photos)

Come join Caramel Boutique (1603 U Street NW) this Thursday, November 15th from 6 to 9 pm for the 3rd Annual Loaves & Fishes Silent Auction and Art Sale benefiting  Fishes Silent, a local meal program serving low income and homeless individuals in the Mount Pleasant and Columbia Heights communities.

There will be plenty to bid on with a variety of exciting silent auction items donated by local businesses available. Attendees will also be able to participate in a raffle and purchase the work of local artists and photographers.  Diana Adams, Sondra Arkin, Antoinette Charles, Sam DixonTom Drymon, Sally Kauffman, Mason Thorpe Calhoun, and Reiko Renee Tate  are some of the artist who donated pieces for the silent auction.

Proceeds from the 2012 event will provide crucial funding needed to continue offering healthy meals to individuals in the community.

Come and have fun at Caramel while helping others. There is no charge to attend and complimentary refreshments will be served.

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by Borderstan.com December 12, 2011 at 10:20 am 1,414 3 Comments

"Borderstan"

Kate offers some options to the very simple, very simple Little Black Dress for this season’s holiday parties. (Luis Gomez Photos  and Leetie Gooch Boutique)

Coming midweek: Holiday party shoes and handbags from Laura… and jewelry and accessories from Eliza… and recommendations on where to get everything locally.

From Kate Hays. Follow her on Twitter @kateyhays and email her at [email protected]

Go in your closet and take a peek. If it looks like most of the streets of our fair city at this time of year, you’ve got it packed to the brim with grays and blacks. But our local boutiques are stocked with cute colors, fabrics and textures. So this holiday season, say buh-bye to the Little Black Dress… and helllllo color!

I stopped in at Lettie Gooch recently for a chat with Kenya Rennie, the store’s manager, who agreed with my opinion about the “LBD.” What is she loving this season? Longer hemlines and lace, the explosion of jewel tones (such as cobalt), and lots of nude tones. I gave her a few situations formerly covered by the LBD territory, and asked her to give us some ideas on what to wear.

Some of Kate’s favorite local boutiques: Some other local boutique favorites of mine include CaramelMulehrue14Current Boutique and Redeem. I think of it as a fashion win-win: A new dress and supporting local business while I’m at it.

Kate: You’ve got a work crush, who is the definition of hotness, and you want to be noticed at next week’s holiday party. But you don’t want to get put on notice by your boss for an inapprop wardrobe malfunction. What’s a girl to wear?

Kenya: I would choose one of our latest arrivals from Beth Bowley. a dress that combines one of the hottest trends of the season (lace) with one of winter’s coolest colors (cobalt). The silhouette is conservative, but the lace adds a hint of peak-a-boo flirtyness — perfect for getting your flirt on while still scoring points with the boss.

Kate: You’ve been invited to a house party. You’re single and ready to mingle. Dress?

Kenya: I’d go with the comfy lace overlay dress from Weston Wear. It’s so versatile, dressed up with glittering jewelry and pumps. Or, dressed down with flat boots and an edgy blazer… perfect for going a first date from a love connection started at that party, too.

Now you know: “A little black dress is an evening or cocktail dress, cut simply and often quite short. Fashion historians ascribe the origins of the little black dress to the 1920s designs of Coco Chanel, intended to be long-lasting, versatile, affordable, accessible… Its ubiquity is such that it is often simply referred to as the “LBD.” (Wikipedia)

Kate: What about a family holiday dinner at your beau’s home, where you want to make nice with grandma, but not look like her?

Kenya: You’ll please everyone, even grandma, with an elegant frock from Darling. Channel Audrey Hepburn in this classic number that sports a jeweled collar and pockets.

Kate: Any final ideas for us, Kenya?

Kenya: We’ve got great tops and sweaters to add sparkle to those dresses, or to repurpose them for another occasion. Grab a sequined sweater or cardigan by Darling, or a sparkling top by Collective Concepts or Fate.

Back to Kate…

And thanks to Kenya’s excellent taste and styling, I purchased this little cutie by Eva Franco for my holiday festivities, along with some awesome dangly earrings.

Go give Lettie Gooch or one of our other local boutiques a visit and find your own LBD alternative. Some other local boutique favorites of mine include Caramel, Muleh, rue14, Current Boutique and Redeem. I think of it as a fashion win-win; a new dress, and supporting local business while I’m at it.

What’s your favorite local place to pick up new threads?

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