by June 19, 2013 at 1:00 pm 0


Ready for summer wear? (Luis Gomez Photos)

From Sarah Griswold. Email her at sarahg[AT]

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 May 24, 2013 at 10:00 am 2 Comments

From Dafna Steinberg and Josh Siegel. Follow Dafna @AlizaySteinberg; email her at dafna[AT] Email Josh at josh[AT]

Dafna’s Fashion Fridays is on video this week. That’s right, this Friday Dafna talks to Lori, owner of Redeem and together they tell us about what people are wearing this spring, and what’s selling and, above all, what’s in style in DC!
[vimeo width=”580″ height=”400″][/vimeo]

by February 22, 2013 at 1:00 pm 0


Dafna’s Fashion Friday, Santa Fe Edition. (Dafna Steinberg)

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

Howdy Borderstanis! I’m writing from the land of enchantment: New Mexico! Santa Fe, to be precise. Which seemed like a perfect reason to write about trend that just won’t quit and is really big for spring: Western wear.

Don’t worry. I’m not suggesting you start dressing like Roy Rogers and riding a horse named Trigger to work. Nor am I saying you should start going to line dance country bars (unless that’s already your thing). However, some elements of western fashion are very easy to incorporate into every day life and will give a little extra flair to your daily wardrobe choices. Here’s a list of a few items you can try out.


These make a great and easy introduction to rocking a western look.  Tie one around your neck or get creative! (I’ll  make a bracelet out of one or tie one around my calf) There are tons out there with great patterns aside from the standard paisley print. My recommendation, however, is go for ones made in the USA. Preferably vintage. The ones from China just aren’t the same.

Cowboy boots

Honestly, I’m a believer everyone should have at least one pair. I know I have two and would be more than happy to up that count. Cowboy boots are quite possibly one of the most comfortable kinds of shoes and most people I know who own a pair literally live in them. Some good brands to look into: Frye, Tony Lama and Wolverine.

Cowboy shirts

Great for men and women, these pearl snap button shirts are comfortable and flattering. They are cut a bit slim, which gives them a better fit to the body. They also come in a variety of styles: Plaid ones are great for casual, solid colors can be work appropriate. For women, dress one up with a cute skirt to the office or dress it down with a pair of reliable jeans. Men can wear one with a blazer (tie is optional as it would cover up the pretty buttons) or roll up the sleeves for a more casual look.

Bolo Ties

For the very daring, a bolo tie will dress up any outfit. Typically worn instead of a tie, they can make great necklaces on women who wear them loosely. Guys, rock them with a collared shirt for a different take on the regular “suit and tie” look.

I’m not going to discuss the contentious topic of “Navajo” print, even though it has come back into style a lot in the past few years (and I have a picture of it above). Here’s some info as to why it’s such a hot button fashion issue, and you can decide how you feel about wearing it.

For local shops that sell western style clothes, Federal has some great men’s wear, including great denim and lots of Pendleton. Ladies can find some western inspired pieces over at Redeem where guys can also find some great boots (not necessarily cowboy, but they do have Wolverines). Also in Redeem, check out Mutiny which has some great western products. Vintage lovers can shop at Dr. K’s, Blues Hard Goods, Ginger Root and Junction.

by October 8, 2012 at 2:00 pm 1,580 0


All you need for the season is in Borderstan shops. (Luis Gomez Photos)

From Melanie Hudson. Email her at melanie[AT]

There are many signposts of fall: cooler weather, heartier cooking, holidays galore and, ladies, say it with me – jeans, boots and blazers. But for me, I know it’s fall when all of the birthday reminders start popping up on my Outlook Calendar. Between September 1 and the end of the year, I have no less than 25 birthdays to commemorate in some fashion greater than posting a “Happy Birthday!” on Facebook.

Side note: Those previous winter months must have a particularly strong aphrodisiac in the air to result in so many fall birthdays…

Needless to say, this time of year I am constantly searching for the perfect gift for all the Virgos, Libras, Scorpios and Sagittariuses in my life – gifts that are mostly small, hopefully unique and don’t come from a faceless online vendor. The good news for Borderstan is that in this neighborhood, we don’t have to look very far to find some incredible gift ideas. In fact, you won’t need to leave Borderstan to shop for everyone on your list. Which is great for me, since you readers know I don’t like to leave if I don’t have to (see Planning Your Fab Wedding In Borderstan: Get it all Local).

Some Starter Suggestions

Here are some ideas to get you started. Tell us your favorite Borderstan shops in the comment section below.

Give your best friend an object of delight. Redeem, 1734 14th Street NW. Here you’ll find funky necklaces and cuffs, natural soy candles, George Gina and Lucy bags and Prospector Co. men’s products. Plus, a large supply of one of a kind clothes for you to fall in love with while you’re there. You and your best friend will never shop at The Loft again.

Let your older sister know you’ve grown up. Timothy Paul Bedding + Home, 1529A 14th Street NW. These guys will make your big sis’s bedroom feel scrumptious with unique patterned bedding, pillows and home products as well as custom options available for the extra-picky sisters among us. There is also a gift registry for special occasions. She’ll wonder when you developed such great taste and be clamoring for more of it.

Surprise your boyfriend with something he actually wants. GoodWood, 1428 U Street NW. At this charming “mercantile and dry goods store,” you’ll find reclaimed, beautiful and mostly inexpensive furniture that would make a great surprise gift for the man in your life. But the store has other gifts to make his home shine (like yours) – Bistro de Paris plate sets and Clos du Manoir ceramic dinnerware, oversized mirrors and artwork, men’s cologne and cuff links, cool vintage typewriters and Brooklyn-made Waverly and Irving homemade candles in antique glassware.

Make sure your mother-in-law appreciates you. Tabletop, 1608 20th Street NW. This is a one-stop-shop for all the gifts you’ll ever need for the woman you most want to impress: Snow and Graham notecards and wrapping paper, TAG towels and plates, jewelry from a local designer (and the store’s co-owner), Jonathan Adler salt and pepper shakers and vases, handmade tiles, unique clocks and aprons, Rifle calendars and Jo and Hobo handbags.  It’s also a great source for children’s books and toys – securing you favorite in-law status for sure.

This fall, is going to miss you.

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by August 28, 2012 at 5:00 pm 1,418 0

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

A week without DC’s soul-sucking August humidity is enough to have me say “sayonara” to summer, while running with open arms towards fall.

Yes, we can all finally look forward to a frizz-free hair and fewer melting makeup disasters, and embrace new pallet of colors, textures and styles. Yes, bring on the tweed, the corduroy and jeans! Oh, how I have missed my jeans…

But best of all, there is no need to venture to a suburban “mall” or even an overpriced designer storefront to find some of this season’s best looks — it’s all in the neighborhood. Here are some of this season’s trends worth checking out in the area.


Neighborhood boutiques are overflowing with colorful, textured clutches and vibrant, chunky necklaces. One of my favorite finds is a tad-bit unconventional. Yes, it’s a Turkish bath towel — the perfect multi-purpose accessory that can be used as a scarf, a shawl or a fall picnic blanket at a local park or vineyard.

These great accessories are from Table Top (1608 20th Street NW), Lou Lou (1601 Connecticut Avenue NW), Redeem (1734 14th Street NW), Current Boutique (1809 14th Street NW) and Axis Salon (1509 Connecticut Avenue NW).


Colorful, textured clutches and makeup bags. Makeup bag (top left) from Table Top. Clutches from Lou Lou. (Rachel Nania)


Chunky, colorful necklaces from Redeem and Current Boutique. (Rachel Nania)









Women’s Clothing

For early fall, women’s styles are trending towards comfortable patterned dresses (and chunky necklaces, above). Pair these with a pair of boots and a cardigan and you are set!

Men’s Clothing

Bold colors and traditional plaids, tweeds and prints are in for the gents. Here is an example of a show-stopping outfit from Ginger Root Design. Don’t forget to grab a comfortable, textured sweater for the chilly evenings, like this one from Redeem.


Get ready for Fall. (Rachel Nania)

Pictured: A patterned fall dress from Current Boutique pairs perfectly with a bold, colorful necklace; patterned fall dresses from Current Boutique; a bold men’s outfit from Ginger Root Design; a textured men’s sweater from Redeem.

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by December 15, 2011 at 10:15 am 2,001 0

See LBD Always Okay; Color, Lace, Patterns Make You Fashion Forward from Kate on Monday… and Let’s Get Some Shoes (and Bags): Check Local Boutiques for Holidays from Laura on Wednesday.

From Eliza French. Follow her on Twitter @elizaenbref; email her at [email protected]

New Year’s is the one night of the year when it matters most to look your best. The more sartorially-minded among us recognize that where you are, who you’re with, and what you wear when the ball drops set the tone for the entire year to come.


At Junction: Short- haired ermine 1950s swing coat. Cuff can be worn rolled or unrolled. Size 8 – 12, $265. (Courtesy of Junction)

After Christmas shopping and time off of work, you might not be able to justify splurging on a new outfit for one night out. If that’s the case, try dressing up your basic, go-to party outfit with distinctive jewelry and bold accessories.

Think of jewelry and accessories as smaller investments with potentially bigger returns than a pricey pair of heels or designer dress. The right necklace, colorful belt or pair of vintage gloves will make you stand out in the crowd on New Year’s Eve and could even become your new signature piece in 2012.


At Treasury: Long metallic chain necklaces with single charms, $52 – $128. (Eliza French)

Current Boutique, 1809 14th Street NW. At Current Boutique, gold, dangly earrings ($25.95 – $35.00) have been selling quickly this holiday season. The store also features statement necklace  ($48 – $62) and a pair of elbow-length black glove with crystal embellishment – ladylike charm meets New Year’s bling.

Some of the pieces are less unique, but they are also less than expensive than the handmade items at some other boutiques in the neighborhood.

As a cheaper option, you can buy someone this season’s trendier jewelry and accessories without having to worry that they might get lost on the dance floor somewhere between 2011 and 2012.

Ginger Root Design, 1530 U Streeet NW, Basement. Ginger Root Design is the perfect place to pick up one-of-a-kind jewelry. The boutique focuses on local artists with unique designs. For New Year’s, Ginger Root’s staff pointed me toward sparkling rings and pendant necklaces by Rachel Pfeffer ($92 – $173). Pfeffer works with materials like amethyst, pyrite, and drusy.


At Junction: Gloves are making a comeback. (Eliza French)

Large, geometric earrings by Jennifer Jeremias ($65 – $90) were another stand-out. These handmade metal earrings look delicate, but are durable enough to take the wear-and-tear of fighting the New Year’s crowds. Finally, tangled metallic necklaces by Lauren Joan ($120 -$150) tie any look together and are appropriate for any occasion – from a night out on the town to a big meeting with your boss at the office.

Junction, 1510 U St NW. A wall display at this vintage boutique showcases several classic holiday styles with on-trend accents.  Store Manager Megan Gay highlighted a few key pieces that compliment a vintage-inspired ’50s silhouette and could add a retro touch to a contemporary outfit.

Like other neighborhood stores, Junction’s display of evening gloves suggests the ‘evening glove’ comeback. From black and wrist-length to winter white and elbow-length, gloves are easy and affordable ($28 – $36) items to add a bit of elegance to your look.

Gay also recommended the store’s selection of gold and emerald vintage jewelry for subtle New Year’s glitz. If you’re willing to spend more on a truly


At Treasury: Colorful skinny belts are great for little black dresses, $18. (Eliza French)

distinctive piece, you can browse the collection of vintage fur ($98 – $215). Junction refurbishes gently-used furs, a material that Gay said can’t be recycled because of the chemicals applied during the tanning process. A rabbit-fur cape and a beige wooly jacket present dressier alternatives to that North Face puffer jacket.

Redeem, 1734 14th Street NW. Redeem carries a careful selection of edgy and distinctive jewelry, like the artisan SURevolution brand. Memorable items include necklaces ($95 – $125) and leather, stud, and suede cuff bracelets ($165).

Treasury, 1843 14th Street NW, second floor. This vintage shop tucked away upstairs next to Café Saint-Ex features a small selection of clothing, accessories, and jewelry, and offers a wealth of options for holiday wear. Saleswoman Joyce Guzowski noted that the shop’s collection of vintage brooches ($16 – $58) can make any outfit pop. Similarly, colorful skinny belts ($18) add festive sophistication to little black dresses or skinny jeans.

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At Rue 14: Long charm necklaces and chunky bracelets. (Eliza French)

Treasury, like Junction, has a few pairs of gloves in stock. Long metallic chain necklaces with a single over-size charm ($52-$128) have been popular lately, and Guzawski suggested using them as a bold statement piece for New Year’s Eve. Treasury also carries its own line of customizable rings, Lithics and the chunky metallic designs.

Stem, 1412 U Street NW. The tiny shop adjacent to DC Noodle stocks flower beaded rings ($18-$38), colorful beaded and woven cloth necklaces ($48 – $55) and delicate bead and wire bracelets that add a touch of whimsy  to the usual New Year’s glam. Knit scarves ($75 – $135), chunky knit or funky structural designs, are also a good way to accessorize a plain peacoat.

Rue 14, 1803A 14th Street NW. Rue 14 carries trendy, contemporary brands for both men and women. The store has the popular long charm necklaces ($49-$129) and chunky bracelets ($110).  For men, Mister Vintage cufflinks ($50) add a subtle special touch to a French-cuff shirt.

Lettie Gooch, 1517 U Street NW. Big, dangly earrings and long necklaces are your best bet here. These pieces are noticeable enough to embellish a simple black outfit, but are also easy to mix and match for more shine.

by December 12, 2011 at 10:20 am 2,549 3 Comments


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?

by September 9, 2011 at 11:00 am 2,023 0

Redeem, Borderstan, 14th Street NW, Fashion Night

Fashions Night Out at Redeem, 1734 14th Street NW. Most of Thursday night’s events were at Georgetown stores, but several 14th Street shops participated as well. (Luis Gomez Photos)

From Michelle Lancaster. You can follow her and tell her your news on Twitter @MichLancasterEmail her at [email protected].

Rain, Rain, Go Away

As if the earthquake and hurricane were not enough, DC’s first responders are now conducting water rescues around DC due to flooding. WJLA has a list of them and the astounding report that we have had more than SEVEN inches of rain this week. It’s enough rain to cancel the swim portion of The Nation’s triathlon in DC, scheduled for Sunday. Stay dry and don’t bother straightening your hair!

Recap of Fashion’s Night Out

While the rain kept some people away, Fashion’s Night Out soldiered through with some unfashionable ponchos or stylish wellies. Patch has a good recap of the event, which brought people down from Baltimore and beyond. I’ll admit I may be partial to the article, since it features the DC Roller Girls, skates and all. If you have yet to attend FNO or see the roller derby, make a plan to do both soon!

Are Objections to Development Hurting DC’s Economy?

You probably already read the guest post from Stephen Rutgers on the 17th Street and O Street NW development. If he didn’t convince you that Dupont needs more mixed-use developments, consider this piece from Washington City Paper. Lydia DePillis features the argument made by an Arlington-based economist and his recently published piece in the New York Times. Failing to build more developments in opportunity-rich areas, he argues, is chocking economic growth. Good stuff to consider as you review the finer points of the President’s jobs speech from last night.

Connecticut Avenue Median Dedication

Speaking of development projects, the one that created the Connecticut Avenue is celebrating its first major milestone. The stretch between K Street and L Street has been completed, according to the Golden Triangle website. While work will continue up to Dupont Circle, the dedication ceremony is planned for September 15 at 10:30 am Officials attending the ribbon cutting ceremony include Mayor Vincent Gray, Council Chairman Kwame Brown and Ward 2 Councilman Jack Evans.

DC Shorts Film Festival Underway

So you missed the first film since the festival officially opened on Thursday. However, you still have a lot of great stuff to see and attend! Consider tonight’s Celebrity Party (not sure who the celebrities will be, but they are going to have food from Matchbox and Cowgirl Creamery, which is reason enough to go even if you hate movies) at Madame Tussaud’s or tomorrow’s Brazilian Carnival. More info about the parties is here. The full list of films can be found here.

Dupont Escalators Out of Service for Up to a Year

I wish that we had all missed this news and it wasn’t happening, but it’s true. The 19th Street entrance (on the south side of Dupont Circle) will be closed for up to a year as Metro works on the escalators servicing that particular access point. As the Washington Examiner points out, the Empire State Building was constructed in less time than this particular repair. Hopefully, this repair will ensure smooth escalator trips with no additional service. A girl can dream!

Arts District Blossoms

The Washington Blade has an interesting piece on the evolution of Logan Circle in contrast to Dupont Circle. Unsurprisingly, they credit Logan’s blossoming with the more ‘friendly’ ANC, which listened to residents who desired more restaurants and retail. Whether you care for the changes or not, it is certainly true that the 14th Street Corridor is remarkably changed from a decade (or even five years) ago. What say you, Borderstan, about the changes?


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