In need of seasonal wear, or something new and fresh to impress your significant other? You’re in luck, because the shopping inventory in the nation’s capital goes well beyond the standard name brands. Read up on some of our favorite indie boutiques below.
1. Hu’s Shoes/Hu’s Wear
Georgetown’s high-end retail mix on M Street gets some local love with Hu’s Shoes and Hu’s Wear. Fashion forward proprietor Marlene Hu’s two must-visit boutiques carry lust-worthy labels like Alexander Wang, Lanvin, Saint Laurent and Valentino.
2. Bishop Boutique
This King Street gem in Old Town, Alexandria feels like walking into your (very fashionable) girlfriend’s closet. The pink-hued boutique is filled with feminine shoes, standout accessories and envy-inducing handbags—all generally under $200.
3. Read Wall
DC native—and sharply dressed man—Read Wall has been wearing finely tailored suits for years. He launched his eponymous company just a few years ago and recently expanded with a full service suit shop in DC’s Shaw neighborhood where fashion forward men can go to find a classic, custom American-made suit.
4. Sophie Blake + Erika Schreiber
Jewelry designer Sophie Blake and women’s clothing designer Erika Schreiber recently joined forces to open a long-term pop-up in Mosaic District, a burgeoning retail destination in suburban Virginia. Both women are up-and-coming designers with cool aesthetics and a quickly developing following.
5. Take 5
Azerbaijan-born beauty Sakina Iskender focuses on under-the-radar European brands in her high-end women’s clothing boutique. You’ll often find Sakina on hand herself for impromptu consultations, who shuttles between her store’s two locations in Mosaic District and Tysons Corner.
6. Proper Topper
You’ll find more than just unique hats in this Dupont Circle shop (though you’ll find plenty of cool chapeaus). This DC establishment stocks finds like garden party clothes from Tracy Reese in the summer, après-ski looks from Plenty in the winter, as well as accessories, kid’s clothing, toys, gift books and housewares. Hats off to this shop!
7. Ella Rue
This sweet shop stocks luxury label consignment finds from sought after brands like Chanel, Emilio Pucci and Roberto Cavalli, as well as a collection of brand new apparel. Keep an eye out for when the store hosts on-site auctions if you want to snap up an investment piece.
The co-founders of Tuckernuck—DC natives Jocelyn Gailliot, Madeline Grayson and September Rinnier—started their preppy chic shop as an online endeavor selling clothing, shoes, accessories and monogrammed home goods that appeal to a classic American lifestyle. Lucky for those visiting DC, fans can now get the in-person experience at their first brick and mortar in Georgetown.
Nancy Perlstein’s boutique may be tucked quietly in Georgetown’s Cady’s Alley, but Relish remains a cathedral of designer clothes. The stock leans toward the tailored, understated and European: Dries van Noten, Martin Margiela, Massimo Alba with a few American accents (hi Marc Jacobs!) thrown into the mix. The staff is a chic army of stylists.
10. Duchess M
Mother-daughter duo Mary Pollard and Susie Pollard Freimanis own this candy-colored boutique on Old Town, Alexandria’s bustling King Street. Find classic styles mixed in with the latest trends in their supply of cocktail dress, classic work wear and killer accessories. Labels like Ted Baker, Nanette Lepore, Kate Spade and Trina Turk make this a not-to-miss store for fans of feminine fashion.
11. The Shoe Hive
Shop this gem of a boutique in Old Town if you’re in search of the perfect pair of stylish (yet classic) shoes. The buzzy store stocks faves like Tory Burch, Kate Spade and Sam Edelman along with harder to find footwear like AGL and Freda Salvador. But don’t just outfit your feet: The Shoe Hive also sells eye-catching handbags and accessories.
12. Betsy Fisher
For 25 years, this contemporary boutique has been serving Washington women who want a fashion forward yet sophisticated wardrobe. DC local Fisher sources the store with hard-to-find American labels like Meredith Banzhoff button downs, Coye Nokes shoes and Hilton Hollis dresses. She also hosts near-weekly trunk shows for even more fun finds.
13. Tiny Jewel Box
This third-generation family-owned jewelry storeis a DC institution, having served presidents, politicos and celebrities for decades. Look for the red awning on Connecticut Avenue and meander into the recently expanded store to find glittering baubles from designers like Marco Bicego, Penny Preville, Stephen Webster and Alex Sepkus. Want to take home a one-of-a-kind DC souvenir? The store’s on-site experts can help you design a custom piece.
Sandwiched between the hopping restaurant and bars on 14th Street, Redeem dishes indie label clothes to men and women. Once a satellite radio deejay, owner Lori Parkerson handpicks clothing, accessories and shoes with an eye for edge. These days her playlists include shark tooth necklaces for her, wooden Wu watches for him, slouchy dresses from Feral Child and D. Gnakk shirting.
15. Hugh & Crye
Friends and co-founders Pranav Vora and Philip Soriano run this chic menswear shop in Georgetown. The duo specializes in finely tailored shirts with an innovative sizing system that fits lean and athletically built men. Look for the perfect shirt, along with blazers and must-have accessories including pocket squares, cufflinks and vintage lapel pins.
Now that you have read up on indie boutiques, it’s time to start digging even further into DC’s shopping scene. Read up on the many options at your disposal.