A young woman examines a dress in a Georgetown store

(©Sam Kittner/Georgetown BID)

Top Destinations for Fashionistas in Washington, D.C.

By Anne Kim-Dannibale on 04/21/16, updated 05/02/16
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The stylish have plenty to look forward to while visiting Washington. After all, the nation’s capital is where first ladies from Dolley Madison to Michelle Obama have left their sartorial marks. Where else can you find their outfits and those of past presidential wives preserved for generations at Smithsonian’s American History Museum?

But in this city of movers and shakers, fashion extends to the general populace, too. Washingtonians may have a reputation for power suiting, but their wardrobes extend far beyond the halls of government. The city’s vibrant nightlife and social scenes provide ample reason to don chic ensembles. And shopping centers in the greater Metro area—from the District to Maryland and Northern Virginia—oblige with fertile ground from which to mine au courant treasures.

Luxury brand seekers gravitate to hubs of high fashion like CityCenterDC in downtown, The Collection in Chevy Chase and Tysons Galleria in Northern Virginia. Those looking for hip trends find the latest looks at Tysons Corner Center (one of the largest malls in the area). Shoppers interested in local flavor hit up boutiques in happening zones throughout the District.

Whatever your particular style, find deals, high-end attire and even some inspiration at these (well-dressed) top spots.

The illuminated arch with video projection at CityCenterDC

(Courtesy CityCenterDC)

Shopping

CityCenterDC

With brands like Dior, Gucci, Hermes, Louis Vuitton and Vince, label hunters could spend an entire day here. Recharge with one of Meredith Tomason’s seasonal confections at Rare Sweets, enjoyed by the fountains in the courtyard.

The entrance to Potomac Mills just after sunset

(Courtesy Potomac Mills)

Shopping

Potomac Mills

You’ll need wheels to get to this indoor outlet mall, but it’s worth the drive to score deep discounts at 200 stores including Brooks Brothers, Coach, Kate Spade and Movado plus high-end department stores Saks Fifth Off Fifth and Neiman Marcus Last Call.

Inside Tysons Corner Center

(Courtesy Visit Fairfax)

Shopping

Tysons Corner Center

Visitors can now get here via Metro’s Silver line, which offers a non-harried trip and stops on an elevated terrace leading right into the retail mecca. Tackle the largest mall in the area in the morning and/or during the week when crowds tend to be thinner.

Cash register with a portrait of Albert Einstein

(Courtesy Avenue Jack)

Shopping

Avenue Jack

This locally owned men’s shop in Dupont Circle carries a well-curated collection that includes familiar brands like Levi’s and Calvin Klein, but also up-and-comers like Psycho Bunny. Knowledgeable and friendly staff do a good job of guiding shoppers, so don’t be shy with questions. Pick up decor souvenirs bearing DC images, too.

Luxury outdoor storefronts at The Collection

(©Scott Suchman, courtesy Chevy Chase Land Company)

Shopping

The Collection at Chevy Chase

The “Rodeo Drive of the East Coast” evokes that West Coast retail icon with one high-end shop after another along Wisconsin Avenue NW. Take the Metro to the Friendship Heights stop for easy access to Gucci, Jimmy Choo, Cartier and Louis Vuitton.

Ike Behar's suiting on a model

(Courtesy Ike Behar)

Shopping

Ike Behar

This lifelong tailor and his family are known for stitching well-crafted custom menswear. Though the shop offers head-to-toe style, the Behars are known for beautifully made shirts.

The second-level dining room at Fig & Olive

(©Anne Kim-Dannibale)

Restaurants

Fig & Olive

This CityCenterDC restaurant gives off a California-meets-the South of France vibe, drawing the city’s fashionable. Show off your latest vestment while perched at one of two bars or opt for a cushy seat in the downstairs living room-like lounge.

A red handbag for sale at Secondi

(Courtesy Secondi)

Shopping

Secondi

With new items arriving daily, bargain hunters have a good chance to score an incredible deal at this sunny second-story designer reseller. The longer an item sticks around, the better the deal.

Liljenquist & Beckstead's Fairfax Square store

Liljenquist & Beckstead’s Fairfax Square store (Courtesy the company)

Shopping

Liljenquist & Beckstead

Washingtonians looking for beautiful custom-made pieces head here, which also offers a watch shop for repairs and cleanings.

A men's leather lace-up boot

(Courtesy Alden Shoes)

Shopping

Alden

Well-dressed Washingtonians rave about the handmade shell cordovans made by this East Coast company, which has also earned a reputation for spending lots of quality time with customers.

Star-Spangled Banner exhibit (Courtesy National Museum of American History)

Star-Spangled Banner exhibit (Courtesy National Museum of American History)

Attractions

American History Museum

This Smithsonian is chockablock with inspiring stories, even fashion. For a sartorial history lesson, head to “The First Ladies” exhibit on the third floor. Here, find more than two dozen gowns worn by presidential wives (even some daughters and nieces), plus accessories like beaded bags and satin pumps.

The food court and upper levels of the mall

(Courtesy Fashion Centre at Pentagon City)

Shopping

Fashion Centre at Pentagon City

Newly remodeled, this mall is easily accessed via the Pentagon City Metro stop, which delivers shoppers directly into the shopping center. A soaring atrium with skylights brighten a large food court, while popular retail fronts like Forever 21, Free People, Michael Kors, Stuart Weitzman and Zara line several stories.

Mannequin display in Hu's Wear

(©Cade Martin)

Shopping

Hu's Wear

Owner Marlene Hu Aldaba has earned a reputation for having an eye for unusual, yet timeless style. Pop in here for clean-lined edgy looks from Helmut Lang, Isabel Marant and Veronique Branquinho, and be sure to check the shop’s equally well-curated sales.

POV

(Daniel Swartz, Courtesy W Hotel)

Nightlife

POV

The rooftop lounge at the W Hotel offers one of the best views of DC. Reserve a table to ensure you get to enjoy those views, and dress to impress on the weekend after 9 pm.

D.C. storefront

(Courtesy Sarar)

Shopping

Sarar

This 60-plus year old men’s and women’s wear company started out as a tailoring shop in Turkey. Today, the store outfits the fashionable in both classic and modern styles in outposts all over the world.

Storefront with window display

(©Elvert Barnes/Flickr, Creative Commons)

Shopping

Betsy Fisher

At this local fashion den, it’s all about that personal touch. Don’t be afraid to let the knowledgeable and welcoming staff take the lead, especially if you are looking for stylish work outfits and accessories.

Hillwood Estate

(©Maxwell MacKenzie 2014/Hillwood Estate, Museum & Gardens)

Attractions

Hillwood Estate, Museums and Gardens

Cereal heiress Marjorie Merriweather Post’s estate holds many treasures. But fashionistas will be particularly interested in her two closets, which feature a selection of her ample—and stylish—wardrobe through the years, plus her enviable lace collection.

Inside Tysons Galleria

(Courtesy Visit Fairfax)

Shopping

Tysons Galleria

Located across the way from Tysons Corner Center, this lap of luxury offers high-end designer shops from Chanel to Bottega Veneta, David Yurman, Saint Laurent and Prada, plus the only stand-alone J. Crew Men’s store in the area.

Shirts from Hugh & Crye's collection

(©justgrimes/Flickr, Creative Commons)

Shopping

Hugh & Crye

This local haberdasher offers shirts off the rack in 12 sizes, from athletic to lean in studio-like digs. Since staff can be in and out, call 202.250.3807, email service@hughandcrye.com or tweet @hughandcrye to let them know you’ll be stopping by.

Walls of ties and shirts organized by color

(Courtesy Suitsupply)

Shopping

Suitsupply

This Dutch retailer set up shop in hip Georgetown and quickly earned fans for its affordable Italian-style suits. Time your visit to weekdays before the evening rush, when the store tends to be less crowded.

Inside the rustic chic store

(Courtesy Billy Reid)

Shopping

Billy Reid

The Georgetown outpost is the Southern charmer’s only shop in the greater DC Metro area. In addition to beautifully made casual pieces, the store also offers made-to-measure shirts and suits on a second level.

Redeem

(Courtesy Redeem)

Shopping

Redeem

Owner Lori Parkerson’s 14th St. den stocks stylish duds from up-and-comers for men and women, plus some unisex pieces. Translation: tons of style that won’t break the bank.

A beaded choker necklace up close

(Courtesy Cultured Concepts)

Shopping

Cultured Concepts

This Old Town Alexandria, Virginia boutique feels like an artist’s studio where African trade beads, Japanese seed beads and sea glass form delicate, handmade jewelry.

Store window displaying women's shoes
Shopping

Hu's Shoes

Local stylists on the hunt for the latest and greatest in designer shoes often descend on Marlene Hu Aldaba’s Georgetown shop.

A display table full of gold necklaces, earrings and bracelets

(©Anne Kim-Dannibale)

Shopping

Bloom

Located a couple blocks north of the Dupont Circle Metro station, this boutique offers affordable on-trend earrings, necklaces and bracelets, and a selection of hand-made pieces from Turkish artisans.

Daoist priest's robe

Daoist priest’s robe (back), China, late 18th– early 19th century. 45.3 x 70.9 in. TM 51.24. Acquired by George Hewitt Myers in 1929. Image courtesy of The Textile Museum.

Attractions

George Washington University Museum and The Textile Museum

For a more in-depth and contextual look at the materials that make clothing, head here to glimpse intricately woven costumes dating to the Ming Dynasty in China, rare Kuna appliqué blouses from Mexico and embroidered kerchiefs from the Ottoman period.

Map of Top Destinations for Fashionistas in Washington, D.C.