D.C., You’ve Got Style
Monuments, museums and go-go — three things that might pop in your head when you think of Washington, D.C. But after reading what local style blogger Andrea Browne of Stylin’ & Profilin’ had to say about the emerging style culture in the DMV (D.C., Maryland and Virginia), you just might add stylish to the list.
Served by six routes, D.C. is a mid-Atlantic city with — as Andrea puts it — a “burgeoning, eclectic and urban” stylish way about it. We think The District could be a great stop for your next deal-finding, shop-till-you-drop weekend. But don’t take our word for it. Read on to see Andrea’s tips for a visit to her hometown.
Amtrak: What do you love about D.C.’s style?
Andrea: I love that D.C. is becoming more known for its style scene. There are so many fashion-related events that happen here now that wouldn’t have 10 years ago. Yes, this is a government town. But when it comes to fashion there is so much more to this area than just black and grey suits, and business separates.
Since the city has become more transient over the years, it’s sort of turned into a melting pot of style — from preppy to hipster to boho chic to minimalist to sophisticated glamour. You’ll see lots of mixing-and-matching of trendy and conservative pieces that can easily go from the office to happy hour with a simple change of accessories.
Some of our Amtrak riders like to get the local experience when they travel. As a D.C. native, name a few of the local shops you like to frequent.
I’m all about finding a great fashion bargain. That’s why Gossip on 23rd in Crystal City is one of my favorite clothing boutiques. Everything is under $100. If you want to add a few trendy pieces to your wardrobe but don’t want to spend a lot, it’s the place to go.
If you love affordable jewelry and accessories, then you must visit one of the Lou Lou shops here in the D.C. area. They have a fabulous array of statement necklaces, bracelets, earrings, and cocktail rings. The shop also has a vast collection of handbags, from minaudieres to tote bags.
The DMV is full of unique neighborhoods. But Georgetown isn’t the only one with shopping. Name a few that are great for finding one-of-a-kind items.
There’s definitely more to the shopping scene here than Georgetown, which can be pricey for those who don’t want to spend a lot and skews more commercial than one-of-a-kind. I really like the Bethesda Row area in Maryland, specifically stores such as Mustard Seed, which is a consignment shop, and Francesca’s, an accessories boutique. In the U Street corridor in northwest Washington, Current Boutique is great if you’ve got a thing for secondhand designer finds at reasonable prices.
For those looking for a Washington-centric item to take home from their visit here, check out Eastern Market in Southeast D.C. near Capitol Hill on a Saturday or Sunday. There’s a food and arts flea market every weekend with dozens of local vendors that you can strike deal a with.
Budget is always on the minds of our readers. Do you have any tips on where to find great budget-friendly shopping in D.C.?
If you’re looking for something unique, the Washington area is home to a variety of flea and farmers markets that sell everything from food to clothing to art work to home decor items.
Also, take some time to explore places outside of downtown D.C. which is popular with tourists because of all the monuments. Shops and boutiques in that particular part of town tend to be a lot more expensive then those in the surrounding neighborhoods.
Whether you’re shopping solo or with your girls, it can take a lot out of you. What are a few of your favorite places to grab a drink or a bite to eat and recharge after a great day of shopping?
Ping Pong Dim Sum in Chinatown is one of my absolute favorite restaurants to grab a quick bite without spending a fortune. Their happy hour menu pricing is one of the best in the city. They serve small plates, so you don’t have to worry about buying a huge dish of food you don’t end up eating. If you’re looking for more of a sit-down brunch or dinner vibe, Founding Farmers is delicious.
What else would you like our readers to know about planning a shopping-centric Amtrak adventure?
Definitely perform some due diligence and research the entire area you plan to visit before your trip — especially if you’re coming to a major city such as Washington, D.C. You’ll likely find that there are plenty of hidden retail and restaurant gems in the neighboring areas that are more budget-friendly and not too far away.
I’d also recommend checking out some of the local newspapers’ and magazines’ lifestyle blogs that post reviews of restaurants, retail shops, music performances, and museum exhibits. I’m a big fan of Washingtonian.com’s Shop Around and Best Bites blogs, City Paper’s Arts Desk blog and Washingtonpost.com’s Going Out Guide.
Are you a frequent rider with tips on how to find great deals in D.C.? Tell us about your Amtrak adventures to The District in the comment section below.