By Kate Oczypok - 09/23/10 10:22 PM EDT
M29 LIFESTYLE – GEORGETOWNM29 Lifestyle has been open for a little more than six months, and Allyson Wilder, store manager, is ready for fall.
“In March, we sold a lot of cashmere and cozy knits, and I anticipate a lot of the same for this fall,” Wilder said.
M29 also sells Chan Luu leather wrap bracelets much like what celebrities Lady Gaga and Reese Witherspoon wear.
“They’re punky yet elegant,” Wilder said.
According to Wilder, scarves are always popular fall accessories with D.C. women. Many choose long ones they can drape or tie in creative ways.
Just steps from The Four Seasons in Georgetown, M29 is a partner with the hotel, and both are under the same ownership.
“Sometimes we get calls from the concierge asking if we have socks and ties,” Wilder said. “I remember one day we put cufflinks on a man right in the store.”
Wilder lived in New York before moving to D.C., working in textiles for John Robshaw, managing fabrics and his showroom. It was there she met someone directly involved with Strategic Hotels and Resorts who owns M29 (which partners with The Four Seasons in operating the store) who asked Wilder if she was interested in the store concept.
“I told her I’d love to,” Wilder said. “I knew it was for me.”
M29 Lifestyle is open seven days per week, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Saturday and from noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday.
GINGER – BETHESDAGretchen Hitchner knows what women on Capitol Hill wear — she once was one herself. Before opening Ginger, Hitchner was press secretary for Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.). After spending nine years on Capitol Hill, Hitchner got involved with the Alexandria boutique Periwinkle with co-owner Elizabeth Mason. After working with Periwinkle for a while, Hitchner sold her share and opened Ginger in April 2008.
“It was a fun way to totally switch careers,” said Hitchner, clad in skinny jeans and a bright, printed tunic. “I’ve always loved to shop for people and help people buy clothes.”
Ginger’s space on Bethesda Row’s pedestrian-only street Bethesda Lane is bright and airy, with plenty of pinks and greens to lighten your mood as you browse their racks.
Particular accessories that stand out on Ginger’s racks for this fall season are gold-and-leather cuffs that are reminiscent of something Madonna would wear.
“Women in D.C. love their jeans,” Hitchner said. “This fall, it will be a little more skinny or straighter leg jeans with slouchy sweaters.”
Hitchner also commented on D.C. women’s love of trendy, flattering pieces while holding up a soft and cozy-looking cashmere gray shawl. “This fall, there will be a lot of snuggling clothes like this.”
Hitchner walked around the store, pointing out other crucial fall essentials. Ginger currently has a snow leopard dress perfect for pairing with leggings, plenty of studded and military-inspired pieces and also hand-screened scarves an Indian woman from New York City makes.
“We sell casual, fun, meet your girlfriends or go to soccer or football games in clothes,” Hitchner said.
Ginger is open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday through Saturday and from noon to 6 p.m. on Sundays.
MINT CONDITION – ALEXANDRIA
Consignment shop Mint Condition, located in Old Town, Alexandria, boasts having top labels without having to spend designer dollars.
Owner Toni Henderson began taking fall merchandise for consignment in late August, and is already seeing plenty of draped, longer tops perfect with leggings and lots of chunky knit sweaters with skinny jeans
Whereas many retail shops switch to fall clothing early, Mint Condition and other consignment shops are more for “people looking for something to wear that weekend,” Henderson said.
While M29 strictly sells women’s clothing, Henderson said that it is a great place for men to shop for their girlfriends and wives.
“We sell designer on-trend looks for one-third of retail prices,” Henderson said.
Henderson is particularly excited about the great boots arriving at the shop. Frye boots, with their comfy, worn-in styles, are for sale as well as dressier shoe styles perfect for upcoming holiday parties.
Mint Condition also recently began working with Queen Bee jewelry, a jewelry designer from Alexandria. Prices begin at about $30 and styles include earrings, bracelets and necklaces.
“The pieces are perfect as presents for the upcoming holiday season,” Hitchner said.
Mint Condition is closed Mondays, open Tuesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m.