People have been shopping in Georgetown since colonial citizens bought tobacco and powdered wigs here in the 18th century. But these days, the District’s oldest hood (circa 1751) is looking downright modern with an influx of new national, international and local retailers setting up shop on its main drags, Wisconsin Avenue and M Street. “It’s been an explosion, with 25 to 30 stores opening since 2010,” says Nancy Miyahira, marketing director for the Georgetown Business Improvement District. “It’s a charming neighborhood as a backdrop.” Here’s the scoop on what’s new and what to watch for.
The Scoop: Since it takes its name from a playful type of chimpanzee, it’s not shocking that this Web power specializes in hipster spins on classic men’s wear: hot pink chinos ($88), Rat Pack-ish plaid ties and well-priced suits (starting at $437). This soon-to-open “guideshop” doesn’t sell off the rack, though: Instead, you set up a 45-minute appointment, then come in to be fitted. After you pay, goods are shipped to you free in one to two business days.
Upping the Authenticity: Expect Brooklyn-esque decor including vintage suitcases, typewriters and retro photos. You’ll be tempted to Instagram yourself while you’re here.
Size Wise: Hard-to-fit dudes will love this place: Bonobos can make pants in waist sizes from 28 to 40 and lengths from 30 to 36.
Details: Opens this month; 3320 Cady’s Alley; 877-294-7737, Bonobos.com
The Scoop: Think of this Spanish his-and-hers chain as Zara’s older, more sophisticated sib: The store is owned by the same mega company. On two posh-as-a-palazzo levels (creamy marble floors, library-ish wood shelves), nab work-to-weekend pieces such as leather skirts ($265) and natty men’s blazers ($200 and up), plus sleek shoes and bags.
Don’t miss: The life-size horse statue at the front of the store. (We’re dubbing him Massimo.)
Best bets: Knits for both donnas and dons; though many come at Zara price points ($100 for a sequined angora number), they’re higher in quality and often made in Europe, not China.
Details: 1220 Wisconsin Ave. NW; 202-944-8780
Scotch and Soda
The Scoop: Scotch & Soda resembles a Dutch J. Crew. The retailer combines European tailoring with luxe twists, meaning a white tweed biker jacket with leather sleeves for her ($398) and skinny jeans in loads of colors. This outpost sells only womenswear until mid-January, when men’s styles in a varsity-grows-up mood come in. The digs are also cool-kid: exposed brick walls, window panes turned into clothing racks and lots of exposed bronze hardware.
Best Bets: Comfy knits and pullovers, classic shirt dresses and distinctive jackets and blazers.
Fun Fact: This is just the third branch of the retailer in the U.S.
Details: 3029 M St. NW; 202-338-4090, Scotch-soda.com
Muleh Pop Up Shop
The Scoop: What began as an Indonesian decor store in Bethesda in 1999 has grown into a pair of haute womenswear and mod Asian furniture outposts in Logan Circle and New York City. Well, more like two and a half shops, considering this pop-up is scheduled to be open until April. Expect quality over quantity at the G-town space, since principal Chris Reiter stocks the tight squeeze with a curated stash: fur-lined Mulberry leather gloves ($300), Vivienne Westwood lamé dresses ($595), hanging lamps by Ango ($865).
Best Bets: Glitzy, party-ready frocks, glamorous accoutrement
Fun Fact: The shop is a mere 700 square feet, but Reiter makes the most of the space. All of the fixtures that display garments are available for purchase, and anything you don’t see on the floor can be ordered from either one of the other shops.
Details: 3319 Cady’s Alley NW; 202-333-0396, Muleh.com
The Scoop: Gant’s been making preppy shirts and sweaters for guys named Skip and Biff since 1947. But the all-Americana brand has recently branched out with edgy-yet-classic designs from Michael Bastian (blue camo cargo pants, slim-cut tweedy jackets) and a smattering of womenswear. The new M Street locale sets off all that collegiate style in a space with sweet-smelling (really!) wood floors and lots of hunky salesclerks.
Know That: All that tailoring and history doesn’t come cheap: Michael Bastian for Gant men’s jackets run more than $800; more basic Rugger jeans cost around $170 a pair.
Best For: Pieces that you’ll wear for so long that the CPW (cost per wear) is justified; unexpectedly forward-feeling women’s styles
Details: 3239 M St. NW; 202-625-1949; Gant.com
Coming This Year
Alex and Ani: Charm-decked bracelets, earrings and other costume bling will star at this jewelry trove. (3068 M St. NW)
Billy Reid: Heritage clothing for him and her (tweed blazers, oxford shirts) gets refined and really stylish thanks to this Alabama style maven. (3211 M St. NW)
Frye: Boots (above) and bags stomp into a historic redbrick structure. (1064-1066 Wisconsin Ave. NW)