A lot of people ask me about the best places to shop for clothing in Washington, DC. Â Below is my rudimentary attempt to provide a "best of the best" shopping guide to DC's brick-and-mortar stores, divided into types of clothing, shopping areas, and sales. Â In compiling this list, I have placed emphasis on value, selection, and accessibility, in that order. Â I will be the first to acknowledge that the list is extremely subjective, as it reflects my idiosyncratic personal tastes, and likely to engender heated debate. Â I hope that other members will add their thoughts on these stores, and stores in their hometowns, to the point where this thread may be a candidate for HOF. Without further ado . . . Suits Gold: Â Filene's Basement (Connecticut Avenue, Mazza Gallerie). Â A consistently excellent selection (always lots of Oxxford and Corneliani) makes Filene's Basement, particularly the Connecticut Avenue location, the easy top choice. Â FB is always getting shipments from high-end stores, so it makes sense to check here often. Silver: Â Off Fifth (Leesburg Corner Center). Â Selection is a bit thinner and more inconsistent than FB, but prices are generally lower as well. Â As with all outlet stores, finding something is a hit-or-miss proposition, but when it's a hit, it's a bulls-eye. Â A fairly lengthy drive from the DC area. Bronze: Â Brooks Brothers (Connecticut Avenue, Mazza Gallerie). Â A bit staid for some, but the Golden Fleece suits are excellent, and a good value if you can get them during one of BB's numerous sales. Dress shirts Gold: Â Neiman-Marcus (Mazza Gallerie, Tyson's Corner). Â Neiman-Marcus is very strong for dress shirts, featuring brands such as Turnbull & Asser, Brioni, Borrelli, Lorenzini, and others. Â Wait for the Last Call sale. Silver: Â Thomas Pink (Connecticut Avenue, Tyson's Corner). Â I might get flamed for this, but I like Pink shirts -- like a poor man's Turnbull & Asser. Â Only buy these on sale. Bronze: Â Brooks Brothers (Connecticut Avenue, Mazza Gallerie). Â A good selection of standard American dress shirts, reasonably priced. Ties Gold: Â Neiman-Marcus (Mazza Gallerie, Tyson's Corner). Â NM shines in this area as well, with a great selection featuring Brioni, Kiton, Charvet, and Turnbull & Asser, among others. Â Very reasonably priced during the sales. Silver: Â Nordstrom (Tyson's Corner, Pentagon City). Â Great place if you like Robert Talbott, particularly during the half-yearly sales. Â Â Bronze: Â Barney's New York Outlet (Leesburg Corner Center). Â Great selection, although a little bit far to drive for ties unless you're already in the area. Shoes Gold: Â Nordstrom (Tyson's Corner, Pentagon City). Â By far the best shoe selection of any department store in the DC area, Nordstrom provides the entire range of one's footwear needs. Â The half-yearly sales are a good opportunity to pick up shoes at a good price, but I didn't find any models I liked at the most recent sale. Silver: Â Sky Valet (Georgetown). Â The best selection of high-end footwear in the DC area, featuring Weston, Vass, and Alden, among others. Â Owners are very nice and helpful. Â Store is a bit of a hike from the heart of Georgetown. Bronze: Â Brooks Brothers (Connecticut Avenue, Mazza Gallerie). Â A nice selection of Alfred Sargent and Alden made shoes at an attractive price during the sales. Sportswear Gold: Â Relish (Georgetown). Â Who needs Louis Boston? Â Newcomer Nancy Pearlstein (her previous store sold only womens clothing) shoots to the top of the list with a sensational selection (Martin Margiela, Dries Van Noten, Commes des Garcons, among others) that pushes the envelope of what men in DC can be wearing, but never too far. Â Nancy told me that she was the only person crazy enough to buy Dries' entire F/W collection. Â If that is craziness, I don't want to be sane. Â Her half-yearly sale is great, too. Silver: Â Saks Fifth Avenue (Mazza Gallerie). Â Sportswear is where Saks shines, with adventurous buyers that put competitor Neiman-Marcus to shame. Â Going for breadth rather than depth, Saks' selection ranges from Hugo Boss and John Varvatos to DSquared and Issey Miyake. Â The Act sales (currently ongoing) is much more impressive than Last Call as well. Selection is not as nice at Saks' Tyson's Corner location. Bronze: Â Loehmann's (Mazza Gallerie). Â The selection tends toward the conservative (Zegna, Fred Perry, Polo), and as an outlet store, requires consistent monitoring. Â Nevertheless, I have found excellent pieces from companies such as Corneliani and CP Company that make this store worth checking out. Shopping Areas Gold: Â Mazza Gallerie (Friendship Heights metro station). Â With Neiman-Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue, Filene's Basement, Loehmann's, and Brooks Brothers all in close proximity, this area edges out Connecticut Avenue. Silver: Â Connecticut Avenue (Farragut North metro station). Â Worth the trip for the best Filene's Basement alone. Â Brooks Brothers, Alden, Allen Edmonds, J. Press, and Church's are all a stone's throw away. Bronze: Â Tyson's Corner. Â Huge shopping metropolis covering two separate malls in the Virginia 'burbs that includes Bloomingdale's, Nordstrom, Neiman-Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue. Best Sales Gold: Â Relish Half-Yearly sale. Â Why does Relish top this list? Â For the simple reason that it is much more difficult to find good sportswear on sale than good dresswear on sale. Â I suffered sensory overload the first time I went to this sale. Â So much stuff, so little money . . . Silver: Â Saks Fifth Avenue Act sales. Â Much better than Last Call for the reason above and deeper discounts. Bronze: Â Nordstrom Half-Yearly sale. Â Good for jeans and shoes. Please add your thoughts.
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1/17/05 at 7:46pm