post #1 of 1
Thread Starter 
A lot of people ask me about the best places to shop for clothing in Washington, DC.  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.  In compiling this list, I have placed emphasis on value, selection, and accessibility, in that order.  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.  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:  Filene's Basement (Connecticut Avenue, Mazza Gallerie).  A consistently excellent selection (always lots of Oxxford and Corneliani) makes Filene's Basement, particularly the Connecticut Avenue location, the easy top choice.  FB is always getting shipments from high-end stores, so it makes sense to check here often. Silver:  Off Fifth (Leesburg Corner Center).  Selection is a bit thinner and more inconsistent than FB, but prices are generally lower as well.  As with all outlet stores, finding something is a hit-or-miss proposition, but when it's a hit, it's a bulls-eye.  A fairly lengthy drive from the DC area. Bronze:  Brooks Brothers (Connecticut Avenue, Mazza Gallerie).  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:  Neiman-Marcus (Mazza Gallerie, Tyson's Corner).  Neiman-Marcus is very strong for dress shirts, featuring brands such as Turnbull & Asser, Brioni, Borrelli, Lorenzini, and others.  Wait for the Last Call sale. Silver:  Thomas Pink (Connecticut Avenue, Tyson's Corner).  I might get flamed for this, but I like Pink shirts -- like a poor man's Turnbull & Asser.  Only buy these on sale. Bronze:  Brooks Brothers (Connecticut Avenue, Mazza Gallerie).  A good selection of standard American dress shirts, reasonably priced. Ties Gold:  Neiman-Marcus (Mazza Gallerie, Tyson's Corner).  NM shines in this area as well, with a great selection featuring Brioni, Kiton, Charvet, and Turnbull & Asser, among others.  Very reasonably priced during the sales. Silver:  Nordstrom (Tyson's Corner, Pentagon City).  Great place if you like Robert Talbott, particularly during the half-yearly sales.    Bronze:  Barney's New York Outlet (Leesburg Corner Center).  Great selection, although a little bit far to drive for ties unless you're already in the area. Shoes Gold:  Nordstrom (Tyson's Corner, Pentagon City).  By far the best shoe selection of any department store in the DC area, Nordstrom provides the entire range of one's footwear needs.  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:  Sky Valet (Georgetown).  The best selection of high-end footwear in the DC area, featuring Weston, Vass, and Alden, among others.  Owners are very nice and helpful.  Store is a bit of a hike from the heart of Georgetown. Bronze:  Brooks Brothers (Connecticut Avenue, Mazza Gallerie).  A nice selection of Alfred Sargent and Alden made shoes at an attractive price during the sales. Sportswear Gold:  Relish (Georgetown).  Who needs Louis Boston?  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.  Nancy told me that she was the only person crazy enough to buy Dries' entire F/W collection.  If that is craziness, I don't want to be sane.  Her half-yearly sale is great, too. Silver:  Saks Fifth Avenue (Mazza Gallerie).  Sportswear is where Saks shines, with adventurous buyers that put competitor Neiman-Marcus to shame.  Going for breadth rather than depth, Saks' selection ranges from Hugo Boss and John Varvatos to DSquared and Issey Miyake.  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:  Loehmann's (Mazza Gallerie).  The selection tends toward the conservative (Zegna, Fred Perry, Polo), and as an outlet store, requires consistent monitoring.  Nevertheless, I have found excellent pieces from companies such as Corneliani and CP Company that make this store worth checking out. Shopping Areas Gold:  Mazza Gallerie (Friendship Heights metro station).  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:  Connecticut Avenue (Farragut North metro station).  Worth the trip for the best Filene's Basement alone.  Brooks Brothers, Alden, Allen Edmonds, J. Press, and Church's are all a stone's throw away. Bronze:  Tyson's Corner.  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:  Relish Half-Yearly sale.  Why does Relish top this list?  For the simple reason that it is much more difficult to find good sportswear on sale than good dresswear on sale.  I suffered sensory overload the first time I went to this sale.  So much stuff, so little money . . . Silver:  Saks Fifth Avenue Act sales.  Much better than Last Call for the reason above and deeper discounts. Bronze:  Nordstrom Half-Yearly sale.  Good for jeans and shoes. Please add your thoughts.