My Five Essential Shopping Spots For The DC Area Fashionista
by ATFDC Contributor Sophie-Marie
This week, I will be sharing with you some my favourite spots in the DC area (Maryland) to shop for amazing clothes, fulfill my shoe addiction, and treat myself to a little beauty.
Sephora at Montgomery Mall (7101 Democracy Boulevard):
What’s so special about a famous chain? I’ll tell you: this specific store is arguably the best in the area. The staff is extremely friendly, very helpful, and most importantly, very patient. A while ago I had a very visible skin problem and I needed a foundation to cover it. However, anyone who knows me knows I am very difficult to satisfy (the word Diva has been used more than once, but I don’t mind). That day, I wanted a compact foundation that would 1) match my light skin, 2) provide perfect coverage, 3) stay in place all-day (I’m French, so I do the bise, or kiss-on-both-cheeks a lot. There’s nothing more horrific than the moment when you notice you left a trace of foundation on the cheek of the person you just kissed, especially if their skin is darker than yours). I spent a total of two hours in that make-up chair and tried two dozens of foundations before finding my match. Ever since, I love those guys at Sephora Montgomery mall. As in, I’m thinking of sending them cupcakes. Or some of my home-made macarons.
The Rockville Pike Outlets:
Ross (12270 Rockville Pike)
Marshalls (12059 Rockville Pike)
I discovered outlet shopping when I was in high school, trying many different styles to see which one would be the best. Don’t misunderstand me, I like boutique and department store shopping, but I enjoy the variety that outlets have to offer, as much as the small prices. And I think the quality of the items depends highly on the store’s location. At the Rockville outlets, I’ve scored many delights, including a beautiful lace cocktail dress, amazing shoes, and lots of good-quality handbags. (No, no, I repeat, I am NOT praising those stores because of the VERY handsome security guard at Ross. No. Absolutely not!) For those who are on a small clothing allowance but don’t want to go thrifting, it may be a good alternative: nothing has been already worn, you can get wardrobe basics and designer finds, and many different styles since the items come from a multitude of stores.
Also, if you’re into customizing your items (or knitting and crochet, which can result in very beautiful scarves), you should visit AC Moore (12013 Rockville Pike). It’s on the same lot than Marshalls, and walking through the aisles can be very inspiring (For example, covering a pair of classic pumps with red glitter, à la Dorothy in Wizard of Oz…)
DSW Democracy Boulevard (10400 Old Georgetown Rd Bethesda, MD 20814)
If like me, you’re a shoe addict, this place is Heavens. It’s huge, practically a shopping mall, and full of shoes! And not the kind of shoe store where you can’t even find the right sizes in the right box. The staff will also go out of their ways to help you and if you’re very nice, you could get a small discount at their discretion! (This is not, I repeat, not an admission that the security guards here are hot too, but if they were, hypothetically… what’s with me and men in uniform?!)
Nails by Sean (144 Congressional Lane, Rockville).
This place is by far my favourite when it comes to beauty treatments. Their friendly, expert staff takes excellent care of me; always with a smile even when the little Diva in me starts peeking out (I’ve changed my mind six times once for a nail polish color). They took care of a ghastly toenail problem that I won’t name here but that is the consequence of wearing tight, painful high-heeled shoes bought from the aforementioned Shoe Heaven, and in no time, I was pain free!
Also, their waxing services are very good. They respect hygiene rules (a must!) and take things very slowly to avoid you unnecessary pain (as opposed to other places where the aestheticians remove your hair fast and brutally so they can get to the next customer).
They take walk-ins most of the time, although they do have a reputation of not being very punctual with appointments. But that’s only a detail. I highly recommend Sue; she is by far their most skilled aesthetician.
Derm Esthetics (6410 Rockledge Drive, Suite 402, Bethesda)
When it comes to issues that are right on your face, remnants of puberty or symptoms of stress, it isn’t just your appearance that is threatened, but your beauty, your self-confidence, and your entire self. (#Major lie: “True beauty is on the inside”. Yeaaah… right. Still, when I’ll have daughters, I’ll be telling them that.) My point is, you can’t do just anything with your beauty. You need to put it in good hands. This is when those guys come in. I’ve seen a lot of dermatologists in the area, but no one has the expertise of Derm Esthetics’ staff (I’ve been seeing Doctor O’Neil). They listen to your concerns instead of just slapping a prescription at you. To tell you my miracle story more specifically: I’ve been on Accutane for eight months now. The aforementioned skin condition began to heal during the first ten days of my treatment. No scarring, which is unbelievable since my skin is very light and sensitive. And I am currently wearing pressed powder, which is the smallest amount of make-up I’ve ever worn.
PAs are highly skilled to give cortisone shots (I’ve had a lot, without the creasing or indentation that is a common side-effect) and blood-tests (small word of advice: don’t take with you the friend or relative who will start humming the theme to Jaws when the needle is approaching you). The secretaries are also very friendly (I LOVE being complimented on my outfit and my nail polish!). If you freak out because you wake up one morning with a huge zit on your forehead, they will try their best to give you an appointment on the same day (Yes, I’ve done that a lot… Divaaa!!!).
Sophie-Marie was born in a small French-speaking Mediterranean country and moved to the DC area in 2006. In 2010, she started her freshman year of college at NYU in Paris and then took a gap year during which she used her free time to blog (http://sonushka.com) and cultivate herself as much as possible. History, languages, film, anything about the 1950s and before, literature (19th century French Romanticism is my favourite), opera, are among the many things that inspire her and her style. Follow her on twitter @miss_