Category Archives: Bloomers

Creature of habit

This one is for the ladies…

I am a creature of habit. Once I find a product that works for me and is convenient to acquire, I don’t often change my buying habit. Bras are a great example. For years I have purchased the same bra in various colors from Macy’s. Shopping for bras has to be at the top of a very short list of things I hate shopping for. Right next to bathing suits and mattresses. Bra shopping at a big box store is particularly horrible, but once I knew what size and brand worked for me, I would simply run in and grab what I needed and run back out. Luckily, since moving to Old Town, my bra shopping experience has changed. I’ll be honest, I am a tiny lady. Support is not what I am after so much as “enhancement.” Last week, I stopped into Bloomers on my way to Mishas for coffee, of course, and was delighted with what I found. For full bra fittings, Bloomers will suggest that you hit the Full Cup (a shop whose name implies that I might not find too many options, although I plan to check it out). But Bloomers’ incredibly helpful staffperson had me put on a couple of bras so that she could check the fit and help me figure out exactly what size I am. The shop has two companies in particular that are great for the “wee ladies:” Wacoal and Itty Bitty Bra. They both offer “enhancement” and make a nice looking bra with cute little lace accents or a smoother model for wear under sheer fabrics.

I have to say that the customer service alone was enough to get me to change my shopping habits. When was the last time that I had someone help me find the right bra size while shopping at the mall? It is amazing how fast and convenient shopping at a boutique is when you can get some help with your selection! I was also excited to find new brands that I haven’t seen before.  All in all, I spent a total of 10 minutes in the shop and had found a new bra line and figured out my real bra size and purchased one bra and ordered two more in another color. Not too bad for a coffee break…

The Perfect Shopping Saturday

I have lived in the DC area for nearly seven years. Yet, even though I am admittedly a shopaholic, it is a rare weekend that I ever venture outside of Old Town Alexandria. Why should I? A quick jaunt through the Old Town Boutique District always meets my shopping needs.

When you can find a dress straight from this season’s runway at a boutique like Treat or Hysteria and a pair of handmade leather heels from an exclusive Italian designer at Shoe Hive, the argument for getting in my car to drive 20 minutes on the beltway to a shopping mall or to head to Georgetown to fight for parking suddenly loses credulity.

I am not lazy. As the owner of a new small business, I work crazy hours and am glued to my Blackberry and laptop. My weekends are much coveted free time to hang out with my husband and relax.

For me, there’s nothing better on a Saturday morning than rolling out of bed, hopping on my Dutch-style bicycle, and heading to Old Town for the Farmer’s Market followed by an afternoon of shopping in the hidden gems of the city’s boutiques.

So, over the past two Saturdays, I formulated a mini quest to chart out the perfect shopping Saturday in the Old Town Boutique District. I had intended to do this in one day. Yet, I was faced with the difficulty of this venture by its sheer magnitude because there are 28 shops in the Old Town Boutique District.

I love the idea of shopping local, both to support the city’s economy and to explore the unknown within the familiar. I’m always amazed at the selection of unique design, impeccable craftsmanship, and sheer variety available with the shops that comprise the Old Town Boutique District.

Combining data from my two samples, here is my personal ideal shopping Saturday in the Old Town Boutique District. Since I am a fashion addict, this list is exclusively clothing and accessory-related, and covers only a small fraction of the other shops in this group. There is no purchase necessary on my Saturday agenda, as most of the fun (and hence angst for my husband) is in wandering around to discover things.

  • Begin with a leisurely coffee at Grape and Bean.
  • Get a designer consignment fix at either Mint Condition or Diva.
  • Browse finds from this season’s sample sales at Treat.
  • Wander up King St to stock up on makeup and beauty products at Bellacara, then check out lingerie and sleepwear at Bloomer’s (secret: it’s also the best place in the DC area to find Spanx).
  • Walk down to Arts Afire or Fibre Space to admire their handcrafted goods.
  • Heading back down King St, saunter down St Asaph St to look in window of Fitness on the Run in order to contemplate whether or not to trade in gym membership for a private studio.
  • While pondering fitness goals, go to Red Barn Mercantile to browse their quirky and unique home furnishings.
  • Favoring the fitness value of walking via window shopping, walk five blocks to S. Fairfax St. to check out selection of designer clothes at Hysteria.
  • Walk a quarter of a block south into a cute little brick courtyard to admire (and inevitably try on) shoes from familiar and little known designers at Shoe Hive.
  • Finally, drag tired feet a few more blocks north and then east to buy a much-deserved piece of dark chocolate or other sweet treat from The Sugar Cube.

My next quest? To tackle La Cuisine and their myriad of cooking resources.