To use up the time before I met H and The Beans for an early dinner, I wandered the Friendship Heights stores. I had one quick errand to run at Bloomingdale's (that turned into 2, don't they always?), then I stopped in some of the DC staples stores, just to see what the hyped brands offered that wasn't expected. Some unexpected pieces, and some reminders about what I love: poppy, teal, stripes, and tweed and bouclé. Oh, the bouclé.
Talbot's - Yes. Their ads have been eye-catching, especially for someone who tends towards the classic (like most of DC). So I wondered if they'd really gone from frumpy to fabulous.
The Verdict? Some definite options. Reasonably well made versions of basic styles and silhouettes, just like you'd expect, hung on the racks. Some still veered to the Chico's side of things, at least in my head. I don't think I'll ever really like a long, belted sweater jacket or a drapey shawl collared cape/cardigan/wrap.
What Tempted Me: I desperately want a Little Corduroy Jacket. And they have nice ones. But I'm just not slender enough yet for me to wear it happily. Next year. Oh! And they have a red sheath dress that just might be a replacement for My Favorite Suit That The Drycleaner Ruined. I saw it in an InStyle fall issue 10 years ago, and rushed to the store to buy it for my new job. It wasn't in stores yet. It was the first time I had a store call me when something arrived.
J. Crew - Here I found more of what you'd expect, with a return to some of the old-school preppy basics, like rugby-stripe Ts (for which I might just have an addiction, as they could supplant the out-of-reach Michael Kors version I'm coveting).
The Verdict? There are some fun pieces, as well as some basics, mostly well-made and often worth the money (to spend on a basic, or classic piece). They're clearly making their decades-old model work. I was lucky to overhear one of the (I'll assume) veteran stylists (?) explaining their merchandising strategy to a newer hire: make sure you mix a striped/patterned top into a wall, along with multiple colors; for certain corners of the store, they key is for shoppers to know they're getting what they came for, like henleys or favorite T basics
What Tempted Me: Anything poppy, teal, or striped; a simple textured shirtdress; equestrian-inspired leggings (+ big sweater + boots, perhaps?); and a Cobain-inspired long flannel shirt that I pray I'll never buy because if I do, I'll be reliving a part of my life that doesn't need reliving.
LOFT - I've been lucky here recently, so I was hopeful. Never mind the bright poppy sheath in the window and main display.
The Verdict? I was disappointed. Despite those recent successes, I couldn't weed out anything interesting (perhaps summer was a better season for me) other than the poppy sheath, which was nowhere to be found in the store (I didn't have the energy to ask about it). The suiting had a sadly cheap hand, not what I've found recently, and the accessories were too predictable (pearls, chains, ribbons) to be worth the not-terribly-cheap price.
What Tempted Me: The Poppy Sheath