Rainy Day Retail Therapy in Alexandria VA
It was a cold and dreary Wednesday and my husband had some business in Alexandria, Virginia so I tagged along to hit up a few of my favorite shops. It had been a while since I visited Hysteria Boutique, so I dashed in out of the rain to see what was new. The shop, occupying a charming historic townhouse, has changed owners several times over the past few years so I was curious to see what was new with the most recent proprietor. While keeping the bright green wall paint, name and logo, the new owner has created a very welcoming atmosphere and made some changes in merchandising and brand selection. She stocks basics from Rhode Island based knitwear brand Tyler Boe, known for their preppy sweaters, denim by DL1961, silk dresses by Amanda Uprichard and statement pieces from Rachel Zoe, Tory Burch, Nicole Miller and DVF. Her assortment leans on the conservative side to fit the DC area mindset of the sharp dressed, classically feminine woman.
I chatted with her about her acquisition of the business, plans to move into the space directly next door for a better layout and window frontage, and about showcasing her fall collections in my Strut & Sip for Autism Fashion Show. The super friendly former manager popped in to try on a pair of skinny jeans that did wonders for her long legs and the three of us discussed whether she should bring in J Brand, a personal favorite denim of mine and every other fashionista on the planet. She was also mulling over whether to carry Mother jeans and I offered my two cents that she should try a few styles as they are a very hot new label and are hard to come by which is what a boutique shopper truly appreciates.
After settling on a long sleeve plum dress from Amanda Uprichard and braided rose gold hoop earrings, I bid farewell to the shop owner and her darling mascot pup and headed to The Shoe Hive, that moved from its previous location one block over and is now located directly next door.
A courtyard offsets the entry to this converted townhouse shop, a common shop feature in Historic Alexandra. I love the assortment of practical yet super stylish shoes offered by this longtime Old Town staple. Never overly embellished and fussy, their spring assortment was just what I love ~ well cut shoes with clean lines that can take you from day to night with ease. Stocking everything from Hunter Boots and Italian sneakers by Superga (love!) to fantastic offerings from Tory Burch, Kate Spade and Sam Edelman, you simply cannot go wrong. Their well edited selection of handbags and jewelry round out the offerings. I picked up a gold link bracelet for fun and fell in love with a saddle brown ankle strap heel by Aerin, that unfortunately was not available in my size. They tried to track down a pair for me unsuccessfully, but were quick and pleasant in their response. I plan to be back when my husband and little one are not hovering outside in the car!
It was time to call it quits on the shopping, so armed with a coupon graciously bestowed by the owner of Hysteria, we headed to Virtue Feed & Grain. The Industrial space once served as a feed house for livestock coming into port, thus the name. The ambitious menu was a nice change of pace to the typical taverns that seem to populate touristy spots such as these. We settled into a cozy booth and warmed up over beef stew, french country roasted chicken, and a tangy saute of brussel sprouts and leeks. It was an unexpected and delightful way to spend a chilly, rainy day.