On your inaugural trip to Alexandria, Virginia, you’ll think you’re on the road to nowhere. The GW Parkway leads you past Washington National Airport where you’ll see planes taking off dangerously close to your car, and a whole lotta nothing. Pretty soon though, a left turn here and right turn there transports you to a charming cobble-stoned town that’ll make you feel like you’ve time-traveled to Colonial Williamsburg, or better yet—Europe.
Here, a [cobble] stone’s throw from the water, and nestled amongst a host of family-owned business in historic buildings, you’ll find DC’s best vintage venue that’s not in DC: Pretty People. The name may have an air of exclusivity, but once inside, it’s anything but. You will be greeted by the store’s owner and sole buyer, Annie Lee, who casually sits behind the counter and helps customers pick out items as though she were any old shopgirl. In fact, she’s been featured in Lucky, InStyle, and countless other publications over the years for her extensive entrepreneurial knowledge of the fashion world. She’s even rubbed elbows with Victoria Beckham, Jessica Alba, and Nicole Richie, who were known to visit her famous first vintage boutique in Georgetown, Annie Creamcheese, due to its renowned reputation.
The Store: It’s clear that Annie’s latest venture is her real lovechild-- the favorite son. She treats each customer at Pretty People like a genuine friend, and flies all over the country in pursuit of the coolest, most unique and wear-worthy pieces to boast for said friends. Your shopping experience will be intimate and personal. The store is small and Annie is approachable, sweet, and full of sartorial knowledge-- you would be remiss to not engage in conversation while browsing.
The Wares: Inflated price tags are a pitfall of hyped vintage boutiques, but Pretty People breaks the mold in almost every way. We found gorgeous shift dresses with not a single imperfection for $30.00, and many a structured leather shoulder bag for $14.00. We're sure it won't be long before the same celebs start flocking to Alexandria to get their hands on Annie's latest finds-- even Victoria Beckham must like a bargain.
While You're There: Get lost walking the cozy Old Town streets. Make your way to The Shoe Hive, which is exactly what its name conjures-- a sweet boutique for stylish of-the-moment designer footwear; and don’t leave without at least peeking into the well-known An American in Paris, a high-high-end boutique that exudes Old World elegance. You won’t have any money left but at least you can feel the lux fabric between your fingers for a second. If the shopowner lets you, that is.
Transportation Note: You can avoid that initial 'where-am-I-going' car panic by simply taking the yellow metro line to the King Street stop. It lands you a few short walking blocks from our suggested destinations.