When you want to add some sizzle to your same-old, same-old staid wardrobe -- be it a velvet evening coat, a one-of-a-kind dressy handbag or a hat that says "I've got attitude" -- Old Town Alexandria's Hysteria is the place to find it.
Once a shoebox-size boutique that served as a showcase for shoes by the likes of Cynthia Rowley , as well as handbags by Isabella Fiore and Lulu Guinness, the mission to offer customer service with a unique mix of merchandise has remained the same. "We began selling clothing one item at a time, as just a sideline to our accessories," said Courtney Reynolds, Hysteria's manager and co-owner. "But our customers asked for more diversity. The demand has been so great, we needed more room."
Look for lines like Trina Turk, Milly, Lela Rose and Chaiken, as well as a selection of fine jewelry from chandelier earrings to chunky rings with citrine stones. You can stock up on staples like Petit Bateau T-shirts and LaCoste polos, find a one-of-a-kind handbag by Pennsylvania designer Hollis Eames or a velvet evening coat. (Don't shop here for a pair of black stretch pants you could find more cheaply at Banana Republic.) The larger boutique retains the signature lime green environment and friendly buzzing bumblebee at the new location while favorite shoes such as sandals from Jackie Rogers and Sigerson Morrison heels will be at the Shoe Hive, which opened at the South Royal location.
-- Janet Bennett