RUE 14: THE LOOK FOR LESS
Don't be deterred by the fact that this second-story boutique nodded to the fashionable French in choosing its name. Your dollar will go a lot further here than on the banks of the Seine.
Owners Jiwon Paik-Nguyen, 37, and her husband, Andrew Nguyen, 38, took over the former Pop space overlooking 14th Street NW armed with career experience at Ralph Lauren and Brooks Brothers and a shared eye toward trends. The airy, brightly lit boutique caters to men and women and houses a wallet-friendly selection of party dresses, comfy sweaters and fashion-forward denim from such brands as BB Dakota, Free People, Plastic Island and Penguin.
"I'm always looking for fun, stylish, trendy pieces that are at good price points and really represent the current season," Paik-Nguyen says.
"My favorite brands are Marc Jacobs, Chloe and Phillip Lim," she says, "and we want to cater to a mid-level price point but keep some of those designers' aesthetics."
With jeans starting at $68 and dresses at $65, this small store is a haven for shoppers who may be short on cash but not style sense.
-- Holly E. Thomas
The following items are available at Rue 14 (1803A 14th St. NW, 202-462-6200).
Christys' & Co. Crown Wool Felt Fedora
This 235-year-old London-based brand crafts hats from bowlers to newsboy caps, including a plaid topper ($58) that Andrew Nguyen says is a favorite among male and female shoppers.
Free People 'Twinkling Lights' Dress