There was a time when no businessman or woman would have set foot outdoors without polished shoes; but today, even execs in starch and/or stockings seem to have lost the snap. Many hotel lobbies still have shoeshine stands, but even more comfy is the lunchtime/happy hour buffing. Here are a few restaurants, food courts and mall stops where you can perk up your peds, or even get a quick pre-party polish while doing your holiday shopping. Personally, I find sipping champagne while sitting in the window throne at McCormick & Schmick's quite the pick-me-up. Just remember, hours are somewhat flexible: When business is slow, the pro may pack up; on the other hand, some malls have extended holiday shopping hours, so shine on!
BALLSTON COMMON MALL -- 4238 Wilson Blvd., Arlington. Orlando's Shoe Shine, near the main entrance. Monday-Saturday, 10-9.
GEORGETOWN PARK -- M Street NW between Wisconsin and Prospect avenues. Executive Shoe Shine, in the lower lobby. Monday-Saturday 10-9; Sundays noon-6.
McCORMICK & SCHMICK'S -- 1652 K St. NW; 202-861-2233. Weekdays, 10-7ish.
NORDSTROM -- 7111 Democracy Blvd. (Montgomery Mall); Bethesda. Second floor near the west entrance stairs. Daily 10-9:30.
OLD EBBITT GRILL -- 675 15th St. NW; 202-347-4801. Daily, noon-9.
SHOPS AT NATIONAL PLACE -- 14th and F streets NW. Kiko's, street level near entrance (National Press Building end). Weekdays 8-5, Saturdays noon-6.
UNION STATION -- Massachusetts Avenue NW at Columbus Circle. Exclusive Shoe Shine (main level at Amtrak gates). Monday-Saturday 10-9; Sundays noon-6.
-- Eve Zibart