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Best of 2012: Shopping

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Shoe Store: Fleet Feet

An Adams Morgan mainstay since 1984, the athletic footwear emporium has amassed a loyal following of locals who look to the shop for sneakers from Adidas, Asics, New Balance and Mizuno, plus the running accoutrements to match. Weekly fun runs led by the knowledgeable staff ensure you’ll get plenty of use out of that new pair.

1st: Fleet Feet, 1841 Columbia Road NW; 202-387-3888. (Woodley Park)
2nd: Comfort One Shoes, multiple locations; 888-496-8733.
3rd: Sassanova, multiple locations; 1-866-271-7074.

Consignment Store: Current Boutique

Imagine an impeccably dressed friend opening the doors to her closet and telling you, “Have at it!” That’s what a trip to Current Boutique feels like. The resale shop, born in Clarendon and now with three more locations, sells new and gently worn brand-name dresses, work wear and accessories. “We look for quality items with good construction made with natural fabrics,” says owner Carmen Lopez. Expect gems such as DVF wrap dresses, Anthropologie sweaters and flirty frocks from Alice + Olivia.

1st: Current Boutique, multiple locations.
2nd: Mustard Seed, 7439 Wisconsin Ave., Bethesda; 301-907-4699. (Bethesda)
3rd: Secondi, 1702 Connecticut Ave. NW; 202-667-1122. (Dupont Circle)

Men’s Clothing: Streets of Georgetown

You see them everywhere: men in khakis and button-down shirts. While there’s nothing wrong with this tried-and-true look, Streets of Georgetown is out to revamp men’s style in D.C. one trim-fitted blazer at a time. Look for suits from Hickey Freeman, polos inspired by golf great Bobby Jones, and prep ties from Hart Schaffner Marx. For fellas who aren’t speaking our sartorial language, think of it as a mix between J. Crew and Brooks Brothers.

1st: Streets of Georgetown, 1254 Wisconsin Ave. NW; 202-295-9098.
2nd: Lost Boys, 1033 31st St. NW; 202-333-0093.
3rd: Universal Gear, 1529 14th St. NW; 202-319-0136.

Accessories: Lou Lou Boutique

If you’ve never been to Lou Lou Boutique, you may feel a bit overwhelmed on your first visit. (And how have you been getting dressed every morning?) The Virginia-born accessories shop, which has locations in the District and Maryland, is drenched in sophisticated baubles, bangles and rings in every color of the rainbow. Trying on the goods is encouraged and will make you feel like you’re playing an adult version of Pretty Pretty Princess.

1st: Lou Lou Boutique, multiple locations.
2nd: Proper Topper, 1350 Connecticut Ave. NW; 202-842-3055. (Dupont Circle)
3rd: Charm: 2910 M St. NW; 202-298-0420.

Women’s Clothing: Proper Topper

If the popularity of this Dupont boutique is any indication, little is a big hit. Owner Anna Fuhrman jam-packs her tiny store from floor to ceiling with quirky home goods, cooking curiosities and, obviously, hats from leading milliners around the world. But you’d be remiss to overlook the feminine dresses, tops and bottoms from such fancy-pants designers as Tracy Reese and Yoana Baraschi, which make up about one- third of the store’s stock.

1st: Proper Topper, 1350 Connecticut Ave. NW; 202-842-3055. (Dupont Circle)
2nd: Nana, 3068 Mt. Pleasant St. NW; 202-667-6955. (Columbia Heights)
3rd: Violet Boutique, 2439 18th St. NW; 202-621-9225. (Woodley Park)

Gift Shop: Pulp

Like falling headfirst into a humungous Christmas stocking, Pulp — now in its 10th year — engulfs you in trinkets and thingamabobs. The D.C.-themed gifts will make even the most serious wonks chuckle, while heartfelt and humorous greeting cards will help you convey exactly what you’re feeling. When asked what makes for the perfect gift, manager Raven Bradburn says, “Anything with a positive message. Or something so silly you can only think of one person for it.”

1st: Pulp, 1803 14th St. NW; 202-462-7857. (U Street)
2nd: National Building Museum Gift Shop, 401 F St. NW; 202-272-2448. (Judiciary Square)
3rd: Chocolate Moose, 1743 L St. NW; 202-463-0992. (Farragut North)

Local Hardware Store: Logan Hardware

DIY-ers and construction workers alike feel right at home at Logan Hardware. With more than 25,000 items in stock and staffers who go out of their way to help (one salesman escorted us to the second floor just to make sure we found the proper brass hook), it’s a locally owned, big-box alternative for your small-scale home improvement projects. Housed since 2003 in what was once a car dealership on P Street, this member of the Ace Hardware network remains a neighborhood favorite.

1st: Logan Hardware, 1416 P St. NW; 202-265-8900. (Dupont Circle)
2nd: Frager’s Hardware, 1115 Pennsylvania Ave. SE; 202-543-6157. (Eastern Market)
3rd: Community Forklift, 4671 Tanglewood Drive, Edmonston, Md.; 301-985-5180.

Specialty Food Store: Cowgirl Creamery

The first Cowgirl Creamery was born in 1997 in a tiny old barn about an hour north of San Francisco. The founders have D.C. roots, though: “The owners are originally from the D.C. area, so they wanted to set up a shop where they came from,” says Adam Smith, manager of the D.C. retail shop. You’ll find 60 to 80 varieties of cheese, including the slightly spicy Devil’s Gulch and a triple-cream dream known as Mt. Tam. The shop is more than just curds. “We have beer, wine and sandwiches during the day and pour-over coffee in the mornings,” Smith says.

1st: Cowgirl Creamery, 919 F St. NW; 202-393-6880. (Gallery Place)
2nd: Schneider’s of Capitol Hill, 300 Massachusetts Ave. NE; 202-543-9300. (Union Station)
3rd: Rodman’s, 5100 Wisconsin Ave. NW; 202-363-3466. (Friendship Heights)

Pet Store: Metro Mutts

District doggies and their obedient owners have loved Metro Mutts since 2009. Run by two husband-and-wife duos, the pet paradise caters to both canines and felines. In addition to all-natural chow from Versus and eco-friendly toys from Cycle Dog, both Capitol Hill locations offer dog walking and pet sitting for when you need a little time away from your best friend.

1st: Metro Muts, multiple locations.
2nd: The Big Bad Woof, multiple locations.
3rd: Doggy Style Bakery, Boutique and Pet Store, 1825 18th St. NW; 202-667-0595. (Dupont Circle)

Vintage Store: Miss Pixie’s

It’s hard to choose our favorite aspect of this 14th Street NW home goods store. It could be the quirky portraits for sale, the rare Hollywood Regency sofas you can score or the free mini-chocolate chip cookies Miss Pixie (aka Pixie Windsor) herself bakes fresh every morning. The shop replenishes its stock on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, so every week brings new finds. Expect items on the mod side of 20th-century style: “My favorite eras are the ’60s and ’70s,” says Windsor. “We also do a lot of industrial and mid-century pieces.”

1st: Miss Pixie’s, 1626 14th St. NW; 202-232-8171. (U Street)
2nd: Annie Creamcheese, closed, alas!
3rd: PollySue’s Vintage Shop, 6915 Laurel Ave., Takoma Park, Md.; 301-270-5511. (Takoma)

Home Store: Community Forklift

Resourceful DIY-ers adore this 34,000-square-foot warehouse of donated building materials and housewares. Set designers, too, we hypothesize — where else are you going to find a 1930s toilet? The Salvage Arts section, stocked with affordable vintage lab glass, light fixtures, blacksmith tools and more, makes the appalling prices of 1950s potato-chip tins on Fab and Etsy even more appalling. Forklift gives you a week to pick up your haul, so there’s time to borrow a long-suffering friend’s truck. H.J.M.

1st: Community Forklift, 4671 Tanglewood Drive, Edmonston, Md.; 301-985-5180.
2nd: Home Rule, 1807 14th St. NW; 202-797-5544. (U Street)
3rd: Home Goods, multiple locations.

Editor’s Pick—To Freshen Up Your Patriotism: Honest Abe’s Souvenir Shop

Do you have mints proclaiming your intention to vote for Romney or Obama? You need them. Don’t be deterred by the tourists and pick some up at Honest Abe’s Souvenir Shop in Penn Quarter.

Honest Abe’s Souvenir Shop, 1000 F St. NW; 202-783-0505. (Metro Center)