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The coming of DSW to Columbia Heights in late 2012 caused much rejoicing among the shoe people.


DSW, aka Designer Shoe Warehouse, is a no-frills, shoe lover’s paradise. Who needs frills when you’ve got Bandolino and Calvin Klein at a fraction of the cost? DSW’s rows upon rows of discounted pumps, loafers and espadrilles remind us of, well, a warehouse. And footwear isn’t its sole purpose: The national chain also sells designer handbags and accessories on the cheap. E.B.
Multiple locations;
2nd: Nordstrom, multiple locations;
3rd: Nordstrom Rack, multiple locations;

Women’s Apparel

At Current, you’re just as likely to find a pristine Emilio Pucci frock as you are the discontinued dress from Anthropologie you always kicked yourself for not buying when you had the chance. The variety combined with the quality is what makes this resale boutique — which also stocks a smartly curated selection of new items — such a gem. Turnover is high, so learn from past mistakes and grab that something that catches your eye before it’s too late. H.S.
Multiple locations;
2nd: Nordstrom Rack, multiple locations;
3rd: Loft, multiple locations;

Men’s Apparel

This department store may not have the cheapest threads among the national chains, but it inspires a devoted following. Suits run the gamut from store-brand John W. Nordstrom to pricey options such as Hickey Freeman and Zegna. An on-site tailor will take care of most alterations for free. Add a reputation for impeccable customer service and what may be the greatest return policy in the universe (no time limits, no receipt necessary and usually no hassle) and you have the recipe for a Best Of winner. E.B.
Multiple locations;
2nd: Brooks Brothers, multiple locations;
3rd: Macy’s, multiple locations;

Place to Sell Your Old Clothes

We don’t doubt that you loved those yellow polka-dot overalls when you bought them. But tastes change, and thankfully Current understands that one woman’s closet trash is another woman’s new favorite outfit. The consignment shop accepts a wide range of like-new clothing, shoes, jewelry and bags in exchange for 50 percent of the price the item sells for. What they don’t take in to sell, they’ll donate directly to Goodwill. H.S.
Multiple locations;
2nd: Buffalo Exchange, 1318 14th St. NW; 202-299-9148 and 3279 M St. NW; 202-333-2829,
3rd: Mustard Seed, 7349 Wisconsin Ave., Bethesda; 301-907-4699, (Bethesda)

Vintage Store

Community Forklift
Vintage Chanel is lacking at Community Forklift, unless Coco secretly released a line of couture drawer pulls. What you will find are antique heating grates, kitchen tools, lots of lighting and other well-preserved home and hardware goods, all in the Salvage Arts section. Community Forklift’s raison d’etre is to sell cast-off building materials to bargain-hunting DIYers; the staff added the vintage section to sate their customers’ lust for more-valuable finds. H.J.M.
4671 Tanglewood Drive, Edmonston, Md.; 301-985-5181,
2nd: Secondi, 1702 Connecticut Ave. NW; 202­667-1122, (Dupont Circle)
3rd: Treasury, 1843 14th St. NW; 202-332-9499, (U Street)

Gift Shop

Pulp DC
Name a milestone, and Pulp’s got a greeting card for it — and probably a magnet/toy/mug/book/random novelty item, too. New baby? Pick up the onesie with the unicorn on it, which reads “My First Ironic T-Shirt.” First unicorn sighting? Pulp also carries an inflatable unicorn horn. And should D.C. ever reach its most longed-for milestone — representation with its taxation — Pulp and its clientele are ready. The store’s most popular items are “anything with a D.C. flag,” said general manager Meryl Hooker via email. H.J.M.
1803 14th St. NW; 202-462-7857,
2nd: National Building Museum, 401 F St. NW; 202-272-2448, (Judiciary Square)
3rd: Newseum, 555 Pennsylvania Ave. NW; 888-639-7386, (Archives)

Home Store

Miss Pixie’s Furnishings & Whatnot
Bring a ball of string or some bread crumbs when you enter Miss Pixie’s, lest you never emerge from this maze of furniture items, some stacked two or three high and all priced to sell. (On a recent visit, we noted a gently used, 48-inch-tall card catalog for $400, which is a better deal than similar items on Etsy.) In the $5-and-under realm, rummage through bowls of sew-on patches, boxes of vintage canning labels and the glass case of animal figurines. H.J.M.
1626 14th St. NW; 202-232-8171,
2nd: Hill’s Kitchen, 713 D St. SE; 202-543-1997, (Eastern Market)
3rd: Community Forklift, 4671 Tanglewood Drive, Edmonston, Md.; 301-985-5181,

Specialty Food/Beverage

Whole Foods Market
Locavores may balk at a decidedly non-local chain winning the top spot this year, but it’s hard to argue with Whole Foods’ gleaming piles of organic produce, extensive selection of natural products and top-of-the-line cheeses. The locally sourced cherry on top: beer bars with growler service at the store’s Tenleytown, P Street NW, Arlington, Old Town and Tysons locations. S.D.
Multiple locations,
2nd: Cork Market, 1805 14th St. NW; 202-265-2674; (U Street)
3rd: Calvert Woodley Wines & Spirits, 4339 Connecticut Ave. NW; 202-966-4400, (Van Ness)

Pet Store

This national chain, sprung from a mail-order vet-supply business, has maintained some small-town appeal. At least it has at the Cleveland Park location (3505 Connecticut Ave. NW), where pet parents know the groomers by name and rave about the baths, brushes, trims and pedicures on offer. No matter what kind of critter you love, this big-box store has its needs covered. Check the calendar for adoption days, dog training and Halloween costume contests. T.K.
Multiple locations;
2nd: Metro Mutts, 508 H St. NE; 202-450-5661 and 407 Eighth St. SE; 202-546-7387, (Eastern Market)
3rd: The Big Bad Woof, 117 Carroll St. NW; 202-291-2404 (Takoma) and 5501 Baltimore Ave., Hyattsville, Md.; 301-403-8957,

Written by Holley Simmons, Holly J. Morris, Sadie Dingfelder (Express) and Erin Bylander and Tracy Krulik (For Express)