Don’t skip the small stores at Wheaton’s Westfield Mall the next time you visit. You almost exclusively see Black women wearing these urban-chic styles as they stroll up and down U Street, queue up for Marvin’s, or lean over cocktails at Park and 14th downtown.
First, Lemme Break It Down
What is “Wheaton Plaza”?
Westfield Mall in Wheaton, Md. has gone through a lot of transformations since the first big facelift that I can remember: the arrival of Old Navy in the 90s. (I know you’re laughing at me and the throwback; it’s okay.) Back then, everyone was excited about this store with the clever ads and inexpensive, super-comfy clothing. If you visit this Maryland mall today (and it hardly feels like you’ve gone to Maryland if you’re coming from DC, when the Metro-bound folks can walk there in minutes from the subway), you won’t find an Old Navy; that’s long gone. But you will find other mainstream stores like Express, New York & Co, DSW, Macy’s and its Sephora counter, ALDO, H&M, Victoria Secret—all typical mall fare. Even better, though, are the brilliant little stores that have arrived in Wheaton, packed with brilliant, affordable styles that you can’t find in any of the big-name places.
I call these hidden gems since they may be the kinds of stores you wouldn’t go into precisely because they aren’t big names like H&M or Forever 21. Also, the mannequins are wearing strange things in the windows. I’m warning you now that the super-punk, downright scandalous raver clothing is pretty damn freaky!