DC Shopping Gems: Let’s Talk About “Wheaton Plaza”

Black jumpsuit from Olive Ole.

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!

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How to Mis-match Your Nails to a Floral Purse

Flower print bag with blue, pink, yellow and green nail polish options.

I think we’ve all tried matching our nails to the bag we know we’ll be using frequently. It helps amp up the color. But mis-matching your nails to a floral purse is sassy, and another way to go punk and help along an unusual floral print if you’ve just bought one. I recently got this Steve Madden quilted tote bag that has black leather punk accents and many earthtone or light-colored flowers.

Quilted tote bag with white, blue and pink flowers.

Use this walkthrough to inspire your own brave mis-match combinations.

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Beauty and the Beast: Flowers and Studs

Nude studded shoes with spring flowered bag.

It’s a tale as old as time… looks from the 90s are coming back: shoes with studs and grommets, and this spring’s floral prints will be “quirky, irreverent, and a touch subversive” according to Allure magazine. Men and women are getting more options for punk shoes and floral patterns, and you can already see it happening on the streets of DC.

Dark Beauty

Floral print bags are really in, but the darker versions are irresistible. I have a huge BCBG navy blue tote bag that I love, and that my sisters hate because it errs on the side of ghetto fabulous and tacky… I use it for work anyway. But I recently ditched my favorite, spacious solid navy blue dream purse for another bag I’ve fallen in love with. I found this Steve Madden tote bag at DSW, in the clearance section. I liked the flowers, but was sold on the black zippers and other punk details.

Continue reading Beauty and the Beast: Flowers and Studs