You could go to Banana Republic and buy its overpriced “Mad Men” collection, or you could buy the real thing.
Vintage Store: Junction
This U Street bargain basement, where free books greet you at the door, boasts a modern, trendy vibe, with vintage must-haves such as ’70s high-waisted jeans and oversized vibrant silk blouses adorning the racks. Statement accessories such as large cocktail rings sit in glass jewelry cases or on the girly-girl vanity. “Mad Men” enthusiasts will be joyous about the selection of men’s skinny ties and Betty Draper white satin gloves, which accompany the designer costume jewelry beautifully. Owner Shannan Fales curates the selection of vintage finds to match the tastes of the season, so you’ll be in style in whatever one-of-a-kind party dress you choose. K.B.
1st: Junction, 1510 U St. NW; 202-483-0261. (U St.-Cardozo)
2nd: Miss Pixie’s, 1626 14th St. NW; 202-232-8171. (U St.-Cardozo)
3rd: Meeps, 2104 18th St. NW; 202-265-6546. (Dupont Circle)
Shoe Store: ShoeFly
ShoeFly is a haven for women who lack patience and/or money: One can assemble the accoutrements of a party (clutch, heels, hair thingy and jewelry item) in less than an hour and for less than $150. Fashion-blind? The staff will ensure you don’t make your entrance looking like Pippi Longstocking. Most shoes cost between $40 (basic flats) and $200 (sturdy boots). H.J.M.
1st: ShoeFly, 2727 Wilson Blvd., Arlington; 703-243-6490. (Clarendon)
2nd: The Shoe Hive, 127 S. Fairfax St., Alexandria; 703-548-7105.
3rd: Carbon, 2643 Connecticut Ave. NW; 202-232-6645. (Woodley Park)
Jewelry Store: Legendary Beast
You have to climb three sets of stairs to get to this U Street vintage jewelry trove. But you’ll feel like you’ve stepped back at least three decades when you see owner Annie Fox’s stock of 1920s Egyptian-inspired glass necklaces ($150 and up), Twiggy-era flower bracelets and Rat Pack-y men’s cuff links. Don’t miss the tiny table strewn with $8.50 bargains. J.B.
1st: Legendary Beast, 1520 U St. NW; 202-797-1234. (U St.-Cardozo)
2nd: Charm Georgetown, 2910 M St. NW; 202-298-0420. (Foggy Bottom)
3rd: Amethyst, 4808 Bethesda Ave., Bethesda; 301-907-6871. (Bethesda)
Women’s Clothing: Caramel
This U Street men’s and women’s boutique is in a basement, but you’d never guess that from the bright, airy interior. (If you hadn’t gone down the stairs, that is. Maybe you teleported in.) Vintage-inspired dresses from Suzabelle will bring out the Hitchcock heroine in any gal; Individual’s drapey knits and Novacas’ vegan shoes also shine. Feel left out, guys? Caramel stocks several brands of out-of-the-ordinary button-downs for the man who wants a little Euro flair. K.P.K.
1st: Caramel, 1603 U St. NW; 202-265-1930. (U St.-Cardozo)
2nd: Nana, 3068 Mount Pleasant St. NW; 202-667-6955. (Columbia Heights)
3rd: Beautyfull Boutique, 118 N. Fayette St., Alexandria; 703-535-6748. (King Street)
Men’s Clothing: Geoffrey Lewis Ltd.
This D.C. stalwart locked down victory through write-in votes alone — the first time a candidate not on the ballot has triumphed in our Best Of’s (short) history. Owner and founder Angelo Abatzis custom-makes suits for the rich, the powerful, and those who want to look rich and powerful. When you get tired of buying off the rack (and looking like it), make an appointment here and shop like a real man. K.P.K.
1st: Geoffrey Lewis, Ltd., 1433 H St. NW; 202-638-6088. (McPherson Square)
2nd: Universal Gear, 1529B 14th St. NW; 202-319-0136.
3rd: Lost Boys, 1033 31st St. NW; 202-333-0093.
Gift Shop: Pulp DC
When you care enough to send the very best off-color birthday card, gag pincushion voodoo doll or irreverent baby hat, go to Pulp DC. For 10 years, Pulp has been Northwest D.C.’s finest one-stop-shop for uncommon holiday trimmings, mix-and-match stationery (ask your grandma what that is), fancy gift soaps and oddly gratifying tchotchkes. Who knew you needed a furry, neon Buddha statue? But it really does tie the room together. S.M.
1st: Pulp DC, 1803 14th St. NW; 202-462-7857. (Dupont Circle)
2nd: Home Rule, 1807 14th St. NW; 202-797-5544. (Dupont Circle)
3rd: Groovy DC, 323 7th St. SE; 202-544-6633. (Eastern Market)
Home Store: GoodWood
If Anthropologie carried genuine vintage stuff, it might approach the coolness of this weird wonderland, where useful furniture (1890s dressers, farm tables) frolics with oddities you didn’t know you needed (a wicker wheelchair, 1950s paintings of someone else’s dead relatives). A stash of retro-feel clothing, French Lubin perfume and new accessories add to the boho-cool experience. J.B.
1st: GoodWood, 1428 U St. NW; 202-986-3640.
2nd: Community Forklift, 4671 Tanglewood Drive, Edmonston, Md.; 301-985-5180.
3rd: Tabletop, 1608 20th St. NW; 202-387-7117. (Dupont Circle)
Used Bookstore: Already Read Used Books
Found on a recent visit: two cats, named Bert and Ernie; “He-Manners,” a 1954 etiquette guide for young men; a Magyar-English dictionary; a manual on writing police reports; five volumes of a seven-volume John Galsworthy collection; a trigonometry textbook; a three-ring binder containing several handwritten love poems; shelves and stacks and boxes and bags of mainstream reading material; astonishment that this daft little cracker-box of a store exists at all. H.J.M.
Already Read Used Books, 2501 Duke St., Alexandria; 703-299-8406.
Farmers Market: Eastern Market
You need more than food to take this category. Besides supplies for locavores, Eastern Market embraces jewelry-makers, T-shirt-printers, hat-knitters, vintage-clothing-hawkers, that nice lady who makes purses out of books and a nice man who makes alpacas out of alpaca. Fur, not meat. Snack-wise, try In a Pickle for gourmet pickles and olives; Sweet Nuthouse for nuts; and Ma Brown’s Homemade Baked Goods to remember what brownies taste like when they don’t come from a mix. K.P.K.
1st: Eastern Market, 7th and C streets SE; 202-698-5253. (Eastern Market)
2nd: FreshFarm Market at Dupont Circle, 20th Street NW between Massachusetts and Connecticut avenues NW. (Dupont Circle)
3rd: Takoma Park, Carroll Street and Laurel Avenue. (Takoma)
Men’s Haircut and Women’s Haircut: Bang Salon
Taking both the men’s and women’s categories this year, Bang prides itself on continually educating its stylists, so you don’t have to worry that the person holding the scissors is stuck in the ’80s. Guys won’t find any “Steel Magnolias”-style scenes here: All three locations of this local chain are emphatically unisex. Bang is young, trendy and possibly the most affordable way to add cool to your coif (it’s $34 for a men’s haircut; women pay more, but you’re worth it). The website, with bios and pictures of all the stylists, makes it easy to find someone to handle your type of hair. Or just pick the one with the coolest tattoos K.P.K.
1st: Bang Salon, multiple locations.
Men’s Haircut, 2nd: Grooming Lounge, 1745 L St. NW, 202-466-8900 (Farragut North); 1732 International Drive, McLean, Va.; 703-288-0355.
Men’s Haircut, 3rd: Diego’s Hair Salon for Men and Women, 1901 Q St. NW; 202-234-4572. (Dupont Circle)
Women’s Haircut, 2nd: Immortal Beloved, 1457 Church St. NW; 202-299-1050. (Dupont Circle)
Women’s Haircut, 3rd: Urban Style Lab, 1341 Connecticut Ave. NW; 202-223-2066. (Dupont Circle)
Spa: Jolie Day Spa
The atmosphere at this venerated Bethesda spa is so relaxing, the owners could probably make money by charging people just to hang out in the lobby. Offerings are typical, and that’s fine. There’s a time and a place for Thai coconut spice marinade rub or scalding magma facials, and there’s a time for classics. K.P.K.
1st: Jolie Day Spa, 7200 Wisconsin Ave., Bethesda; 301-986-9293. (Bethesda)
2nd: The Spa at the Mandarin Oriental, 1330 Maryland Ave. SW; 202-787-6100. (Smithsonian)
3rd: Bliss, W Hotel, 515 15th St NW; 202-661-2416. (Metro Center)
Spa Treatment: Time Ritual At the Mandarin Oriental
Scheduling a spa day can be as unrelaxing as not taking a spa day at all. Unlike traditional spa services you schedule a la carte, the Time Ritual — available in two- and three-hour segments — allows you and your therapist to mix and match. For $300 to $495, you can float from massage to wrap to scrub in any order you please. Add amenities such as hot tubs and saunas you can use before hitting the table, and what you have is pretty close to heaven on Earth. K.P.K.
The Spa at the Mandarin Oriental, 1330 Maryland Ave. SW; 202-787-6100. (Smithsonian)
Waxer: Nora Piroglu
If you’re looking for a painless waxing experience, you’re out of luck. Getting hair ripped out of your body is going to make you yelp a little. But if you’re looking for the person who can make the pain bearable, you need Nora Piroglu, a veteran waxer who’s now plucking and pulling at the Bluemercury location in Georgetown. Not only will you see no ingrown hairs and no irritation (also, she can do things like shapes and initials), but she’ll put you at ease even when she’s working in locations you might normally require a marriage license or an M.D. to access. K.P.K.
Nora Piroglu, Bluemercury, 3059 M St. NW; 202-965-1300.
By Jennifer Barger, Katherine Boyle, Shauna Miller, Kristen Page-Kirby, Holly J. Morris