Arts Desk

Imagining D.C. Buying Patterns by Neighborhood

neighborhoodsYesterday our sister publication, the Chicago Reader, posted an item about buying patterns in Chicago neighborhoods, based on information from the bargain-searching website Since D.C. was not one of the four cities on the list (the others were New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles), we're left to speculate on shopping patterns in District neighborhoods.

This unassuming, family-friendly neighborhood in the shadow of Catholic University isn't the trendiest part of town, but that's not what its residents are looking for, anyway–they want value and a solid place to live long-term. Accordingly, the clothes they wear will be reasonably priced, classic pieces they'll still have in their closets ten years from now, from brands like Levis, L.L. Bean, and Eddie Bauer.

Capitol Hill
Filled with congressional staffers who wear suits on weekdays and play cornhole and beer pong on weekends, the residents of this 'hood are more likely to take chances on the flag football field than in fashion. They'll shop at sartorially safe, reasonably priced places like the Gap and the Brooks Brothers outlet at Potomac Mills on the way down to UVa for reunion weekend.

Columbia Heights
With a diverse, youthful population that heavily trends toward hipster, the residents of Columbia Heights typically have style–but not necessarily cash–to spare. Target is a convenient and affordale option, obvs, but the urban bohemians will also fill out their wardrobes at American Apparel and thrift stores.

Dupont Circle
Though City Paper dubbed Georgetown "Banana Republic Republic" two years ago in the Hoods & Services issue, the moniker might be more appropriate for Dupont. With career-oriented late-twenty-somethings and early-thirty-somethings whose tastes are preppy but with a bit of a Euro edge, Banana Republic–along neighborhood haunts like Benetton and G-Star RAW–is a natural shopping destination.

Contrary to popular perception, the 25-year-old prepsters roaming M Street in their Topsiders and Madras shorts aren't usually the inhabitants of Georgetown. No, it usually takes a few more decades for one to contemplate the purchase of one of the multi-million dollar homes that abound in the neighborhood. The well-heeled middle-aged-and-better residents have classic tastes, and price isn't an object: Look for them to shop designers like Ralph Lauren, Michael Kors, and Oscar de la Renta.

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  • andrew

    I'd argue that Columbia Heights doesn't trend "heavily" to hipster. Sure, there are some, but I see more young professional types. And of course there's the issue of how you define hipster, but that's another story.

  • observer

    you must mean White People buying patterns by neighborhood. Right?

  • Erin Petty

    observer--in all seriousness, I'd welcome more of your insight. I know City Paper doesn't always do a great job of covering the demographics of our city, myself included.

  • Erin Petty

    Andrew, I agree, hipster is a relative term, especially in DC.

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  • Corkey Buchek

    Wait, so you are talking about the shopping habits of residents of Choclate City? This does'nt sound to accurate to me for some reason. What about HOBO, Spyder, and other popular brands here in DC? Are you aware that non white people still live here? Just sayin, you could have done a much better article if you included other demographics shopping habits too. But that would probably mean you would have to do some real research.