By: Anna Boyd
Photos by: Bella Gerard
So long, sky-high price tags! Farewell, sluggish inventory turnover! Hello, quality clothing that is stylish yet unique, replenished daily with new trends, and (drum roll please) college budget friendly. To walk into Violet is to forever alter your perception of what a boutique can be – it’s not hard to see why they have repeatedly been voted Best Clothing Boutique, and a “Best Of” by Washington City Paper readers. Not to mention being selected among D.C.’s best Independent Clothing Boutiques by both Refinery29 and Racked, and named the Washingtonian’s 2016 Best Affordable Boutique. Their signature motto, “Wake Up. Kick Ass. Be Kind. Repeat.” radiates not only from their past achievements (and the vibrant neon sign in store) but from their every interaction with customers.
“The thing that drives us to be successful is having happy customers- customers that come back and customers that really feel welcome here,” shares store manager and partner K-Lee as founder Julie greets a Violet habitué. “We really care about you, and want you to leave here happy and feeling good about yourself.” (Editor’s Note: I can vouch for this! My second time shopping at Violet, they didn’t hesitate to break out the champagne and celebrate the weekend with me. Best store ever much? – Bella)
“We feel empowered ourselves, and we want other women to feel empowered too,” Julie insists. “We know that while clothing may be something that feels superficial, it affects how you feel about yourself. We really want to bring out our customers’ best selves.”
The cherry on top of this already-perfect shopping sundae? After a recent move from Adam’s Morgan, Violet Boutique is now serving up its message of self-love and girl-power (with a heaping side of seriously cute clothes) just half a mile from campus, their new location nestled between Good Stuff Eatery and Piano Bar.
Besides promoting fast fashion trends and totally Instagram-able ensembles, Violet is dedicated to providing options that appeal to a variety of tastes and styles. “We have clothes for everyone, from the funkier, edgier girl to people who are going to their nine-to-fives in an office setting every day. We have clothes for the weekend, festivals, weddings, and events,” explains Julie. “We feel like we can really provide something for everyone.”
While we could rave about Violet Boutique for longer than it takes to get dinner at Cosi, we thought it would be even better to let their fabulous team of fashionistas speak for themselves. After an interview with them, here are the tips we gleaned on not only how to look your best, but how to feel your best while doing it.
The Violet Clothing Commandments
- Experimentation is key
“We want to push people to experiment. We want to find out your style and put you in things you’re excited about, but we also want to push you a little bit so you really feel like you got something very unique and special.” – Julie
2. Don’t stress about size
“If the fit is right, it doesn’t matter what size it is. The size is going to be different in each piece of clothing, and that’s something that I had a really hard time grappling with in my mid-twenties, especially working in retail. It’s like ‘the size, the size, oh my gosh the size’. But if it looks good, then you’re going to look amazing and the size does not matter.” – K-Lee
3. Care for your clothing
“This is so ‘grandma’ for me to say, but like own a clothing steamer and laundry wash bags because all of the clothes in here or any other store you go into are machine wash cold. If you want your clothes to survive and look nice over the years, go to Amazon, find the highest rated steamer within your price-range, and go for it.” – Julie
4. This is your time
“You guys are all babes and look great. As you get older, it’s not that you have to dress in a frumpy way, but there’s still dressing your age. So embrace the cutouts. Go for the midriff exposure. I mean, why not? This is your time.” – Julie
5. Aim for versatility
“Especially when you’re in college and striking that balance between things you want to wear to class, but also if you have an internship or a part time job, you’re going to need different looks. And that doesn’t mean you need to spend hundred of dollars on suits and dress tops. You can find things that look just as cute with jeans that when you tuck into a pencil skirt, you are ready to hit the office and look just as polished.” – Paige
6. Brand names shmand names
“I think that before I opened up the store I cared a lot about the labels, and to me it came to look like a status. But that’s not a good projection of confidence. Like I have an appreciation for luxury labels, but at the same time what I have come to recognize here is that you shouldn’t have to spend more to look amazing. I think that the biggest part is seeing what’s worth investing in or not.” –Julie
7. Clothing is a form of self love
“I think the philosophy of Violet is finding fashions that represent your personality or your favorite parts of yourself.” -Julie
So next time you’re shopping for a hot date or new job – or just want to meet some phenomenal females – be sure to make Violet Boutique your new M Street go-to.
(P.S. – here’s a bonus look at the store and the amazing outfits we got to try on at our interview – styled by the lovely ladies at Violet!)