Poppy and Stella’s knack for curating a stylish, eclectic inventory has not gone unnoticed. “The people behind Poppy and Stella just get shoes,” according to the Baltimore City Paper, who named Poppy and Stella the Best Women’s Shoe Store in 2009. In 2011, CBS Baltimore praised Poppy and Stella for its “atmosphere, selection and service.”
That atmosphere is found in a tidy, eclectic boutique, where customers can peruse a stylish array of designer shoes, boots, handbags, and apparel from brands such as Dolce Vita, Pour La Victoire, Sam Edelman, and Frye. Throughout the store, neat displays highlight both seasonal trends and classic designs, all of which can keep friends and neighbors from giving you disparaging nicknames like “old-shoes Jack.”
Craig Coyne's wares speckle owners with a dazzling shine emanating from sterling silvers, yellow gold, and precious stones. Adorn lobes with the sterling silver sparkle plenty earrings ($99), with the multicolored gemstones and pearls of the drop earrings ($60), or with last year's tree ornaments. The flat freshwater pearls of the blue moon bracelet set add an aquatic accent to any empty appendage ($90), and the bypass ring's amber bead and freshwater pearls beckon high-fives and handshakes ($59). Similarly, the golden links with glitz watch, complete with an elegant gold-toned stainless-steel casing ($89), is more fashionable and practical than a sundial-shaped fedora.
A regular fixture on the top-50 running-stores list published annually by Running Insight, Potomac River Running is a family-owned business of running enthusiasts and professional coaches who aim to spread a joy of running and walking around the Washington, DC, area. Focused on providing a fun and welcoming environment for people of all fitness levels, Potomac offers brand-name footwear and apparel for feet and the bodies attached to them. The custom shoe-fitting process begins with an iStep foot scan and a video gait analysis to analyze your step and the shoe that would best complement it. Once toe-holders have been measured and monitored, slide them into a pair of running or walking shoes ($80–$180), and then top off your lower half with running shorts ($25–$40) or cloak your supra-belt region in a shirt ($20–$120).
The Florida Running Company, a store completely staffed by runners, finds people the fittingest shoes using a process similar to the one speed daters use to find future mates—taking measurements, assessing stance, and playing back video of them running on a treadmill. The shop carries top running-shoe brands such as Asics Gel Kayano ($140) and Nike Air Pegasus ($85). Runners can complement their kicks with Nike Tempo track shorts ($28) or swaddle their feet in a pair of Balega socks ($10), as soft and comforting as group hug from every grandmother on the block.
Family owned and operated since 1914, Smyth Jewelers lavishes customers with expertly cut gems and attentive service. Fill Valentine's present voids with designer necklaces ($32.50 and up), adorn lonely lobes with earrings ($28 and up), or add panache to foosball matches with sparkling rings ($50 and up). The caring staff will not force shoppers into splurging on baubles, but rather will introduce them to pieces that fit their needs in design and price. Smyth also purveys gifts such as silver platters, wine coasters, crystal decanters, and decorative bowls to fill with fruits, pocket change, or collector edition condiment packets. Perusers of higher-end items may fuse two Groupons to put towards purchases over $300, selecting from shinables such as the 18-karat diamond stud earrings clasped in white gold ($340). Smyth's six certified gemologists ward off showy intruders, admitting only GIA or AGS approved gems with the most refined facets and credible qualities.
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