THERE’S IKEA, H&M and A Man Called Ove,
the best-selling “feel good” novel by Swedish writer Fredrik Backman.
And don’t forget hygge, the trendy yet unpronounceable Scandinavian word
that covers comfort in food, furnishings and clothes.
Now, enter COS and & Other Stories, higher-end siblings of H&M, flagship of cheap chic, just opened in Georgetown. It’s a Scandinavian invasion.
which has taken over the Benetton store at the corner of Wisconsin and
M, NW, wears an air of paranoia entirely suited to today’s DC. No photos
please! Any questions go to PR.
manager, who told us nearly nothing, gave his first name only, and
looked nervous about it, so we’ll keep it to ourselves. More forthcoming
was a black-clad cool salesman who was too excited about the wares to
zip it. Another manager, forehead scrunched into worry lines, asked if
the salesman had given his name and when we said no, she said “good. We
need clearance from PR.” We just smiled and admitted our disobedience.
space is dazzling, with large windows, bleached floors and minimalist
displays —a few of each item hang from racks with signs telling you to
just ask if you don’t see your size or color.
Men’s and women’s
clothing are arranged on three levels; for now, kid stuff is only
available online or in the brand’s Los Angeles location. There are
suits, dresses, shoes and accessories, with the highest price point a
suit for $295 and the lowest, $9 for a pair of sparkle socks. The lines
are clean and classic, many of the styles are comfortably oversized, at
least for women. The menswear runs more to the schoolboy chic look of Thom Browne, on a budget.
Sophisticated garb at an affordable price point.
stopped a 40-something browser in the men’s department, a neat dresser
in a down vest and thick rimmed black hipster glasses. It was “cool,” he
said in thickly accented English. “We don’t have this in Russia.”
colors for spring are traditional: navy, black, white and gray, with
pops of candy orange. I’m told, though this is apparently top secret,
that the colors change with the seasons.
For summer, a totally unforgiving but smashing black maillot is a mere $49. A
brilliant orange bikini that should suit your inner Ursula
Andress—remember the white one she wore in Dr. No?— is $35 for the top,
$25 for the bottom. A diving knife is not included.
are in bold black-and-white stripes, good for playing pirate or Piaf.
One dangled from a hanger in the hand of Jane Rodman, who’s 72 and
visiting from Toronto. She raved about the store, “I like the simple
lines and the beautiful colors,” she said, admiring her find. ‘My
daughter-in-law will be proud of me.”
Around the corner, across
from Georgetown Park, is & Other Stories, where you can arrive in
your PJs and depart dressed and made-up for a night of clubbing—and snap
up a pair of copper-framed sunglasses to hide your blood-shot eyes the
The huge industrial warehouse-styled space has everything from makeup to shoes and jewelry. Though it skews a bit jeune fille,
there are finds. Particularly fetching, for those with slim hips, are
ballet pink, wide-leg pants, with pockets ($95) for your Ginger Rogers’
moments. Pair these with a matching pink sweater, or a contrasting one
in black ($55), or be slinky in a pink cami trimmed with black lace
Add tough chic lace-up black leather boots with lethal
heels and toes, or pad about in slippers as soft as gloves, with the
backs broken down flat, as if you’ve been schlumping about in something a
mite too small. The shop’s so new the prices don’t all include U.S.
dollars—if you’re adept at exchange rates, they’re 79 Euros or 790
I’d wrap up the look with a gorgeous navy trench with a
bath wrap belt— of indeterminate price and fabric, though I’d guess
rayon again. It’s effortlessly slinky and looking like it cost far more
than it does, whatever that is.
A large makeup department
sells house-brand cosmetics, including the glitteriest gold nail polish
we’ve ever seen for $9 and a gold body oil for $29. Also, a selection of
body washes, scrubs and lotions make a last-minute gift shopper’s life
easy. Shimmery socks ($12 for 3 pair) and inexpensive jewelry are placed
strategically around the store. Impulse purchases encouraged.