Thursday, June 19, 2008

potomac mills: a wtf?! review and a romper

I hate to bid adieu to my wardrobe trademarks -- tight pants and sweatervests -- but the heat in DC kills me. Must... think... of... alternative.

But luckily, that alternative thought of me. I had spent the morning with The Law at the sketchy gun show learning about boobytrapping (theme week!), followed by an early afternoon taking in the sights of Dale City and a mid-afternoon ultimately failing to find a blaze orange ammo belt at Grangers Ganders. But then fate intervened.

The original plan was to find our sweet shooting gear then hit up the range, however, by the time the shambles of last Saturday morning/afternoon were over, as well as by the time we were done with our classy Denny's brunch (pancakes, eggs, sausage and hashbrowns for $4.99?!), the Bull Run Shooting Center -- our range of choice -- was about to close. So we did the only logical thing people do when they can't shoot guns -- we spent money. More specifically, we went to Potomac Mills shopping center, which happens to be right next to Dale City.

Potomac Mills is a strange, strange place. It's a bit like L'Enfant Plaza in that the whole thing seems a bit foreign. That is, like the Soviet-style architecture featured in and around L'Enfant Plaza, the stores that compose Potomac Mills remind me a bit of the stores one would find in pre-Putin Russia or parts of South America. First, the clothes in these stores feature more sequins than one of Johnny Weir's ice-skating ensembles and, second, many of the stores have ridiculous names.

Some boast conspicuous designer names that have nothing to do with said designer, such as "Glory & Dior." Trust me, Dior has nothing to do with that. Others feature names with obvious nods to certain areas of the world, a practice done quite regularly in places like Kyrgyzstan (Where? Exactly.), hoping to cash in on the cachet of another country's fashion sense. Potomac Mills has "Group USA" and "Istanbul." (Yeah, I couldn't even Google that last one...) And still others seem to just pick random words in hopes that they sound hip, like "Urban Behavior," "Papaya," "LVL X Direct," and my personal favorite, "E-Paris." (Again, all three are un-Googleable.) All of this is reminiscent of a little store I spotted a couple of years ago while vacationing in Punta del Este, Uruguay.

You can't see it, but a store called Peen was on the right. (If only...)

Ridiculous store names aside, however, the strangest thing about Potomac Mills is that it's home to a JC Penney's Outlet. Now, call me uppity, call me a snob, call me stuck-up, perhaps even call me bitchy, but, um, isn't JC Penney's already kind of an outlet? I don't see Marshalls or TJ Maxx outlets. Why? It just doesn't make sense. Logic and Virginia, however, never necessarily seem to go hand-in-hand, so I'll let that one slide.

But let's get real. Let's get to the good stuff -- the awesome sh*t I found (natch!). Luckily, Potomac Mills isn't all made up of mid-1990s Russian-style stores and JC Penney's Outlets. They also have an Off 5th Saks outlet, a BCBG Max Azaria outlet and, of course, staples like Forever 21, which you'd find in any old mall.

At BCBG I managed to procure a really nice (even work appropriate) dress for $110, marked down from $286; at Off 5th I found a pair of bright turquoise skinny jeans by Joe's Jeans for $26.98 (!), marked down from $158, and an Elie Tahari velvet blazer for just $68.97 (!!), marked down from *gasp!* $478. But perhaps the find of the day season -- my new pièce de résistance, if you will -- was this SILK ROMPER bought at, um, Forever 21.

"F" for self-photog skills; "A" for romper-wearing.

Now, I'm slightly embarrassed about where I found it (as a 28-year-old, I always find it a bit uncomfortable to be waiting in the fitting-room line with a 13-year-old holding the same item), but I'm not embarrassed about the price -- $27. Tight. Looking at this photo, however, I'm not exactly excited about how I styled this outfit. Mid-calf boots + romper = Stumpy McNoLegs. And I'm 5'9"...and the doughnut I just ate isn't helping. Dammit.

Anyway, let me put it this way: The romper is my new sweatervest. And although I'm pretty sure DC-at-large will not look favorably upon my summer jumpsuit, I don't really care. What I do care about is not sweating profusely when the heat index hits 100. And really, eff it -- I've never shied away from looking like a jackass before, so why start now? Plus, it's an effing romper! And because I want to spread the romper-love, I'm in the midst of gathering up a few romper e-finds for those of you who might be interested in jumping the shark into a sea of onesie wonder with me. It's a magical world...and surprisingly comfortable. Not wearing pants is the best...


The Vinyl District said...

Sentences I never thought I'd see: "The romper is my new sweatervest."

In a good way, natch.

De in D.C. said...

You missed out if you didn't hit the shoe dept. in Nordstrom Rack. That's one of the main reasons I venture down to Potomac Mills. Oh, and the cheap gas at the Costco right there.

Capitol Hill 20210 said...

I promise you there are nicer things in my area - you just saw all the crap............seriously lol

Don't go to Potomac Mills at night, you might get initiated into one of the many gangs in our area.

By the way I will be moving out of redneck ville in the next year lol

Anonymous said...

Guest Shambles P.I. Ashley reporting. You can now check your inbox for the proof.

I hope you managed to stop by one of the 538 kiosks selling designer imposter shades while at Potomac Mills.

About the rompers; I love them and have been trying to find one. Unfortunately, being 5'9 myself, most I have tried on are so flimsy they make me look like Paris Hilton getting ready for A Night in Paris Vol. VI.

Since when did VA fashion stores have better options that DC?!?

Shannon said...

Aw, it's been so much fun watching Marissa romp through my childhood - I worked at the Mills as a teenager. I wonder if I still get a discount at Banister Shoe...

Marissa said...


I aim to please!


Actually, we did make it over there, but by the time we got there, it was already about to close. I'd take a trip back though, if not for just the Off 5th and BCBG outlets. Or maybe we just hit both of those on a good day?

cap hill--

Actually, I think it's better if I just imagine NoVa as it exists in Dale City. It makes me appreciate DC more, that's for sure.


Good eye. That Shambles P.I. might top all of the other Shambles P.I.'s that have been on this site. And, yes, it is hard to find a good romper. I'm looking far and wide though now, because I've got the fever. ROMPER FEVER!


Peaking into your childhood haunts explains a lot. ZING!

Luscious Leo said...

Um, just thought you should know, I just literally laughed out loud (spelled it out, that's how you know I am serious) at "Stumpy McNoLegs." And not just cause it's mad late and I'm half drunk. Leo approves. And knows how it is -- I tried to wear my tight new bright white sneaks with shorts, and I just can't pull it off.

ms. spinach said...

i so bought a romper this season too... i've been wearing it everywhere, and i'm happy to report that the d.c. community has responded with surprising enthusiasm. go dc!

{of course, now i want yours too...}

Marissa said...


Who isn't half-drunk. I'm practically half-drunk right now. Drunk on rompers, that is! You work those sneakers. Leo is fierce.

ms. spinach--

YAY for rompers! How do you style yours? I'm sensing a Fashion Is Spinach post might be necessary. And glad to hear about DC responding so well. I'll keep you updated on the public reception when mine makes its debut on the streets.

Proustian said...

All I'm gonna say is that that entrance looks suprisingly like Izmailovsky Park.

That, and I'm curious how my body would handle a romper. I can see endless shoe possibilties...

Anonymous said...

Romper + Kickass Boots = Romper Stomper. Please apply this nomenclature from now on. (Pete)

Anonymous said...

I definitely won't call you uppity. The romper is NOT kick@#$, and you look a hot mess. Not because of your hideous outfit, but your "mug" is ripped!!! You look like trailer trash. One can always tell trailer trashe from the texture of their hair...The END. But that's okay, girl. Keep "trying" to fake it 'til you make it! hee hee hee...

Marissa said...

Anonymous 12/29/2010--

Welcome to a blog post 2.5 years too late! I hope you enjoyed this time warp as much as I did!

Very truly yours,

The Anti DC