The creative challenge I find most rewarding in operating two boutiques is deciding which lines will work for our customers, and then figuring out how to make them work. It’s not as easy as you might think, and sometimes it doesn’t work on the first try. That was the case with L’Agence. We brought the line back to The Hive earlier this fall after a failed attempt a year ago. It didn’t make sense why it didn’t work. So, after a few years under our belt, with perhaps a deeper understanding of our clientele, we decided to give it another go. We have learned what our customer wants, and it’s simplified as this: great basics that are nice enough to wear under a blazer for work, and yet casual enough to pair with jeans and sneakers on the weekend and still look put together.
Aiming at that tightly focused objective, we chose carefully from L’Agence’s offerings. So far so good, and the popularity has allowed us to expand our choices.
I have been blown away by the quality of L’Agence and I can’t stop buying it in bulk for myself. The fabrics and the fit are amazing. The basics are so good that most items we are stocking in multiple colors. When it works, it works.
Here is what I am loving and why….
The Button Downs: My love of button downs is well documented in Stylebook. I love Frank and Eileen for a great cotton option and then so many brands do a great silk, but L’Agence has the perfect in between. The Ryan and the Lunetta are both made of viscose cotton that drapes with that perfect ease.
The T-shirts: I am always searching for the perfect t-shirts. My main requirement is that that aren’t too thin. Who wants to layer something under a t-shirt? L’Agence has cotton v-neck and scoop neck and also a bodysuit option. My current favorite, however, is the Ressi. Made of modal and spandex, it is the perfect stretch and thickness so it is the essential for layering or you can wear it alone.
The Leggings: Okay so one of my favorite looks is finally back this winter – tall boots, oversized sweater and leggings. Especially when the forecast calls for freezing, which it looks like is our destiny for the next few months. The Rochelle pull-on jean (it is basically a legging in my book) is what you need if you want a form fitting legging that is thick enough to be a pant. I guess that is why they call it a jean. There is also a coated version if you want to add some variety.
I spent the first part of my career as a copy-writer who helped elected officials brag about their support for entrepreneurs. Then I decided to get off the printed page and do it myself. The Shoe Hive made a splash on the fashion scene in Washington, and was named the region’s best shoe store in its first year. Fourteen years later, I have tripled the store’s size and also opened a sister store, The Hive. At The Hive, we offer clothing lines that are sophisticated and approachable like Rag & Bone, Tibi, Raquel Allegra, Ulla Johnson and Veronica Beard. We have tried to fill our racks with clothing you will want to wear all the time, elevated basics that are worth the investment.
Heard the buzz? The Shoe Hive & The Hive are a pair of luxury boutiques in Old Town Alexandria. Featuring both big name designers like Rag & Bone and Stuart Weitzman and smaller brands like AGL and L'Agence, our unique selection and impeccable service are what set us apart.