Street Style: Nicole McGrew of Threadleaf

I am so excited to introduce you to my friend, Nicole McGrew. She is the owner and creative force behind, Threadleaf, Old Town’s only slow fashion clothing boutique. As a former lawyer at the Department of Justice and in the Obama White House, Nicole has dedicated her career to improving the lives of others. Threadleaf is just an extension of that work. Her beautiful boutique offers stylish, fashion forward clothing and accessories that are responsibly and ethically made. Sourcing from small brands all over the world, Threadleaf offers a collection of goods that can’t be found anywhere else in the DMV. It is as truly unique as Nicole is.

Nicole and I have known each other since Red Barn’s days on South Columbus. She is one of the smartest and most thoughtful people I know. When we talk, I can just see the wheels turning in her head as she absorbs and processes the conversation. What filters out is always substantive and delightful, making you think and challenge yourself. She does everything with great care, creativity, and integrity, which is reflected in her store and her commitments to the Alexandria community. I am thrilled to welcome my friend that I greatly admire to Alexandria Stylebook. We all are in for a real treat!


📸 :Sarah Marcella Creative




How long have you lived in Alexandria? I’ve lived in Alexandria for 12 years.

Favorite item of clothing in your closet?  That’s tough! I can say dresses are my favorite items to wear. All day, everyday.

Biggest inspiration?  My mom. She’s the best.

Dogs or cats? Dogs, especially, our labradoodle, Indy!






How long have you owned your boutique? I opened in May 2018.

What inspired you to start your business?  I’d always had the idea to open a shop in the back of my mind. However, it wasn’t until I’d left the White House (I was a lawyer in a prior life) and was on a trip to Amsterdam that I really decided to go for it. I remember wandering down all these little streets, stumbling on all these cool shops, and thought it was time to have my own shop focused on independent, sustainable fashion. I’d always looked for well-designed, sustainably-made clothing, knew how hard it could be to find, and thought a shop devoted to sustainable fashion made sense.

What are three of your favorite items currently at your shop?  Right now, I’m living in my Terracotta Tee from Jungmaven. The blend of organic cotton and hemp feels so good. I also have a new dress in from CUS; it’s made from Tencel in Barcelona and has this beautiful drape and pattern. And, of course, my everyday staples from Marius Fabre. They are one of the oldest soap makers in France, and using their soaps and body oil is just the perfect little everyday luxury.

Favorite designer? All of my designers are special to me, but I’ll give a shout out to Veronique Miljkovitch, who was the first designer that agreed to work with me when I opened. I would wear her dresses to work when I was still practicing law and they are great from day to night.






How can the community support you and your employees during this time? “Shop small, shop local, shop sustainably” has always been our mantra. We’re lucky to have a Threadleaf community that embraces this philosophy too, and is always spreading the word. Shopping, reviews, word of mouth, Instagram high fives — they all help.

One act of kindness you’ve witnessed? The recent show of solidarity and support of Black Lives Matter has been incredibly heartening to see.

Favorite new hobby? Knitting.

Top must-read books? The City We Became by N.K. Jemisin, and The Resisters by Gish Jen.

Binge-worthy suggestion(s)? The Big Flower Fight on Netflix, Killing Eve on BBC America, and Homeland on Showtime.

What local business have you supported this week? Junction, Grape & Bean, and Penny Post. We have so many great local businesses here.

Favorite carry-out restaurant? Nasime, also my favorite dine-in restaurant!

Favorite family pastime? Hiking and climbing.

Go-to at-home workout? Running — usually on the Potomac Yard or Mt. Vernon trails.



To learn more about Nicole and Threadleaf, check out her website at
and follow Threadleaf on Instagram @threadleaf.


  • The latest from Amy
Owner Amy Rutherford started Red Barn because she wanted to deliver a service — to provide both old and new in one place. No longer will busy shoppers be limited to reproductions or forced to shop multiple flea markets for the look or gifts they want. The trick in blending old and new, vintage and modern, classic and quirky, is balance. And Amy’s knack for mixing rustic antiques with urban chic has created a look that is both fresh and familiar.

Red Barn Mercantile opened its doors in September 2007 with a single vision in mind: providing old and new to offer our customers signature whole-room designs at great prices.

We’re more than a furniture boutique and provide more personalized service than a big box retailer. We work hard to bring you the highest quality furniture and gifts, the most unique conversation starters, wall hangings and accent pieces, whether they come from off-the-beaten-track flea markets, or the latest designers.

1117 King Street
Alexandria, VA 22314


Comments are closed.

Get your daily dose of all things fashion, beauty, fitness, and design. Locally sourced and locally styled!