Credit: Christine Setaine

Flat-Out Winners

Toss the heel out. The flat sandal is back, and this summer it looks right with everything: cutoffs, miniskirts, rompers, maxi dresses, cropped jeans and American Hustle-style bell-bottoms. When dressed up with crystals and metallics, flats can even go out at night. Here are some flats we’d like to slip our feet into right now.

Red Carpet Ready

Maybe you’d like to indulge in Pillow Talk. Or perhaps you see yourself as the Holly Would type. Blo Blow Dry Bar is the place to go.

This Canadian-based chain of blow-dry outlets (no color, no cuts) is scheduled to open a salon in Gaithersburg this June or July. The menu of blow-dries includes Pillow Talk (messy and beachy), Holly Would (curly and bouncy), Executive Suite (skyscraper straight) and Red Carpet Classic (smooth with lots of body). You can also go for a fishtail braid, a high perfect ponytail or a chic bun. Extensions, head massages, updos, and blow-outs for men and children are also options. Prices range from $40 for a wash and blow-out to $65 for an updo.  

Sharing space with Blo Blow Dry Bar is a new concept from the company: Body By Blo, which will offer nail and waxing services to men and women.

317 Ellington Blvd., Gaithersburg,

Cuff Love

Cuffs are everywhere this year (see our March/April “Shop Talk” column). Now Jane Makransky has come out with a Mack & Jane line of leather beauties that are an inexpensive way to get in on the trend. Ranging in price from $44 to $72, these adorned leather cuffs come in various colors, sizes and shapes.


Makransky, who grew up in Silver Spring and attended Montgomery Blair High School, makes each cuff in her home studio outside Philadelphia—cutting, shaping and sewing the leather and adding vintage bits, bobs, jewelry and ribbon so that no two bracelets are alike.

A lawyer by day, Makransky decided to take her jewelry-making hobby up a notch after battling a serious illness seven years ago. Now recovered, she began by selling metal and semiprecious stone jewelry on Etsy and at juried crafts shows until a year ago, when she started focusing on leather designs.

The leather bracelets have taken off in the six months since—they were even included in 50 swag bags at the 2014 Academy Awards—and are now carried in 13 stores nationwide, including Brilliants in Potomac. They also can be custom-ordered online at


Makransky, who still has family in Potomac and does frequent trunk shows in the area, hopes to do a bridal line of bracelets next.

Diving into Design

Sometimes all it takes is a trip to the pool to get a good idea.

Bethesda’s Dianne Brickman worked for Barneys New York and Nike-town before taking a few years off to be a stay-at-home mom. One day, she threw on a new tunic as a cover-up at the pool—and got a load of compliments. “I thought: There’s got to be a market for these garments,” she says.


Using hand-blocked fabrics from India, Brickman began selling tunics, clutches, scarves and headbands for $8 to $48 at home parties in the area and on her website ( last year. She plans to add shorts, pants and pajamas to her line soon.

Openings & Closings

Three new stores have landed at Westfield Montgomery Mall, including Talbots, the preppy women’s clothing store devoted to classic clothes, which has relocated from White Flint Mall. Also new: Another big name in the prep world, Lilly Pulitzer, the women’s clothing store known for bright florals and palm prints. Third is the trendy True Religion, selling men’s, women’s and children’s jeans, tops, outerwear and accessories with a vintage boho feel. …Things are also starting to percolate at two new developments in Montgomery County:

At Pike & Rose in White Flint, City Sports, the national sportswear and sports gear chain, will be opening in October along with a 32,000-square-foot outpost of the Sport & Health exercise club. And LA Fitness, a sports and exercise facility with a heated lap pool, already has opened at Downtown Crown in Gaithersburg. Zagg, which sells mobile device accessories, and V.Eye.P. Eye Care, which offers eye exams and sells contacts, designer eyeglasses and sunglasses, are scheduled to open at Downtown Crown in mid-July.


Ranger Surplus store, a Bethesda fixture for 18 years, has closed that location. The Rockville store remains open, however, and a new store has opened in Frederick.

Cynthia Hacinli lives in Chevy Chase and has written for GQ, The New York Times and National Geographic Traveler. Send Shop Talk ideas to