Shop Talk: Far From Timid Clothing and Home Décor

Plus, new local shops and beauty tips from Bluemercury's CEO

Go for the Bold

Red and aqua circles that seem ripped from a futuristic pinball machine. Art Nouveau-esque swirls in purple and blue. Such vibrant, abstract patterns are created by Alona Elkayam in her Friendship Heights home studio and star in her Far From Timid line of T-shirts, women’s dresses and home décor. With a background in marketing and brand strategy, Elkayam started the company in 2015. Everything’s made on demand in the U.S. or Canada, allowing the designer to endlessly tweak her street-meets-chic aesthetic. We caught up with her to find out what inspires all her bright moves.

What moved you to start the company? I’d go shopping, whether it was for a cool T-shirt or sheets on my bed, and I couldn’t find what I was looking for. I wanted to communicate in visuals in an abstract way.

The prints on your pieces are so bold—where do they come from? 

I’m inspired by abstract artists like Frank Stella and Ellsworth Kelly. Anything geometric can show up in my prints—architecture, even the shadows when I run at night. And the name for the company comes from a Biggie Smalls song [“Sky’s the Limit”], since I’m also a hip-hop fan. The whole line is about doing things, like his song says, that are far from timid.

These are very bold pieces of clothing; what’s the key to wearing them? 

I’m always surprised by what people can pull off. Some customers put printed leggings and a printed T-shirt together. I like to put, say, a printed tank under a solid blazer. But it’s all about owning the look you’re wearing. 

You also do shirts and other pieces for men. Aren’t they afraid of patterns? 

I think guys don’t have a lot of flexibility with their wardrobes, so wearing a printed dress shirt or tee allows them to sport bold colors. It’s not just about polka-dot socks anymore.

Far From Timid items are sold online at

New on the Scene

A look at three local stores that recently opened

Sonoran Rose 

Isabel Chiotti and her daughters, Alessandra and Cristina, sell hunt country-cool women’s clothing, accessories and gifts in a rustic space near Potomac Village. You’ll find Cristina’s boho-glam jewelry here, too.

12211 River Road, Potomac, 301-983-0231,

Pink Dot Styles

Preppy, colorful women’s and girls’ jewelry, beachy clothing (caftans, tunics) and bags headline at this bright Kensington newbie. An on-site monogramming machine makes personalizing items easy, too.

3770 Howard Ave., Kensington, 240-558-3474,

Photo by Leslie Katz


In business since 1891, this German body and beauty product store recently debuted in Bethesda, its first D.C.-area location. Expect to see natural lotions and potions including almond blossom bath oil and evening primrose face cream.

Westfield Montgomery mall, Bethesda, 301-760-4292,

Spring to it

Marla Malcolm Beck, 46, the Bethesda-based CEO of beauty mega-chain Bluemercury, loves the brightening aspects of her beauty routine come spring. Here’s what the founder of the 18-year-old skin and cosmetics temple (with 120 U.S. stores, including branches in both Wildwood Shopping Center and Bethesda Row) recommends doing to your face and body when it starts getting warm out.

How does your beauty routine change come spring?

The first thing I do is start exfoliating more. It’s something you need to do when the seasons change, since your skin is evolving. Dead skin cells sit on top of your skin, and if you don’t remove them, it won’t take in moisture. That’s why I created our PowerGlow Peel, a one-minute facial peel in a towelette.

What else can brighten faces after a long winter? 

Get a good bronzer. Start with a lighter one in spring, then go darker as you get a little more sun. I like to mix my bronzer with blush, then put it on my forehead, temples and then cheeks.

What do you recommend for sunscreen in warmer months? 

You should wear sunblock year-round. But in spring and summer, I move to one that’s a straight, physical block, meaning it has titanium or zinc in it to block the rays. My favorite is SkinCeuticals Physical Fusion UV Defense SPF 50. It’s in my kids’ soccer bags and I never play tennis without putting it on.

Any ideas for scaly, pale legs?

Self-tanners can help there, and I’m really into oils now. When spring comes, just put an illuminating body oil on them and you’re ready to go. Moroccanoil makes a nice one.

What cosmetic color trends are you seeing?

Periwinkle nail polish is going to be big. Blues are back in general, but sometimes they look weird on your face—but with nails there’s not that issue. Also, I’m seeing a lot of liquid lipstick, kind of like a cross between a gloss and a lipstick. Bobbi Brown makes them in terrific candy colors.

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