When the new Garfinckel's Department Store opened in the late 1920s at 14th and F streets, it had already garnered a reputation for quality and elegance at its earlier location, farther east on F Street. Its new store retained these qualities. As the foremost department store designer of the day, Starrett and Van Vleck of New York City based its design for Garfinckel's on its earlier successes such as Lord and Taylor, Abercrombie and Fitch, and Saks Fifth Avenue in the firm's home city. These buildings and the new Garfinckel's were constructed of smooth limestone and trimmed in classical detailing. The classical proportions and motifs were simplified and abstracted to bring them up to date.
Above the base with its large display windows, the third to the seventh floors were designed with a smooth stone surface and small windows, all crowned with an architrave. The eighth and ninth floors are set back from the front plane of the structure.