Monday, October 24, 2011

Best Thrift & Consignment Shops in DMV

Hey Lovelies,
We all want our own unique style to be showcased and sometimes we don't always want people to know where we got those fabulous earrings from. But if you are like Yvonne and I, more than likely, you shop the underground stores before hitting the mainstream racks. The styles in DC have drastically evolved and fashionistos and fashionistas are seeking unique finds to make them stand out from the rest. This can be achieved from frequenting thrift and consignment shops, which is a major "do" for the budget fashionista as well.

If visiting thrift shops, I suggest going to stores in more suburban areas such as Potomac, Md or Gaithersburg, Md as they may have better quality and designer finds. From my travels, they say Mondays are the best week day to go because new stuff is shipped in.
Here are some of the best ones from Washingtonian magazine:

Best for fashionistas: Grace & Kelli. The boutique ambiance hints at the sticker shock here: Handbags from Ferragamo, Prada, Chanel, and Gucci can run more than $1,000, suits from Akris, Burgamo, and Diane von Furstenburg $100 to $300. But the 30- to 40-percent discount on the latest fashions lure many—and prices drop 25 percent after two months. Online store shows and sells some of the shop’s clothing.

Best for urbanites: Secondi. In the oft-updated selection of clothing, shoes, and handbags you’ll find designer labels like Fendi, Louis Vuitton, and Gucci. A great place to look for party dresses.

Best for socialites: Inga’s Once Is Not Enough. The place for such high-end finds as fur coats, Tuleh dresses, and Manolo Blahnik stilettos. The Chanel section is particularly impressive, as is the hidden back room with haute handbags. While prices may seem high, everything is in excellent shape; some items still have tags from Neiman Marcus.

Best for ladies who lunch: Encore Resale Dress Shop. This longtime favorite with socialites offers a good selection of conservative but dressy couture, evening wear, and furs. Prices are most competitive in the everyday category, and don’t miss the $1 bin where an opera-going velvet gown recently landed.

Best for career women: Fashion Exchange. A great selection of professional and casually elegant outfits. The small shop has a few upmarket designers like St. John, Christian Lacroix, and Carolina Herrera, but most racks contain mid-range separates for as low as $15. Handbags and shoes run to the practical and lower-priced, with a few justifiably costly items like a beautiful Prada purse for $350.

Best for power lunchers: The Ritz. Pricey knit suits dominate, with more than 200 by St. John on a recent visit, but the prices on those—average $300—are still one-third below retail. The shop stocks conservative designers—Chanel, Hermès (scarves and men’s ties too), Louis Vuitton—as well as a small selection of furs and casually elegant separates.

Best for your first job: Clothes Encounters. Lots of young Hill staffers head here. The prices are low, and the selection skews toward business attire: jackets, pantsuits, conservative dresses.

Best for a (discounted) splurge: Second Chance. This small shop doesn’t have truly cheap finds, but you may spot an Yves Saint Laurent dress or Ferragamo shoes at a discount. If the gently used designer finds are still out of range, visit during twice-yearly sales.

Best for stylish everyday wear: Current Boutique. There are some designer pieces at this shop, which stocks new and consigned items, but the emphasis is on mid-price brands—think Banana Republic or Seven jeans. Fun jewelry, too.

Best for dressing up: Chic to Chic. The chandelier says it all: couture clothing mixed with great service. Power suits mingle with sexy separates. Eveningwear from Moschino, Max Studio, James Perse, and Versace offers the best choices—with bargains like a $98 Nicole Miller cocktail dress. Lots of items are new because the owner shops retail sales.

Best for European flair: New to You. French rock sets the scene for hard-to-find couture—like a Thakoon evening jacket ($369) and a Roland Mouret jacket ($520). The style is largely for young, well-heeled hipsters looking for True Religion, Seven, and Citizens of Humanity jeans at one-third below retail, but professional women can find sophisticated or sexy separates, handbags, and shoes. Don’t miss the fine jewelry, which recently included a pair of 18-karat Cartier hoops for $1,645 ($1,000 off retail).

Best for teens: Mustard Seed. Though the consignment selection can be hit-or-miss, prices are good, and there are always plenty of jeans to peruse—with patience, you’re likely to find a good pair, no matter your age. The store also sells vintage and new items.

Best vibe: Diva Boutique. Housed in a lovely three-level Old Town rowhouse, owner Cindy McCartney’s shop is as cheery as she is. She sets out candy and other goodies for shoppers as they browse the well-edited selection of designer dresses, jeans, shoes, handbags, and more.

Best for wide selection: Carousel Consignments. From $15 Ann Taylor slacks to mid-price evening wear to $400 Chanel suits, this is a one-stop shop for top designers and affordable brands—and the discounts are some of the best around. The friendly staff will help you pick through the selection.
Credit: Washingtonian


Some others that I like:

Annie Creamcheese
3279 M St. NW Washington DC 20007
Pretty People - new shop (and lower prices) from the owner of Annie Creamcheese
108 N. Patrick St. Alexandria, VA 22314
Value Village
Various locations...but the one in Silver Spring and Hyattsville, MD are good!
Georgia Ave Thrift
6101 Georgia Avenue NW Washington DC 20011
 Vintage Darling
3423 14th Street NW, Washington, DC 20010

Some rules:
  • Inspect! Make sure you inspect each article of clothing for tears, holes, or missing buttons/zippers. You can ask for a discount if there are any malfunctions.
  • Be patient! You will need to search and dig since there is sooo much merchandise! No worries, you may just find it when you feel like giving up.
  • Don't pass up the jewelry case! OMG thrift and consigment jewelry is some of the BEST unique peices. I have a bunch of stuff from thrift shops and I love them all!
  • Clean/Tailor! This is a must for used clothing. Always make sure you take your new items to the cleaners or get them fitted by a tailor. The best part of thrifting is that you can buy it big, but just have it proportioned to your body and you're set!
  • Have fun! Bring your best friend so you girls can shop together and give each other advice on key peices.

Can't wait for me and Yvonne to hit up some of these shops!!

Have fun shopping!!! You're bound to find that perfect little something!



  1. Thanks for this, I live in DC so its great to have some options.