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DC Area Vintage/Consignment/Thift LIST

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04 Aug 2008 | 12:33 pm

**Will continue to update after publishing. Link available from the sidebar**

ALRIGHT! After just about an epic amount of metro hopping, money spending, and mental note taking, here is an ULTIMATE LIST OF ULTIMATE DESTINY of DC Metropolitan area vintage/consignment/thift shops. Note that this list is based entirely on personal preference, and accuracy of review is probably heavily skewed by the time of year I researched (June/July, where stock runs thin), and the number of times I visited each shop (from just once to many, many times).

The shops in this list are the ones that I have personally visited. I organized the stores by area, the name of which I used the closet Metro station. Each subsection is in alphabetical order, because if I ordered it based on preference that would be too hard to decide. Also, I did not make subsections for vintage, consignment, and thrift, though based on the shop name and price range, it should be pretty obvious.

Here is a handy-dandy, overly-complicated key!

♂ = carries men's clothing
★ = ones that I personally like

Price range:
$ Yours for a tenner!
$$ Twenty Thirty Fortyish
$$$ High double-digits to 100
$$$$ Exorbitant!

"Treasure to trash" ratio:
* Get your gloves and machetti
** Some rummaging necessary
*** Can usually walk away with something
**** PUT THAT CARD DOWN

Designer goods? None/Some/Many

Arlington

Great area for businesses and secondhand alike.

Georgetown Arlington Flea Market
2100 Clarendon Blvd, Arlington, VA 22201
Price range: $ - $$$
"Treasure to trash" ratio: ***
Designer goods? Some

Pros: Set on parking lot, in flea market setting (duh); great vendor with vintage purses; lots of vendors with antique jewelry
Cons: Only 6-7 vendors, and among those, only 2 are interesting



Current Boutique
2529 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington, VA 22201
Price range: $$ - $$$
"Treasure to trash" ratio: ***
Designer goods? Some

Pros: Consigned clothing at a reasonable price; organized; great handbag/shoe selection; process of consigning is very easy
Cons: Not all that cheap; doesn't stand out in terms of clothing fare



Bethesda

My favorite area for consignment shopping. There is a wide variety of shops and pricings, from staggeringly expensive to dirt cheap and everything else in between. Oh, and also because all these shops are very walkable from the Metro.

Designer Resale
4801 Saint Elmo Ave, Bethesda, MD, 20814
Price range: $$ - $$$$
"Treasure to trash" ratio: ***
Designer goods? See cons

Pros: Can almost always find something interesting; wide variety of pricing (though somewhat arbitrary)
Cons: CARRIES FAKE DESIGNER ITEMS. And also, those items have a discounted, but still substantial price tag (upwards of $100)



Montgomery County Thrift Shop ♂ ★
7125 Wisconsin Ave, Bethesda, MD, 20814
Price range: $ - $$
"Treasure to trash" ratio: *
Designer goods? few

Pros: Large; most items very cheap ($2 dress, anyone?); has a vintage cocktail dress section which carries some interesting avant-garde stuff (priced $20 - $50)
Cons: The NOT dress and shoe sections are mainly junk; potential mysterious stains abound; DOES NOT ACCEPT CREDIT CARDS (bad story behind this)



Mustard Seed ♂ ★
7349 Wisconsin Ave, Bethesda, MD, 20814
Price range: $ - $$$
"Treasure to trash" ratio: ***
Designer goods? Some

Pros: Sells both new and used clothing; consigned stuff goes for a good price point ($5 - $30); organized; can usually find a few goodies here and there; cute accessories and shoes, though few in number
Cons: Sells both new and used clothing; new clothing outnumbers old/at a ripoff price; small store, therefore small selection, quite popular with teenybopper crowd



Second Chance ♂ ★
4920 Fairmont Ave, Bethesda, MD, 20814
Price range: $$ - $$$$ (mainly latter)
"Treasure to trash" ratio: ****
Designer goods? Many

Pros: Carries WIDE VARIETY of designers (including Japanese like Yohji and Issey Miyake, along with Gaultier, St. John, Sonia Rykiel, etc etc); has both avant garde and refined items; non-designer is affordable; organized; large
Cons: Designer names = designer price tags; VERY little non-designer (like, 2 in the whole store); limited shoe selection



Columbia Heights

The gentrified DC neighborhood? There are a couple of small thrift stores dotting the landscape amongst the giant Target/Best Buy complex.

3 Por Tienda ♂ ★
3069 16th St NW, Washington, DC 20009
Price range: $ - $$
"Treasure to trash" ratio: *
Designer goods? Possibly

Pros: Pretty organized and clean for thrift; DIRT DIRT CHEAP ($1 - $7 mostly); can find high quality clothing, like 100% wool coats and nice trenches
Cons: Hit-and-miss as with any thrift; new stock can get a little more expensive (up to $20?)



Dupont Circle

There are a bunch of clothing/trinket stores all along Connecticut Avenue NW.

Secondi
1702 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, DC 20009
Price range: $$ - $$$$
"Treasure to trash" ratio: ***
Designer goods? Some

Pros: Carries lots of consigned designer labels, which are well edited and diverse
Cons: The stock has gone through a revamp in recent times, it's mainly all designer, with some affordable things here and there. Consignment has been going high-end!

Second Affair Consignments
1904 18th St NW # A, Washington, DC 20009
Price range: $$ - $$$$
"Treasure to trash" ratio: **
Designer goods? Some

Pros: Has sizable rack of furs; old-lady sequins abounds in the back
Cons: TINY space reminiscent of a small closet; prices kind of a rip-off; stock not terribly interesting



Eastern Market

High tourist traffic area with a flea market and stands upon stands of fresh produce. This area is very safe, but tread outside it and you're in Southeast DC area, known for being somewhat dangerous (it's no Baltimore, though).

Clothes Encounters of a Second Kind
202 7th Street SE, Washington, DC 20003 (do NOT use Google Maps, they are WRONG -- it's right next to Port City Java very close to the flea market)
Price range: $$ - $$$$
"Treasure to trash" ratio: **
Designer goods? Some

Pros: Large and jumbly
Cons: Clothes suit more an older audience; the "interesting clothes" (ie crazy jackets and prom dresses) are way expensive


The Remix Vintage Fashion Shop ♂ ★
645 Pennsylvania Ave SE, Washington, DC 20003
Price range: $$$ - $$$$
"Treasure to trash" ratio: ****
Designer goods? Some

Pros: The whole store is fairly covetable; stocks very nice cocktail dresses and jackets; two levels; well organized (by size)
Cons: Not much in way of everyday clothing (unless you wear cocktail dresses everyday, then by all means); stock is pricey, especially with the coats



Falls Church


Clock Tower Thrift Shop
2860 Annandale Rd, Falls Church, VA 22042
Price range: $ - $$
"Treasure to trash" ratio: *
Designer goods? Who knows

Pros: Medium-sized and crammed with stuff; lots of cute, kitschy items near the front
Cons: Mysterious stains; hit-and-miss like any thrift; everything seems oversized (in a bad way)



Unique Thrift Store ♂ ★
2950 Gallows Rd, Falls Church, VA 22042 (walk about a mile from Dunn Loring station)
Price range: $ - $$$
"Treasure to trash" ratio: **
Designer goods? Some

Pros: GARGANTUAN thrift store; relatively clean and organized for its kind; endless selection of clothing; great shoes; has shopping carts; thrifter's dream
Cons: Pricing cheap, but not astronomically so (sometimes $50 coats, sequins); no fitting rooms

Note: Read my extensive Yelp review here, it will give you a better idea




Gaithersburg, MD

My home town. Unfortunately, you have to drive to get to these, as this area is not really in the scope of the Metro (5-10 miles away from Shady Grove Station)

Chic to Chic
15900 Luanne Dr, Gaithersburg, MD 20877 (next to Gaithersburg Power Center Plaza)
Price range: $$ - $$$$
"Treasure to trash" ratio: ***
Designer goods? Some

Pros: Excellent deals on designer handbags/shoes; non-designer very reasonably priced; organized; signing up for their mailing list can get you great coupons
Cons: Not really Metro accessible; mostly hit-or-miss (hits are HITS though); designer stuff at reduced, but still expensive prices (i.e. $400 LV shoes)

Note: Similar to Second Chance, except smaller, but carries more non-designer/cheap items.



Life4Animals Thrift ♂ ★
15938 Luanne Dr, Gaithersburg, MD 20877 (next to Gaithersburg Power Center Plaza)
Price range: $ - $$
"Treasure to trash" ratio: **
Designer goods? Some

Pros: Mid-sized thrift shop; designer selection separated from the rest of the thrift portion; vintage picks scattered throughout; for a good cause (visit web site to see why); occasionally has amazing sales; fairly well organized
Cons: VERY hit and miss



Tina's Consignment Shop Inc
289 Muddy Branch Rd, Gaithersburg, MD 20878 (in the Festival at Muddy Branch Plaza)
Price range: $ - $$
"Treasure to trash" ratio: *
Designer goods? None

Pros: Almost nothing in here over $10; can find a gem if you look hard enough
Cons: Bring your shovel and fine-toothed comb, because you'll have to DIG; quite disorganized; large majority of stock is crap (though that makes it even more wonderful when you get a good find); not really Metro accessible



Georgetown (Foggy Bottom station)

Georgetown is as much a shopping mecca as possible in Washington DC. Basically, M Street and Wisconsin Avenue NW are chock FULL of high end, high street, antiques, the works. You can take a bus from Foggy Bottom to Georgetown, or walk about a mile.

Annie Creamcheese ♂ ★
3279 M St NW, Washington, DC 20007
Price range: $$$ - $$$$
"Treasure to trash" ratio: ***
Designer goods? Some

Pros: Has very interesting vintage dresses; large; organized by color; designer and non-designer are separated; kitschy vibe (I like that, for some reason)
Cons: Prices are, for the most part, kind of a rip-off. Unfortunately, there are many an article of clothing I would buy, but refrained from doing so because I couldn't justify spending the money. If you can afford designer, I'd go for that since relatively speaking, the discounts are not bad ($400 for a YSL le smoking seems reasonable)


Secondhand Rose
1516 Wisconsin Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20007
Price range: $$ - $$$$
"Treasure to trash" ratio: ***
Designer goods? Many

Pros: Many conservative designer brands (Escada, St. John, et. al) for a fairly reasonable price; separate sale section with good deals
Cons: Very expensive when no sale (price ranges in hundreds typically); selection either sequin-y or conservative, which I guess is a plus if you're looking for that, but you can still find stuff like that cheaper elsewhere



Second Time Around
3289 M St NW, Washington, DC 20007
Price range: $$ - $$$$
"Treasure to trash" ratio: **
Designer goods? Many

Pros: Very organized, expansive space; carefully edited selection of designer labels
Cons: Expensive/rip-off; conservative style



Vintage No. 5 ♂ ★
1083 Wisconsin Ave, Washington, DC 20007
Price range: $ - $$$
"Treasure to trash" ratio: ***
Designer goods? Some

Note: I work here! Hahaha.



Rockville/White Flint

The Metro stops Rockville and White Flint are home to a number of worn down shops and businesses, all along the brutal Rockville Pike. As a warning, though: while all the shops are walkable, it ain't no stroll in the park. I feel like the cars are even more ruthless than those in a big city; I mean, at least city drivers expect pedestrians. The prices in this area, however, are definitely worth the trek, I think.

Goodwill Industries ♂ ★
4890 Boiling Brook Pkwy, Rockville, MD 20852 (walk from White Flint)
Price range: $ - $$
"Treasure to trash" ratio: **
Designer goods? Some

Pros: Large; very cheap (all categories of clothing conform to the same price, ie sweaters $5); organized by color; nice selection of vintage-looking dresses, blazers and winter coats
Cons: Good selection is seasonal -- around summer there's tons of stuff, but around Nov/Dec the space is desolate




The Ritz Consignment

5014 Nicholson Ln, Rockville, MD 20852 (walk from White Flint)
Price range: $$ - $$$$
"Treasure to trash" ratio: ***
Designer goods? Many

Pros: HEAVILY discounted designer items (see note); has the occasional interesting brand, like Jil Sander; spacious; boutique atmosphere (though still friendly); meticulously organized by clothing category; has nice seating area for dragged along boyfriends and/or family members
Cons: Random and inconsistent pricing; not much in way of avant-garde, but still has chic and wearable stuff; carries mainly matronly brands like St. John and Ferragamo

Note: Okay, I cannot confirm this, but I suspect that the Ritz may carry counterfeits. Or else I don't know how to explain how an Emporio Armani jacket is only $30 while a simple Alice + Olivia t-shirt is $45. I'm turning a blind eye to this one, however. Oh, and also, there is a costume/dance store called Repeat Performance in the same plaza, so if you do want a kitschy fix, you can hit two birds with one stone.


Takoma Park

Despite its reputation, Old Town Takoma is actually a charming residential/consignment shopping area, at least during the day. I like this area because, essentially, what you can find in Annie Creamcheese you can find in Takoma area shops for a fraction of the price. Get ready to do some walking, however.

Glad Rags Consignment Shop Inc ♂ ★ CLOSED. :(
7306 Carroll Ave, Takoma Park, MD 20912
Price range: $$ - $$$
"Treasure to trash" ratio: ***
Designer goods? Some

Pros: Charming kitschy atmosphere; organized by color (funnn); carries diverse and interesting clothing; appeals to both vintage and modern tastes; seems in line with the seasons (as in, they're getting fall stuff in now, and the spring stuff is on sale)
Cons: Pricing kinda random and inconsistent; have to walk quite a distance from the Metro

Note: Glad Rags is like a smaller, cheaper Annie Creamcheese, minus the piles of 80s prom dresses.



Moonshadow Antiques
7000 Carroll Ave, Takoma Park, MD 20912
Price range: $$ - $$$
"Treasure to trash" ratio: ***
Designer goods? Some

Pros: ADORABLE jewelry and hats; similar to Polly Sue's in that it has actual vintage from different eras
Cons: All the earrings are clip-ons, which is a letdown if you have pierced ears; hats don't really fit heads; UNLIKE Polly Sue's, the store is very small, but the same complaint applies: has covet-able, but not all that buy-able pieces. Although maybe I was feeling stingy that day.

Note: Speaking of which, what is with vintage hats and shoes being so damn small?! I mean, I consider my head to be pretty normal-sized, but rarely can I squeeze my cranium into a cute vintage hat. Did people back then just have tiny heads or something?



Polly Sue's Vintage Shop ♂ ★
6915 Laurel Ave, Takoma Park, MD, 20912
Price range: $$ - $$$
"Treasure to trash" ratio: ***
Designer goods? Some

Pros: Carries ACTUAL vintage items from many different eras (even the Victorian era!); organized; has neat and affordable selection of vintage cocktail dresses; has two floors; has cute pins; charming atmosphere
Cons: The older the item is, the more you have to pay (that may seem counter-intuitive, but we're talking ornate Victorian jackets, so that's reasonable). Can't really think of anything bad, but while a lot of it was covet-able, much of it wasn't that buy-able (as in, I didn't really want to buy some poly-acetate dress that you can't really incorporate into daily wear) Of course, if you are into these types of dresses then I highly recommend.



Reruns CLOSED.
7001 Carroll Ave, Takoma Park, MD 20912
Price range: $$$ unless there's a sale
"Treasure to trash" ratio: **
Designer goods? None

Pros: Good prices when there's a sale
Cons: Non-sale items kind of a ripoff

Note: It's hard to write a review for this place, because it mainly carries hippie-ish clothes, which aren't really my thing. If you like boho skirts and tie-dye t-shirts, then head on over there.



U Street/Adams Morgan

U Street, the center for all that's hip and happenin'! Unfortunately, I didn't find the shops to be terribly exciting. Mediocre stock and rip-off prices abounds. For the same slightly-run-down atmosphere, one would have better luck in Takoma Park.

Junction
1510 U St NW, Washington, DC 20009
Price range: $$ - $$$
"Treasure to trash" ratio: **
Designer goods? Some

Pros: Boutique atmosphere, nice selection of luggage cases
Cons: Small space, rip-off prices



L&N Superthrift Store
1830 14th St NW, Washington, DC 20009
Price range: $ - $$
"Treasure to trash" ratio: *
Designer goods? Who knows

Pros: Cramped and squished beyond belief, so there's probably something good in there; good selection of bicycles; $150 flat-screen TV?
Cons: Mysterious stains; impossible to find stuff if you're not EXTREEMELY patient; mostly good for electronics and bicycles, not clothes



Martha's Outfitters ♂ ★
2114 14th St NW, Washington, DC 20009
Price range: $ - $$$
"Treasure to trash" ratio: **
Designer goods? Yes

Pros: Organized and well-kept; profits go to charity Martha's Table; run by young people who know their designer brands (and there is plenty of that)
Cons: Only open 8AM - 2PM; High-end luxury designer is still more expensive ($100+ for YSL)



Meeps Vintage Fashionette
2104 18th St NW, Washington, DC 20009
Price range: $$ - $$$

"Treasure to trash" ratio: **
Designer goods? Some

Pros: Large rack o' vintage prom-dress like outfits, fairly charming space
Cons: Pricing kind of a rip-off

Note: I don't know if it's the time of year I went, but I found the place to be rather blah. Nothing terribly exciting to offer, and the prices weren't even that great ($20 for leggings? Puh-leeze)


Smash Records
2314 18th St NW (2nd Floor), Washington, DC 20009
Price range: $$ - $$$
"Treasure to trash" ratio: ***
Designer goods? Possibly

Pros: Part punk records shop, part punk/vintage clothing store; well edited vintage selection; reasonable prices; has some hard-to-find (new) punk shoe brands
Cons: Clothing section small and not the main "point" of the shop. If you are a "punk records nerd", however, this is the place for you.




Etc Locations


Georgia Avenue Thrift Store ♂ ★
6101 Georgia Ave NW, Washington, DC 20011
Price range: $ - $$
"Treasure to trash" ratio: **
Designer goods? Possibly

Pros: Fairly spacious thrift store; has some vintage along with the thrift; long hours and takes credit cards
Cons: Typical hit-and-miss nature of thrift store. This one's selection is pretty good, though


Unique Bazaar
12211 Veirs Mill Rd, Wheaton, MD 20915
Price range: $ - $$
"Treasure to trash" ratio: *
Designer goods? Possibly

Pros: Another gargantuan thrift store
Cons: Overcrowded with hipsters; selection not as good as Unique Thrift in Falls Church




Of course, despite this list's robustness, I have only just scratched the surface of the hundreds upon hundreds of secondhand shops. Be sure to look on Yelp for a more extensive listing.


And here's a cleaned up, organized table version (easier for comparison).

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