Monday, November 15, 2010

where I thrift

Tamina asked where I shop for vintage, so I thought I'd do a roundup of the various DC-area vintage and thrift stores I frequent.

For starters, as far as I'm concerned there is one place you should absolutely be going, if you love vintage and you live in DC.

Polly Sue's is my absolute favorite. They have fantastic clothes, they're not too expensive, the women who own it are friendly and knowledgeable. There are other vintage stores in DC, but for my money Polly Sue's is the very best.

Let me also put in a good word for Moonshadow Antiques, right down the street from Polly Sue's. Moonshadow had a smaller selection of clothes, but I've found some nice things there, and they're great for accessories. There's also Rerun, on the same block, but they lean more 60s/70s (and they smell like patchouli).

There are a few vintage stores in DC proper-- I've been to Meeps in Adams Morgan, which is good but a bit more expensive than Polly Sue's. I've also been to Annie Creamcheese in Georgetown, which I found HUGELY overrated-- lousy selection, nothing from the eras I wear, and massively overpriced to boot.

So that's vintage. Now, as for thrift stores-- this might only be useful for folks who spend time in and around College Park. I mostly thrift close to home, in Langley Park, White Oak, and Bladensburg. The Value Village at 2277 University Boulevard (right near the intersection of University and Riggs) is my home base, the place I shop the most. They have three full aisles of dresses, which is more than any other thrift store in the area, and they're not bad for skirts and blouses. They can be overpriced, though, especially clothes from "good" brand names like Banana Republic.

I very rarely find real vintage there-- mostly I buy vintage-styled clothes from labels like Ann Taylor Loft and Isaac Mizrahi for Target. This is the case for most thrift stores in the area-- very little real vintage, but you can put together a vintage look if you shop carefully.

Another favorite is the two big thrift stores side-by-side at 10121 New Hampshire Ave in White Oak. These stores are probably the easiest to find for people coming from outside the area-- just get off the Beltway at New Hampshire, head north, and they're in the first big shopping center on the right. These stores, a Unique Thrift and another Value Village, are gigantic (and have dressing rooms!), and you can spend half a day shopping between the two of them. The don't have as many dresses as the University store, but they have a pretty good selection overall, and are less likely to randomly overprice things. Be sure to go on Mondays or Thursdays, when there's a 25% discount.

My other favorite is a bit of a hike, even for me: Village Thrift at 4960 Annapolis Rd. I do find good vintage here from time to time-- or at least I used to. Sadly, the selection is not what it used to be. They're down to one aisle of dresses, from three. But they do have dressing rooms, and I find good stuff there periodically. Also, they're a few doors down from my favorite bakery in the area-- they make carrot cake cupcakes with cream cheese frosting that are totally incredible.

So that's the rundown. These aren't the only places I get vintage-- I often get a lot of clothes from DC Big Flea (the next one's in January! Who's in?) and from estate and yard sales. But those are all the places I shop at regularly. If you want to go on a thrifting expedition, let me know!


  1. Hello! I'm not sure how I found your blog but I was so excited to find another DC area lady who loves vintage. We just moved here last summer and this guide is very helpful. Thanks for posting it! What is this Big Flea you speak of?

  2. DC Big Flea is an antiques-and-vintage flea market held every couple of months at the Dulles Expo Center in Chantilly. It's really, really good, and you should totally go! The next one is January 8-9.

  3. Oh my! That sounds delightful!

  4. Thanks for the info! Very helpful! I always want to go to the Big Fleas, but I'm carless, which makes it difficult. If anyone wanted to carpool sometime, I'd help pay for gas and bring tasty homemade treats!

  5. I am actually going to visit a friend in DC in January...might need to have her take me to the Big flea :0

  6. Thanks for this! I have a hard time finding great thrift in DC.

    PS Following you! :)