If shopping at fast-fashion stores is cramping your spring style, venture into these local second-hand shops. Though they may satisfy your sartorialist cravings at less-than-retail value, be warned: Unique designer cast-offs still don’t come cheap.
Located in the heart of Adams Morgan – on the same street as a record store and the Duplex Diner – Meeps is a hipster haven. Meeps reinforces the neighborhood feel of Adams Morgan, with its calendar of events hanging in the shop that lists goings-on from film screenings to a “Palentine’s Day Party.”
The shop’s display window showcases its most unique pieces and offers a peek into the open, modern interior, which defies the chaos of most vintage shops. Wandering past the racks of graphic tees, sequin tanks and silk pants, you’ll find the costume room, full of anything from NROTC uniforms to sparkly hats that’ll complete any costume.
Pros: Location says it all. The artsy feel of Adams Morgan makes the store brimming with ties, bags, ’80s jewelry and classic “ugly” sweaters a hidden gem. If you’re looking for that one-of-a-kind vintage piece, this is your place. Trying things on in the costume room is also an amusing way to spend any Saturday afternoon. And don’t forget to check the $5 bin.
Cons: With a commitment to vintage comes a commitment to price, and this is no beginner’s thrift shop. While jewelry prices start at $5, sweaters are usually around $30 to $50, and costume items are also on the pricier end.
Georgetown and Logan Circle
Packed with H&M and Forever 21 throwbacks, Buffalo Exchange’s basement-level location in the heart of Georgetown gives this store its underground feel. The store has a friendly staff and is packed with both men and women’s attire, ranging from graphic tees to blazers to crazy socks. It’s almost like a suburban Marshalls – except everything’s used.
Pros: With the clothes and every accessory under the sun in great condition, this is a great place to go if Georgetown prices scare you. Most items cost between $10 and $30.
Cons: Not the place for that elusive gnome sweater. Depending on your feelings about corporate thrift, it may be a con that Buffalo Exchange is a chain – there are two in D.C. alone. There’s also a pretty strict return policy – five days maximum with receipt for store credit – so shop wisely.
The bright yellow walls highlight the racks and racks of clothing, spanning from evening dresses, Kate Spade heels, retro rain boots and an occasional last-season J. Crew cardigan. This consignment shop balances a mix of both vintage and gently used newer items, located in a second-story shop right in Dupont. Inside, the racks are impressively full with a wide range of brands, prices and styles. The crowd ranges from regulars to tourists shopping near Embassy Row.
Pros: The variety of selection here is impeccable, and everything is in great condition. The staff is friendly and helpful, knowing its clientele well enough to suggest specific items for any occasion. Don’t forget to check the jewelry counter – the mirrors are designed by D.C. artists..
Cons: Don’t fall in love with that leather jacket without looking at the price tag. While some items are more affordable than others, be mindful that the designer heels you’ve been eyeing are still upwards of $50.