'Tis the season to shop secondhand

April 18, 2015, 6 p.m. | By Eleanor Linafelt | 9 years, 1 month ago

After coming out of a winter that had us all huddled in down jackets and woolen scarves for much longer than we had originally planned, this warm weather is somewhat of a shock, even if it is high time for it to arrive. If you're anything like me, your wardrobe is just as unprepared as you are for the sunny days. When faced with a sudden need for a slew of new outfits, affordable is the way to go. After doing your spring cleaning, head to some of these secondhand stores in the area to get more clothes for less money.

Buffalo Exchange

Buffalo Exchange is a hidden, affordable gem amidst the glitz and glam of the upscale Georgetown neighborhood in Washington, D.C. It's not easy to find; though the small consignment store is located at the heart of Georgetown's shopping area, it's underground and only accessible by a stairwell underneath other storefronts. Buffalo Exchange, which has many locations across the country, including another one in D.C. on 14th Street, selectively buys clothes from people who bring them in. This means that their collection is curated to only what they think will appeal to customers. There's no searching through piles of disorganized t-shirts here; though the clothes are copious, they're well-organized. It's hard to tell that most of their clothing isn't new, aside from the price tags, which aren't quite as low as some thrift stores, but still far below retail price. And even if you're already prepared with your summer dresses and light t-shirts, don't forget to grab some sandals for the quickly-approaching warm days. Buffalo Exchange has a fairly expansive shoe collection as well, with options that are constantly changing.

Buffalo Exchange
3279 M St. NW
Washington, DC 20007
(202) 333-2829

Crossroads Trading Co.

Though it is located in a different shopping hub of D.C., Crossroads Trading Co. has a very similar model to Buffalo Exchange. The store only buys clothes that they feel will sell and that are right for the season, making it a perfect place to stop if you're on the search for clothes fit solely for spring. Most of the clothes run along the same price range as Buffalo Exchange, but Crossroads also has some new items, as well as marked-down designer pieces. The store is organized by color, so it's easy to look just for bright pieces of clothing to take you into spring.

Crossroads Trading Co.
2015 14th St. NW
Washington, DC 20009
(202) 986-9382

Mustard Seed

Mustard Seed is a store in Bethesda, Maryland which sells both secondhand and new clothes. Photo courtesy of Washingtonian.

Once you get out of the District, the secondhand store options are fewer. Mustard Seed is one of the rare suburban gems. Located in downtown Bethesda, Mustard Seed is a longstanding favorite of many. The store has new items at the front, and the more affordable, consignment options in the back. Mustard Seed is small and has fewer clothes than Buffalo Exchange or Crossroads, but that makes it easier to look for items that are just right for spring.

Mustard Seed
7349 Wisconsin Ave
Bethesda, MD 20814
(301) 907-4699

Polly Sue's

Vintage store Polly Sue's is a staple of Old Town Takoma Park. Photo courtesy of Miss..

Another store that is outside of the city is Polly Sue's, a staple of the Takoma Park main street businesses. The store specializes in vintage clothes, which means that their options are older, and usually a bit pricier, than those of the aforementioned shops. If you're in search of a floral springtime dress, look no further than Polly Sue's. The shop is filled with retro dresses from multiple decades, and has a small men's section as well. If you have a little extra money to spend and are looking for something that is truly one-of-the-kind vintage, Polly Sue's is the perfect independent secondhand shop to support.

Polly Sue's
6915 Laurel Ave
Takoma Park, MD 20912
(301) 270-5511

Fia's Fabulous Finds

Heading back into the city, Fia's Fabulous Finds is another small, yet jam-packed consignment shop. In an up-and-coming strip of stores in D.C.'s Petworth neighborhood, this independently-owned secondhand clothing shop is a bit more expensive than others, but only because its clothes are of slightly better quality. The owner constantly brings new clothes in, and always keeps the options complementary to the season. If you're lucky, she'll let you take a trip down to the cramped basement, which is a treasure trove of castaway clothes at much cheaper prices.

Fia's Fabulous Finds
806 Upshur Street
NW Washington, DC 20011
(202) 492-8278

During a season in which nature itself is donning new, colorful, floral garments, so must we. Secondhand shops, whether they be the pricier vintage or the dirt-cheap thrift, are ideal for finding marked-down, one-of-a-kind pieces of clothing that are picked by the business owners just for spring.

Tags: Buffalo Exchange Crossroads Trading Co. Fia's Fabulous Finds Mustard See Polly Sue's

Eleanor Linafelt. Hi there! I'm Eleanor, one of the Editors-in-Chief for SCO this year. I love reading books, playing cello and electric bass, and surfing and swimming at the beach. I am also an Emily Dickinson fanatic. More »

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