The Art of Thrifting


Image via Old Town Boutique District

Ever since I can remember, I have loved the art of “thrifting.”  In high school, my best friend, Anna, and I would scour our local Salvation Army for gently worn Ralph Lauren polo shirts, which we would proceed to wear with the collars popped, naturally. In college, the Goodwill in good ole Harrisonburg, VA was a mecca, not only for theme party paraphernalia, but also for jorts (jean shorts) and vintage tees. I still cling to a 1984 Harrisonburg 5k long sleeved t-shirt that I snagged at Goodwill in 2006 and the one time that my mom tried to send it back to Goodwill , I almost had a fit.  Since I started a jewelry business with my best friend, hitting up thrift stores to find old bracelets/necklaces to deconstruct is one of my favorite past times.  I guess you could say that I have grown up learning to appreciate other people’s junk.

Since moving to DC, I have managed to find a few favorite thrift (and/or consignment) stores that bring me back to the days of searching for the perfect (pre-worn) polo, so I thought I would share.


Image via Ella Rue

I have to start by introducing Ella Rue.  Located at 3231 P Street NW, DC, this store was opened in Fall 2010 by my friend Krista Johnson.  It features mostly high end, consigned items from the closets of DC’s most well dressed women.  Any place that sells (gently used) Christian Louboutin heels for $200 is a place worth checking out… am I right, ladies? Yes, you heard right…. I bought my first pair of Loubs at my first trip to Ella Rue back in 2010 for a mere $200 and never looked back.

Another great thrift store in DC is Buffalo Exchange, which has two locations in the District (1318 14th St NW and 3279 M Street NW).   Buffalo Exchange has trendy, affordable pieces that you could find at Urban Outfitters, Zara, or Forever 21, but also has some hidden treasures in the form of designer sunglasses and shoes.  As I have mentioned before, Buffalo Exchange also has a great buying program that gives you 30% of the item’s value in cash or 50% in store credit.  My only tip: if you are going to sell items, get there 5-10 minutes before the store opens so you are first in line!

The last store is called Mint Condition and is actually located in the adorable Old Town, Alexandria, VA (specifically at 103 S. Asaph Street).  It helps that the owner of the M.C., Toni, is one of the cutest people ever. Aside from that, I  love the cozy feel of the store (located in an old row house) and the bright colored clothing that fills the racks.  This is the perfect place to find a dress for your spring and summer weddings.

Please let me know if there are any thrift/consignment stores in the DC area that I must visit. I’d love to know!
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  • Reply June 21, 2013


    Hi Lauren!
    Thought you might like to visit our store. We are located in Vienna, VA, just off route 66 Nutley Street exit.
    Great article!

  • Reply July 10, 2013


    Jennifer— would love to!! Thanks for the info.