Growing up in the suburbs of northern New Jersey, I was surrounded by giant malls with high-end department stores, Manhattan fashionistas, and wealthy suburbanites who took clothing very seriously. Sharing their love for style, I ogled over highly priced garments that I would never be able to afford. I remember making a pact with a friend in high school that we would save $10 a week to buy extravagant Manolo Blahnik shoes. Unfortunately, neither of us followed through on the pact.
One day, when I walked into a tiny consignment shop with an enticing window display, the world of malls and department stores quickly dissolved away. It was there that I discovered the possibility of having an incredible, unique, and stylish wardrobe at a totally reasonable price. Fast-forward to today and nearly my entire closet is filled with consignment shop pieces, from my black leather Tory Burch boots to my silk anthropologie dresses.
Are you an avid consignment shopper? Whether your answer is yes or no, I invite you to explore the world of consignment shopping with me. I know that consignment shopping can be daunting. Thoughts like, “they only have old clothing” or “they won’t have the things I like in my size,” run through our heads.
Please pause here and release all consignment judgment for a moment! High end consignment shopping is a trend that has taken off in recent years. If you take a look around, you’ll notice stores sprouting up in every urban and major suburban area. Most consignment shops only accept new or lightly worn, seasonally appropriate clothing (as well as shoes and handbags). Those of you thinking of those stinky, disorganized shops that carry the clothes you donated ten years ago, are thinking of thrift shops; there is a major difference between the two.
Before leaving Washington D.C., I feel it is essential to review a few of my favorite consignment spots.
Secondi is a Dupont Circle staple, sitting on the second floor of a beautifully ornate D.C. corner (see first image). For the past 3.5 years I have found many unique pieces at Secondi as well as consigned my own clothing to them. If you are a first time consigner, you will need to schedule an appointment far in advance. After that point, you can simply drop off the garments you are looking to sell (with the understanding that the items they don’t put out on the floor will be donated). Serving D.C. women since 1986, Secondi has left its mark.
D.C. shoppers know that Georgetown is the place to go when they’re looking for retail therapy. Luckily, the consignment trend has caught on there as well. One of my favorite hidden spots is Ella-Rue. Tucked on quiet P Street, off of Wisconsin Avenue, Ella-Rue is always a delight to explore. If you have a special occasion to attend, Ella-Rue is filled with designer gowns and dresses. Its’ small, intimate setting and friendly staff makes it feel as if you are shopping with your girlfriends.
A new addition to Wisconsin Avenue is REDDz Trading. Pricing is fair and with consignors from Georgetown, you are likely to find something good in the racks. I also want to mention REDDz Trading because they will pay you in cash for your clothing and you don’t have to make an appointment to bring things in.
If you’ve never set foot in a consignment shop, I encourage you to try it on for size. It truly is an enchanting world of vibrancy and style possibility!