What Washington Vintage and Consignment Stores Are Buying Right Now
Cleared out your closet in honor of the new year? We’ve got tips on how to turn a profit on your barely worn goods.
It’s Vintage Darling in Columbia Heights is on the hunt for Navajo print pieces. Photograph by Erik Uecke
It’s eleven days into 2012, and those resolutions are (miraculously) still sticking. You’re a regular at the gym every morning. The office sweets hold no power over you. You’ve even tried—and rocked—one of our fun fashion risks. Most important, you’ve cleaned out your overstuffed closet and vowed to finally part ways with those snakeskin pleather pants that still have the tags on. But what to do with the heap of once-loved clothing now sitting on your bedroom floor? The answer’s easy: Sell the items to a local consignment or vintage shop. To help streamline the process (and ensure you get the best value for your pieces), we asked Washington-area secondhand shops for the skinny on what they’re currently seeking, what they’ve got more than enough of, and just how big your cut will be.
3443 14th St., NW; 202-588-9039
Black-Eyed Susie specializes in funky, fun items that can be worn to the office and to the bar. Sought-after brands include Urban Outfitters, Anthropologie, Ann Taylor, and J.Crew. The store is still taking winter items and will begin accepting spring fashion in mid-February to late March.
In demand: High-waisted skirts, layerable tops, big sunglasses, men’s items with a lean look (skinny ties, tailored button-downs) charm necklaces, and one-of-a-kind jewelry.
Don’t bother bringing: Jeans, suit pants, or generic sweaters.
Payment: The consigner receives 40 percent of the selling price; you’ll be paid by check.
Do I need an appointment? Yes; e-mail email@example.com for Wednesday through Friday availability.
It’s Vintage Darling
3423 14th St., NW; 202-525-1327
Leave your Banana Republic Sweaters at home—this chic rowhouse turned boutique wants your coolest vintage finds from the ’40s through the early ’90s. This spot is currently looking to add winter and winter-spring transitional items to its well-curated collection of quirky pieces and wardrobe staples with a twist.
In demand: Navajo-print items, babydoll dresses, Frye boots, vintage designer handbags, and statement costume jewelry. Also seeking men’s items with a collegiate style (varsity cardigans or jackets), leather jackets, and men’s accessories (cufflinks, hats, gloves).
Don’t bother bringing: Vintage T-shirts, suits (unless they’re Chanel), anything contemporary, or project pieces. All items should be in ready-to-sell condition.
Payment: Chosen pieces will be bought outright; you’ll receive cash or a check on the spot. Pricing is determined on a case-by-case basis. Some higher-end or designer items may be taken on consignment.
Do I need an appointment? No, It’s Vintage Darling takes walk-ins Tuesday through Friday.
Second Time Around
3289 M St., NW; 202-333-2355
Looking to unload the workwear you bought in your younger years? This is your spot. The consignment chain is a mecca of contemporary, on-trend pieces perfect for the young professional looking to spice up her work outfits. STA is wrapping up its winter consignment now, and will begin accepting transitional and spring items in early February.
In demand: Animal-print anything; dresses in bold colors with unusual cuts; bead-embellished tops; light cardigans; designer denim, handbags, and scarves.
Don’t bother bringing: Vintage pieces, bathing suits, low-end basics (think Old Navy tanks) or items older than two years (exceptions are made for accessories).
Payment: The consigner receives 40 percent of the selling price, and will be paid quarterly by check. Checks of $100 or more will automatically be mailed. All other checks need to be picked up in-store.
Do I need an appointment? You can schedule an appointment or simply drop off clothes for Second Time Around to sort through. If you drop off, be aware that anything not accepted will be automatically donated.
7349 Wisconsin Ave.; 301-907-4699; mustardseedshop.com
When you need a one-stop-drop option for everything from your Target sweaters to that not-quite-your-style Prada bag, check out Mustard Seed. The shop accepts all brands, as well as some vintage items, as long as the pieces are in good condition and were bought within the past two years. Keep in mind that this spot buys and sells according to the weather, so now is not the time to try to unload your extensive collection of sundresses and stripey sandals.
In demand: Winter coats, boots (particularly Nine West and Steve Madden), jeans, scarves, belts, and costume jewelry.
Don’t bother bringing: Kids’ clothing or formal wear (tuxes, men’s suits, bridal gowns, bridesmaid dresses, fancy cocktail dresses).
Payment: The consigner receives 50 percent of the selling price; you’ll be paid with cash up front.
Do I need an appointment? Yes. Be sure to book your appointment online ahead of time—Mustard Seed doesn’t accept walk-ins, and slots fill up fast.
2529 Wilson Blvd.; 703-528-3079; 1009 King St.; 703-549-2272; 1809 14th St.; 202-588-7311
With three locations to choose from (the DC location is on 14th Street), Current Boutique has an always-changing inventory, but the focus—bold pieces with a timeless look—remains consistent. Cocktail dresses are a staple at every Current.
In demand: Date dresses, fur, animal-print pieces, silk blouses, denim, designer handbags, vintage jewelry, and eye-catching clutches.
Don’t bother bringing: Vintage costume jewelry, outdated items, or scuffed shoes.
Payment: The consigner receives 50 percent of the selling price; you will be paid by check three months after bringing your items to the store. You can call before then to see if your pieces have sold.
Do I need an appointment? No! Walk-ins are welcome and encouraged at all locations.
Diva Designer Consignment
116 S. Pitt St.; 703-683-1022
Leave the stiff business suits and ultra-conservative shoes at home, and bring in your classic pieces with an edge. All women’s designer items are welcome, from Banana Republic to Chanel.
In demand: Transitional items, dresses, handbags, and shoes (especially boots).
Don’t bother bringing: Basic suits, furs, jewelry (Diva sells its own brand of jewelry in-store), or anything extremely strait-laced (classic Ferragamo shoes).
Payment: The consigner receives 40 percent of the selling price. You will receive a check once your account has accumulated $100 or more.
Do I need an appointment? Yes, email firstname.lastname@example.org for availability.
Mint Condition Designer Consignment Boutique
114 S. Royal St.; 703-836-6468
This charming boutique is heaven for fashion-forward NoVA prepsters of all ages. Brands accepted start at J.Crew and go up from there. Mint is currently seeking winter items, and will begin taking spring pieces in mid-February.
In demand: Designer denim, cocktail dresses, Kate Spade or Tory Burch shoes, accessories (especially designer handbags), men’s ties, and women’s costume jewelry.
Don’t bother bringing: Basic tees or button-downs; anything older than two years (handbags and jewelry are exceptions).
Payment: The consigner receives 50 percent. You’ll be paid by check, which can be mailed upon request or printed at the store.
Do I need an appointment? Mint condition accepts walk-ins with 10 items or less on Wednesdays. E-mail email@example.com to set up an appointment on any other day.
Pretty People Vintage
108 N. Patrick St.; 703-739-2522
If your closet screams California boho, your erstwhile treasures will find the right home at Pretty People Vintage. Bring in your most fun, whimsical, and feminine finds, from vintage pieces to contemporary items. Stick to girly clothing with a funky edge, and save pants or workwear for another spot.
In demand: Cold-weather items (standout sweaters, coats, and boots), contemporary dresses, printed tops, designer handbags, statement jewelry, precious or semiprecious jewelry, and sterling silver items.
Don’t bother bringing: Men’s clothing, suits, pants, athletic wear, or anything too conservative.
Payment: The consigner receives 55 percent and will be paid by check once a month.
Do I need an appointment? Yes; call the store to schedule.