Best Of: Vintage Shopping

You don’t develop notice-me style by shopping only at chain stores. Brooke Kao, a fashion blogger and an American University student, has assembled a standout wardrobe by shopping at vintage, thrift, and consignment stores. These are her favorites.

Photo by Matthew Worden.

Best designer consignment: Second Chance, 4920 Fairmont Ave., Bethesda; 301-652-6606. “They’ve got the most diverse selection of designer clothing—from classic designers like Armani and St. John to Issey Miyake and Jean Paul Gaultier,” Kao says. “If you’re looking for an amazing deal, you’d be hard pressed to find it here. But you can occasionally find a steal, like $30 Donna Karan leather pants.”

Best consignment prices: Frugalista, 3069 Mount Pleasant St., NW; 202-328-2135. “A store with a consignment selection and thrift-store attitude. Designer gems are scattered among the carefully organized Ann Taylor and Banana Republic pieces. Pricing is consistently cheap.”

Best vintage: Polly Sue’s, 6915 Laurel Ave., Takoma Park; 301-270-5511. “Hands down, the best vintage in the area. It’s a charming two-story space that contains clothing spanning from Victorian-era jackets to 1960s hats. Everything is affordable—you’re not going to find much over $50.”

Cheapest prices: Goodwill, 4890 Boiling Brook Pkwy., Rockville; 301-881-0744. “The best part about Goodwill is its fixed prices, no matter the label. Most everything is in the single digits. At the same time, it’s very hit or miss.”

Largest thrift selection: Unique Thrift Store, 2956 Gallows Rd., Falls Church; 703-992-6560. “Of all the warehouse-style thrift stores in the outskirts of DC, this is my favorite because it has the biggest women’s-clothing selection. You have to do a fair amount of digging to find something good. But it’s cheap and has a big selection of shoes. It’s also great for furniture, bicycles, knickknacks, and vinyl records.”

>> Want to see more of Brooke? Check out last year's Style Setters, or visit her personal fashion blog.   

Sarah is the Editor-in-Chief of Washingtonian Bride & Groom, and writes about weddings, fashion, and shopping. Her work has also appeared in Refinery29, Bethesda Magazine, and Washington City Paper, among others. She is a Georgetown University graduate, lives in Columbia Heights, and you can find her on Instagram at @washbridegroom and @sarahzlot.