For clotheshorses like myself, a biannual wardrobe purge is not just an organizational tool: it’s a necessity. My tiny Bloomingdale apartment and smaller-than-standard closest just can’t seem to handle more than a few seasons of one-hit-wonder build-up: The architectural pants I was sure I would wear all season; the shimmery, one-shoulder blouse I purchased in a fit of singledom; the yellow Marc Jacobs crop top I have found one (and only one) appropriate occasion to wear to—by now, I know that if a whole season has passed by and they haven’t left their hangers, it’s time to go.
But cleaning out the closet is also a moment that never fails to spur a hefty existential crisis: how can I actively participate in an industry that relies so squarely on disposability? While I haven’t quite reconciled my love of fashion with my distaste for throwaway society, there are ways to assuage this guilt, including a dedication to vintage, recycling clothing, and consignment. Here are two new ways to consign in the District that make consigning so ridiculously easy, you have no excuse not to grant your clothes a second life.
Support a Homegrown Boutique: Current Boutique
Current Boutique has locations in Logan Circle, Old Town Alexandria, Clarendon, and Bethesda, and just celebrated its ten-year anniversary in April. Marking the occasion, owner Carmen Lopez announced the launch of a national platform for consignment through the shop’s website. For locals, not only does this mean you can mail-in any articles of clothing you wish to consign rather than drop off in person (clothes that don’t make the cut are automatically donated), but it also means the stores will be pulling the best threads from all corners of the country. If you have 50 or more items to consign, Current will arrange a pickup, but it is just as happy to mail you a pre-paid shipping label with a simple online request. Customers earn 50 percent of the price that the clothing fetches, which may not be as high as other consignment shops offer, but Current accepts casual brands like J.Crew and Anthropologie in addition to high-end designers like Rag & Bone. Plus, there is always the added satisfaction of supporting a local business.
Current Boutique: 1809 14th St., NW; 2601 Wilson Blvd., Arlington; 1009 King St., Alexandria; 7220 Wisconsin Ave., Bethesda.
Go with a Luxury Authenticator: The RealReal
While The RealReal isn’t a local business, it does offer a few benefits that local consignment shops don’t, specifically a rigorous authentication process and on-hand gemologists and horologists. The RealReal only accepts bonafide designer labels (no J.Crew, Anthropologie, BCBG, or Club Monaco) and won’t accept items more than ten years old with an emphasis on jewelry, designer handbags, and watches. But if your wares do make the cut, you can earn up to 70 percent of the sale price. The company was launched in San Francisco in March 2011 by Julie Wainwright, a former executive at Pets.com. Last month, it opened a brick-and-mortar location in DC. The Georgetown office joins just five others around the country, including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, and Dallas. (The website offers free pickup in 21 cities.) The office isn’t a shopping location—guests can only drop off items for consignment, which are then sold online—but it offers a place to have fine jewelry and watches appraised on-site for free (no obligation to consign), with plans to expand to designer handbag valuation this month. In addition, consigners can still schedule pick-ups or drop-off clothing whenever suits their schedule.
The RealReal. 1050 Potomac St., NW. Monday-Friday 10 AM to 6 PM by appointment.