DCRESIDER Ella-Rue is one of Georgetown’s many fantastic thrift stores. The more upscale secondhand boutique offers pieces by designers such as Alexander McQueen and Dior at wonderfully discounted prices.
Ella-Rue is one of Georgetown’s many fantastic thrift stores. The more upscale secondhand boutique offers pieces by designers such as Alexander McQueen and Dior at wonderfully discounted prices.

Georgetown University is gifted with a vibrant surrounding community that’s constantly bustling with activities. From bowling by the water to touring museums, there’s never a dull moment in the life of a student in Washington, D.C. However, there are always those days when after spending a nice afternoon shopping around town, we arrive back to campus with good memories, a shirt or two and a mournfully empty wallet. Georgetown is infamous for its expensive lifestyle, but with a little bit of searching and a pinch of luck, anyone can live the posh life of a fashionista for a third of the cost.

Consignment boutiques and thrift stores are the hidden glory of Georgetown. Sprinkled around the D.C. area, they offer all the gems of a successful shopping spree without having to spend next semester’s tuition on that one-of-a-kind designer blouse. Whether you’re hunting down stylish brand names or looking for your own eclectic fashion, there’s a variety of stores that meet your needs and your budget.
Ella-Rue, one of the more designer-oriented boutiques, is just a short walk from campus. Located on P Street, it’s a consignment store that caters to high-end fashion. In the world of secondhand clothing, consigning allows this store to accept some of your old clothes in exchange for part of the profit when the items sell. Ella-Rue is particular about which designers it accepts, and this standard is clear in the quality and cost of its clothes. Chanel, Gucci, Alexander McQueen, Lilly Pulitzer, Dior and countless other famous names find their place along the racks of this boutique. Offering a wide range of elegant shoes, dresses and blouses, it develops a sophisticated and mature style. Because it offers such selective top-notch clothing, the tags here are still somewhat expensive. Prices range anywhere from $15 to several hundred dollars depending on the demand and fame of the brand. All in all, it’s a positive alternative for those who crave the designer flare for half the price.
Annie’s Kloset, Second Time Around and Reddz Trading are less expensive alternatives that still focus on relatively well-known brands. Like Ella-Rue, the first two function as consignment stores, but Reddz Trading works in a slightly different way. It’s a resale store, so you can walk in with your clothes and immediately get cash or in-store trading points without having to wait for them to be sold. All three are no more than 10 minutes from the others, so be sure to take advantage of this prime shopping area. While they share many of the same designers as Ella-Rue, they also include more moderately priced brand-name apparel. Steve Madden, Banana Republic, J. Crew and Nine West can be found floating around the store, and the tags reflect this change. These stores offer a mixture of attire, from casual to business to formal. Annie’s Kloset has a diverse array of earrings, all priced at $5, and it has an extensive selection of 50 percent off clothing. Reddz Trading has an impressive collection of designer handbags, and it is also unique in that it is the first thrift store mentioned to include a small section of menswear as well.
The most inexpensive designer clothes can be found on the shelves and racks of Martha’s Outfitters and The Twig Thrift Shop. Located in the U Street Corridor and Old Town, Alexandria, respectively, these stores require a slightly longer trek to reap their benefits. Unlike those mentioned earlier, these are both categorized as true thrift stores. You can’t consign or resell your clothes here; instead, you can donate them for potential tax deductions. It takes slightly more dedication to find those quality designer pieces that are abundant in Ella-Rue and the likes, but once found, their thrift store label allows them to mark down these prices to extremely low rates. If you’re up for a challenge and looking for a hunt, these two stores are the places to be.
Located a few doors down from Second Time Around, Buffalo Exchange is perhaps the most well-known of these stores, and for ample reasons. It is the Holy Grail of the D.C. thrift world, setting its fashion apart from many of its contemporaries. Rather than focusing on certain designer brands, it seeks instead to attract a certain kind of style. Combining the atmosphere of popular stores like Urban Outfitters and Forever 21, it draws in a significantly younger crowd. Like Reddz Trading, it is a resale store, but its loosened brand restrictions allow room for experimentation. Freed from strict adherence to a list of designers, here you’ll find interesting apparel of countless colors, cuts and cloths. The store equally accommodates different genders and styles, so don’t be afraid to mix it up. Averaging at a price of $15, Buffalo Exchange is the ideal location to seek out that great find while keeping your bank account in the clear.
Shopping can be a rewarding, stress-relieving experience that also can be friendly to your wallet. Each of these locations offers a distinct personality, so see what styles best suit your own tastes. Don’t be afraid to take risks on wacky clothes you never thought you’d wear and to experiment with the size and shape of your outfits. Take advantage of the thrift stores around Georgetown to leave your comfort zone and spice up your wardrobe without worrying about the cost.

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