The Girl's Guide to DC
Issue 43: The Ultimate Thrifting Guide
Happy allergy season — err, cherry blossom season, y’all.
This week’s Girl’s Guide is a little long, so if you’re viewing it as an email, you may have to switch to browser to read to the end. I promise it will be worth it.
As always, find last week’s issue here.
The Ultimate Thrifting Guide
If you know me, you know I’m obsessed with thrifting. I’ve decided to put my passion to good use for all of you and compile a list of my favorite thrift stores in the DMV – with a little help from readers as well.
Address: 6220 Richmond Hwy, Alexandria, VA 22303
Donation center: In the back
Not all Goodwills are created equal. This one might be the greatest of all time. Whether you like contemporary clothing brands (Loft, White House Black Market, Altar’d State, and Express abound) or vintage threads (I’ve spotted so many cute vintage sweaters and dresses here), this Goodwill will have something for you.
I think clothes (both men’s and women’s) is where this Goodwill outshines the competition, but don’t forget to check out the artwork, kitchen items, and photo frames. Make sure to look in the “designer” cabinets at the checkout counter – if you like brands like Kate Spade and Coach, that is.
The one thing you should not expect to find at this Goodwill is substantial furniture. Sometimes they’ll have a decent dining room set or a couch, but it’s pretty rare. Their furniture pricing is confusing – I got a great leather ottoman here for $25, but sometimes a simple wood dresser is upwards of $100.
I also have to give a shoutout to the staff here. The guys who take your donations are always helpful and cheerful.
Address: 6528 Little River Turnpike, Alexandria, VA 22312
Donation center: In the back
This is the kind of thrift store where you can decide, “I’m going to buy a white t-shirt” and probably leave with one in hand. This store is HUGE, and therefore has HUGE SELECTION. It may be a little overwhelming for a beginner thrifter, but just pick a section and start browsing.
When you first walk in this Salvation Army, it feels like a furniture showroom. They always have kitchen tables, couches, and even bed frames in great condition. The furniture tends to be pricey – heftier wooden furniture is often upwards of $400 – but I snagged a tufted beige couch here for $200, so I can’t complain too much.
The women’s clothing sections can be discouraging because they don’t have a super high standard for what they put on the floor. Items are sometimes stained or torn. Be sure to check items thoroughly before you put them in the cart. But if you keep looking, you could leave with a couple new outfits for under $25.
Their shoe section is also huge, so don’t be afraid to take your time trying shoes on. I’ve gotten suede knee-high Sam Edelman boots here, so… yeah. WORTH IT!
There’s a back showroom with jewelry, records, kitchen items, and more. I can spend hours browsing the cute kitchen stuff – everything is arranged by color, which makes it really fun!
One last tip: you can find brand-new scented candles here. I recently picked up a new-in-plastic lavender candle from L’Occitane at this Salvation Army. And to be honest, I won’t judge if you pick up a pre-used candle for the low price of $1.99 – sustainability, right?
Address: 106 N Columbus St, Alexandria, VA 22314
Donation center: Inside
The Twig is located in Old Town Alexandria, and all proceeds benefit the Inova Alexandria Hospital. It’s the perfect spot for a thrift date with your best friend – shop till you drop, then take your pick of the cute coffee shops nearby for a pick-me-up.
The Twig is pretty small (it has women’s clothing upstairs, plus casual and men’s clothing and other items downstairs). If you like to see EVERYTHING in a thrift store before you leave (a.k.a. me), it’s very doable here.
There are great vintage dresses, coats, and jewelry (e.g., bright red Burberry blazer). You’ll find plenty of newer clothes too – earlier this year, I picked up a plaid wool Intermix coat for just $7.50.
Warning: The Twig is not open Sunday-Tuesday, so be sure to double check store hours before you visit.
Address: 2860 Annandale Rd, Falls Church, VA 22042
Donation center: In the back
I checked out this thrift store on the recommendation of Chris McCaffery (subscribe to his Substack here, even though it’s not about thrifting). Clock Tower is the quintessential charity shop you’d find in a Hallmark movie or cozy novel.
Their furniture is in good condition and very low-priced – think $20-$40 for furniture that probably cost hundreds of dollars new. Other highlights: they have a cute little nook with kids’ toys and games, a surprisingly large number of vintage hats, and a lot of kitschy beer mugs and shot glasses if you’re into that sort of thing.
Address: 900 King St, Alexandria, VA 22314
Donations: Pickup available for furniture
Yes, the name of Look Again Resale Shop is a blind joke. All of the shop’s sales go to local sight-saving organizations. This shop is also located in the heart of Old Town.
It’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but if you like vintage teacups, this shop is for you. The cutesy kitchen items catch my eye here the most, but they also have an interesting assortment of books and records, plus clothing upstairs.
Look Again is not open on Mondays or Tuesdays, FYI.
This recommendation is courtesy of my friend Harvest Prude – connect with her on Twitter.
Address: 2956 Gallows Rd, Falls Church, VA 22042
I have a theory that there are two types of thrifters. Those that prefer the pristine, boutique thrift stores so well color-coded and perfumed you can actually forget you are buying clothes second-hand, and those of us that prefer our experience to be a cross between a street market in Bangladesh and a Saturday afternoon auction in West Virginia.
I fall in the latter camp: it’s all about the thrill of a treasure hunt for me.
Unique Thrift Store in Falls Church somehow scratches this itch perfectly. Housed in a sprawling warehouse, the store sports a generous array of both men and women’s clothing, art, books, and a motley assortment of furniture and home goods.
There are some sections that are better than others. I often skip the tops/skirts/athleisure section, since those items tend to wear out faster. I never miss checking out their dresses and outerwear section (I’ve seen some beautiful vintage designer trenches and fur coats.) It may take some digging, but whether you’re looking for staple business casual items or a funky statement piece, Unique probably has it. You just have to beat out the hordes of stylish Gen Z teens sure to also be there. -Harvest Prude
This recommendation is courtesy of my friend Liv Johnson – connect with her on Twitter.
Second Chance Inc.
Address: 1700 Ridgely Street in Baltimore, MD 21230
Second Chance is the 250,000 square foot secondhand shop with all of the vintage and historic art, furniture, decor, hardware and building supplies of your dreams. Second Chance deconstructs historic homes and salvages issuable materials and furniture. They accept donations as well. The nonprofit’s vision is to preserve Maryland and American architectural heritage, providing people, materials and the environment with a second chance. All revenue is used to provide job training and workforce development for those with employment obstacles in the Baltimore region.
This “Part Home Depot, Part History Depot" is filled with gorgeous chandeliers, antique furniture and sinks, brass hardware, clawfoot tubs, funky lamps, wood/tile and vintage rugs, with time-based markdowns (every month an item is on the floor, the price is reduced). Free on-site parking in Baltimore City and their staff are incredibly helpful moving heavy pieces. Be sure to give yourself an afternoon to shop, you can easily spend hours perusing the warehouse. - Liv Johnson
Liv’s other recommendations in Maryland include Prime Thrift in Laurel… 2nd Avenue Thrift in Columbia and Laurel… Objects Found in Catonsville.
Have a thrift store to recommend? Send it in by replying to this email.
Interview with Bailey Sipes
This week, I’m excited to introduce you to Bailey Sipes, who traded in Washington state for Washington, D.C! Connect with Bailey on Twitter and Instagram.
What do you love about your neighborhood?
I currently live in Navy Yard, recently moving here just last summer from Capitol Hill. I love this area because it’s a well-rounded neighborhood for young, social professionals. Not only are so many friends here, but it’s a quick walk to grocery stores, bars, and the waterfront. Living in Navy Yard feels like living in your college town at times — but it makes DC seem like a smaller place.
What does your life look like right now?
I graduated from the University of Washington in 2020 (seems like forever ago!) and am happily employed at a digital political fundraising firm. One of the best things about what I do is that it’s ever-changing and fast-paced — truly never boring! Plus, my coworkers are some of my closest friends which makes the workplace even more enjoyable.
What are some of your favorite spots in DC?
Emissary in Dupont Circle is my favorite coffee shop because the aesthetic reminds me of coffee shops in Seattle (and we all know how serious Seattleites are about coffee). For restaurants, I’m a huge fan of Jackie American Bistro in Navy Yard. The atmosphere is amazing and every part of the experience feels upscale. Plus, it’s modeled after Jackie Kennedy!
What’s something you wish you had known before moving to DC?
I wish I realized how small it really was. Not just in size, but also how everyone really does know each other. It’s great when making friends and of course networking, but can at times feel a bit suffocating, especially if you come from a large city like I did. That being said — DC is one of the most unique cities, and I wouldn’t trade this experience for anything.
What’s your beauty routine like?
For me, I have a pretty simple skincare routine but when it comes to makeup, that's where I like to go “all out.” A few of my beauty staples are the Briogeo leave-in conditioner, IT Cosmetics CC cream, and the Oryza Beauty lipstick in shade “Opus”. Check it out!
How would you describe your style?
I would definitely describe my style as preppy but leaning more towards a sophisticated look. As a serial wearer of ascots and headbands, I try to incorporate a Blair Waldorf aesthetic with something more modern, giving a nod to classic style icons but also keeping it fun and fresh!
Selina Meyer vs. Josiah Bartlett
The most important poll of the decade, nay, the century, has been published. The query? Which political TV shows do Americans think best encapsulate Washington, D.C. And I hate to say it, but America is wrong. You are ruled by the characters of Veep, not The West Wing, even if your conscious mind can’t accept this cruel fact. Read The Hill’s writeup on the Ipsos poll here.
FWIW, I wrote about the prescience of Veep in Issue 10 of Girl’s Guide — read it here.
U.S. Botanic Garden Reopening
The date that DC girlies have been patiently awaiting is here: the U.S. Botanic Garden is reopening! The Botanic Garden will reopen April 1 as the Capitol begins a phased reopening, reports The Hill. I hope you ladies are able to have all the cute dates and IG photo shoots at the Botanic Garden to make up for lost time.
CHRISSY CLARK celebrates her birthday on March 24. Be sure to wish her a happy birthday on Twitter!
EMILY BROOKS joins The Hill as a reporter covering the House of Representatives. She was previously a reporter with The Washington Examiner. Congratulate her on Twitter!
Come work with me! DISTRICT MEDIA GROUP is hiring an account executive — it’s completely remote, so you can be based anywhere in the U.S. View the job opening by clicking here!
The Media team at the MERCATUS CENTER at George Mason University is looking for a creative and entrepreneurial candidate to join their team as a Media Relations Manager. If you want to drive high-impact, market-oriented messaging and facilitate communications strategy related to Mercatus ideas and research, this role is for you.