Answer to a reader question...

I just found your blog today and wanted to commend you on your creativity. Your ability to turn simple outfits into bright and cheerful ensembles is really inspiring. One thing I want to know is, what state you are in. I used to live in Michigan and would always find great deals in thrift stores. I have recently moved to Washington, DC and I am finding it really difficult to find thrift stores over her. I would really appreciate it if you have any pointers for me.

First of all, thanks!

Second of all, I just recently moved to Northwest Ohio after living an hour from DC, so I can give you some pointers on thrift shopping out your way.

My go to store for thrifting is Goodwill (even when I lived out East). Every city has one nearby. Here is the DC Goodwill. Goodwill's are usually very large so you have to do a lot of digging, but if you know what you are looking for, it helps. I've found Goodwill to have the best thrift store selection and prices. I've never tried The Salvation Army, but you could always check them out too.

When shopping at Goodwill I usually go straight to the bags. I'll buy a vintage clutch, or anything that is genuine leather, because I know it will last. Bags are usually priced at about $3-$4 and clutches are even cheaper! Next I go to the belt section. Every Goodwill I've been to so far charges about $1 for belts. Like the bags, the only belts I buy are genuine leather. I've scored some amazing bags and belts for the change in my car ashtray!

I will also look for shoes, but my shoe size isn't very common (size 5). Usually the only shoes I find that work for me are leftover Target merchandise. Since the Target shoes are brand new and usually priced at $3, I'll buy them.

Lastly, I look for blazers and dresses. You can find some really neat vintage jackets and dresses that are totally in style now.

I rarely dig through the racks and racks of tops, shorts, jeans, and skirts, but if you have the patience, it can be really fun to sort through.

Besides Goodwill, I find great jewelry at antique stores and garage sales. In the small country towns surrounding DC, you can find some really neat little antique stores where you can score great vintage costume jewelry for very cheap prices.

As for the garage sales, go to the richer neighborhoods and only go when it's a community garage sale so you can check everything all out at once in the same general area.

Out in the small town where I lived near DC, I also frequented Once Upon A Child. The one near me (Purcellville, VA) carried some adult clothing and juniors sizes.

Here are a couple of great consignment stores in DC that I used to hear great things about, but never actually visited since consignment stores tend to be pricey because they carry designer clothes. Either way you should check them out:

Georgia Avenue Thrift Store

And for links of several other thrift and/or consignment stores in DC, go here and here.

Good luck on your thrift shopping endeavors!