Y’all know how much I love finding a good deal, and that doesn’t end when it comes to clothes. I know that shopping for secondhand pieces gives some people the heebie-jeebies, and I get that, but trust me when I say that the two stores I’m sharing here are perfectly clean and safe and have a great selection of pieces (and I actually brought a lot of them to Paris, coincidentally!). I’ve been shopping at both of them for years and have never once heard of a single issue with bedbugs, etc…because don’t get me wrong, I’m totally freaked out about things like that–when I bought my first piece of furniture on Craigslist I actually emailed the person asking if they had ever had bedbugs in their home! #embarrassing
Anyway. So first up is Mustard Seed, which is more of a low-key store in downtown Bethesda, super close to where I grew up. I started shopping there in MIDDLE SCHOOL and still go back when I can! Over the years I’ve loved introducing it to family friends with younger daughters and watching the store continue to grow (it’s still a staple in the area!). My high school BFF and I would meet up there over breaks in college, and I’ve sold tons of pieces there for the past…decade (wow, I feel old!). I most recently brought a bundle of clothes in this past June and made abut $60 on the spot. Like many other thrift/consignment stores, you get “paid” a slightly higher amount if you choose to apply your earnings to store credit. However, I was more interested in earning a little extra cash (and had just done a big shopping spree there a couple of weeks prior, ha!), so I didn’t feel the need to pick up anything new, even though it was a pretty good deal. Here’s the nitty gritty:
Price range: Items begin around $6 or so for a basic tank or tee and go up to about $60 or so for nicer products. I recently saw a pair of leather Tory Burch sandals for $45 (they were just a teeeeeny bit too big, so I sadly put them back on the shelf), and I’ve also scored Lululemon tanks for $12 or so (I’ve also spotted cropped pants for about $18!).
Brands offered: In addition to Lulu and Tory Burch, as mentioned above, Mustard Seed also sells “mall brands” like Abercrombie and LOFT. There’s also always a few Lilly pieces and great accessories like statement necklaces and crossbody bags that are very inexpensive.
Selling details: Although I’m referring to Mustard Seed as a “consignment store,” sellers still get paid on the spot (a traditional consignment store would pay the seller after an item has been purchased). You DO need to schedule an appointment to sell at Mustard Seed (and you need to book online, way in advance, because they do fill up–I picked a day that I knew I had off from work so that I wouldn’t feel rushed if things got delayed, which they sometimes do). There’s also a fee if you’re a no show, so write that appointment date down on your calendar! There’s a limit of 25 items per appointment, so bring in the best of the best!
In short: Since you need to schedule your appointment pretty far out, I wouldn’t say that Mustard Seed is truly an “easy” way to make some fast cash post-closet cleanout…but if you don’t mind waiting a few weeks, you’ll definitely see a reward! I’d also say that Mustard Seed (while still selective) is a little less picky when it comes to the selling end, as they simply accept a wider range of brands. But don’t go in thinking they’ll accept everything you have to offer. As a buyer, it’s easy to spend $80-100 there because everything is so cheap that you just can’t stop yourself from stocking up on this and that! But you can definitely also walk out with a couple of good finds for $20 or less, which is awesome.
Next up is Reddz, which has locations in both Bethesda and Georgetown. Whenever I was home from college I’d always walk from Mustard Seed to Reddz before meeting people in downtown Bethesda!
Price range: Their prices are higher (items start at maybe $14/16 for a J.Crew button-up) and dresses average around $60, from what I’ve noticed. I don’t really pay attention to the items that are truly designer, ha!
Brands offered: Reddz carries higher-end brands and always has a huge rack of Lululemon gear. They haven’t accepted any of my LOFT items recently, and I’d say the most similar brand they sell is J.Crew, but otherwise their clothing is more designer. The Bethesda store would sometimes make a “Lilly rack” in the summer but I haven’t seen that in Georgetown.
Selling details: What’s great about Reddz is that you can walk in as a seller without any appointment, and you’ll be paid cash on the spot (again, you will receive “more” if you choose to do the store credit). In my experience, Reddz has been more selective in accepting items and they start buying for the next season pretty far in advance (I think they were already looking for fall clothing in July). You do have to fill out a form with your info every time you sell clothing, but this isn’t much of a hassle and is worth it if you’d like to get rid of your stuff like…NOW.
In short: If you need a dress for an event like a wedding or interview, this is a good option. Think Rent the Runway prices, but you get to keep the dress and try it on early in advance, which is always helpful!
Do you have any favorite thrift stores in the DMV? I’ll keep coming back to these two no matter what, but I’m always looking to sample new places. In Philly I sometimes popped in to Buffalo Exchange, but the only one they have in DC is a bit farther downtown…RIP the Georgetown location!