Photo: Courtesy of Miss Pixie's
Photo: Courtesy of Miss Pixie's

Ready To Go Retro: DC’s Best Vintage Retail

If there’s one thing about fashion and home décor that we’re certain of, it’s that what was trendy decades ago will probably be coming back in style sometime soon if it hasn’t already. If you’re like us and you have already raided your parents’ wardrobe for retro finds with no success, your next best bet is a vintage shop. Whether you’re looking for a one-of-a-kind wardrobe or just want to add to your cut-off jean collection, one of these DC locations is bound to have what you’re looking for.

HOME

Community Forklift
Community Forklift may be best known for selling donated materials for home improvement, but the Maryland spot also recently started selling antique and retro furniture. A nonprofit center, members of Community Forklift pick up unused building materials throughout the DC area and then sell the materials at a low cost, including vintage materials for restoring old homes. 4671 Tanglewood Dr. Edmonston, MD; www.communityforklift.org

Foundry by Freeman
Founder Yvette Freeman was inspired to bring a Parisian-style flea market to DC, and thus created Foundry by Freeman. A mix of vintage vogue and modern style, all pieces are handpicked by Freeman and the store is updated once a month with new finds. 1954 2nd St. NW, DC; www.foundrybyfreeman.com

GoodWood
GoodWood is all about the classic American retail experience of our parents’ and grandparents’ time. Established in DC in 1994, expect to find one of DC’s only niche perfume counters and handmade shoes mixed in with their mid-century furniture. 1428 U St. NW, DC; www.goodwooddc.com

Miss Pixie’s
Miss Pixie’s has been offering up mid-century to “shabby chic” furniture finds in DC for over 20 years. Shoppers can find everything from chairs and vanities to art and vinyl, or just stop in for a cookie and enjoy the music on a funky couch. Pixie’s also hosts events and DIY workshops like lamp making and make-your-own-terrarium. 1626 14th St. NW, DC; www.misspixies.com

Mom N Pop Antiques
Established in 1986 in Petworth, Mom N Pop Antiques has everything from furniture and lamps to tools and records. But what adds a little extra something to this retro store is its friendly and personable owners, Bill and Gail Sims, who are always around to assist patrons. 3534 Georgia Ave. NW, DC; www.attic-dc.com/store/mom-n-pop-antiques 

Peg Leg
Peg Leg Owners Chad and Krisi Hora are locals through and through, and that’s what makes this store stand out from others. Not only do they encourage people to buy local, they understand the architecture of the surrounding area and know exactly what kind of pieces do and don’t work for local shoppers. Peg Leg focuses mostly on affordable, mid-century houseware but has items from all bygone eras. 9600 Baltimore Ave. College Park, MD; www.peglegretro.com

Rust and Refind
While Rust and Refind does have a selection of antique and vintage furniture, their specialty is refurbishing old pieces to their former glory. Owner Brenda Potts developed her home décor skills during her army wife days when she collected pieces from all over the world and had to find ways to make them fit together in every new home she had. 8101 Richmond Hwy. Alexandria, VA; www.rustandrefind.com

Something Vintage
Something Vintage puts a unique twist on vintage and antique furniture in that they rent out their pieces for parties. They handpick and refurbish each piece and rent out everything from tables and sofas to bars and buffets, and if they don’t have what you want, they can almost always make it. 4826 Stamp Rd. Temple Hills, MD; www.my.somethingvintagerentals.com

Stylish Patina
Falls Church native Kelly Millspaugh Thompson established Stylish Patina after she quit her corporate job in 2011. She aims to collect and sell pieces that have a modern function but a vintage soul. She also sells refurbishing materials like Chalk Paint and Milk Paint and teaches classes on how to use them. 410 South Maple Ave. Suite 114, Falls Church, VA; www.stylishpatina.com

Tanglewood Works
Tanglewood Works focuses on upcycling; not only do they restore old pieces, they turn them into something new. They also offer DIY classes where you can paint your own upcycled furniture. 5132 Baltimore Ave. Hyattsville, MD; www.tanglewoodworks.com

FASHION

Amalgamated Costume and Design Store
This Arlington (formerly Alexandria) shop has been written about a few times for its epic costume contributions to hit shows like Boardwalk Empire, as well as Broadway plays. And though it is somewhat exclusive to creatives in show business, the store does still offer a small selection of clothes for purchase. While you may not get an expansive quantity of items to sift through, the quality of Amalgamated’s retro wear is about as high as you would expect from a place that has garnered praise for dressing actors on the regular. The only catch is the location is kind of hard to spot, and doors are only open to the public on Saturdays. However, they do purchase clothes via appointment, so if you’re looking to unload a dress or blazer that’s a little old-fashioned for your taste, it’s worth gauging their interest. 5179 B Lee Hwy. Arlington, VA; www.amalgamated-clothing.com

Analog
If you’re in the market for handmade accessories, home goods and pins, Analog isn’t a bad place to be. However, this store provides more than just the little things. Apart from the aforementioned items, Analog also gives customers a bevy of options for retro clothing including casual and classy garments for numerous occasions. Though there are only a few racks donning these fashionable finds, the store is stuffed with imaginative trinkets worth checking out. Also, can we just take a second to talk about how great a name “Analog” is for a store specializing in retro products? 716 Monroe St. NE, DC; www.shopanalog.com

Buffalo Exchange
While exploring hole-in-the-wall spots for retro clothes, there is an excitement to be had venturing into the unknown. For example, heading into a store without a sign where you sift through countless unwanted items that probably don’t fit in your closet, just so you can find the one T-shirt that will. We agree that’s all fun and good, but sometimes you want to depend on others to do dumpster dives for hip clothing on your behalf. Enter Buffalo Exchange. The used clothing chain has locations throughout the U.S., including a few in the DC area. Whether you’re a man or woman, hypebeast or button-down connoisseur, this store contains a plethora of throwback fits to add some old-school variety to your outfits. 1318 14th St. NW, DC; www.buffaloexchange.com

Elinor Coleman’s Vintage Mirage
Whenever you provide clothing from three different centuries, you sort of have your work cut out for you. Luckily, the experts at Vintage Mirage are more than qualified to provide women of the DMV tremendous variety in influence, inspiration and era. Plus, the store often takes requests, is always willing to do its best to accommodate special requests and constantly makes efforts to provide a wide spectrum requisite of the famed Alexandria store’s reputation. They’ll even offer advice on what is stylish for a vacation, trip or just for your everyday wardrobe. These folks love all things style and fashion, and the retro aesthetic is undeniably charming. 117 S. Columbus St. Alexandria, VA; www.vintagemirage.com

Joint Custody
If you only know of Joint Custody because of its wicked logo and social media updates on the records within its walls, you might be missing out on a plethora of interesting retro fits. The store’s record collection is truly impeccable, but the clothes – ranging from the 1930s-80s – are the real finds here. I know, records are all the rage now, but a truly unique T-shirt from a bygone year is sometimes as special, if not more so, than a piece of wax music. Besides, have you ever heard of CDs, tapes and MP3s? What’s that? Those aren’t cool anymore? Alright you’ve got us, we like records too. Just don’t ignore the clothes; they have joint custody of the place. Ha. 1530 U St. NW, DC; www.fb.com/JointCustodyDC

Meeps
I don’t know about you all, but when I see the word “meep,” what comes to mind is the sound made by Spongebob Squarepants anchovies hungry for Krabby Patties. Though the store in DC known as Meeps has nothing to do with yellow sponges or sardines, the self-described retro fashion store is geared toward “rebels, rock stars and romantics,” aka folks with a flair for the fashionably dramatic. The shop acts as a place for understated accessories such as hats and necklaces, but doubles as a stop for people in search of the perfect vibrant 90s-style puffer coat. Regardless of what genre your personal style falls into, Meeps brings a taste of higher-end clothes from yesteryear. 2104 18th St. NW, DC; www.meepsdc.com

Polly Sue’s
Opened in 1999, Polly Sue’s offers clothing from the past so that it maintains relevance in today’s society. That’s a pretty noble cause, but what they’re trying to say is, “We offer cool shit from the past because it still looks cool.” Both are true, and whether you’re a lady or a guy, this store has retro items from the 1880s up to the 1980s. While I’m not sure how well clothes made in the 1880s would hold up, I’m also not an expert at all – although I do pretend to be one for a living. Once you enter the store, the colors will pop off the hangers and you won’t be sure whether to gravitate toward the numerous classic flannels or the dynamic denim from a simpler time. 6929 Laurel Ave. Takoma Park, MD; www.fb.com/pollysuesvintage

Smash Records
With a name like Smash, it’s no wonder this store is the DC mecca for used punk wear. We’re talking black boots, rock shirts and other vintage clothes to get you dressed for your favorite rock concert. The store has been open since 1984, and also features records (hello, Captain Obvious), hair dye and CDs to go along with Doc Martens, Vans and Converse shoes. The store also buys used items that are in decent shape, so trading in and upgrading with the store’s inventory is always on the table. 2314 18th St. NW, DC; www.smashrecords.com

Via Gypset
Perhaps the best website to peruse on a rainy day, Via Gypset offers everything from eclectic throwback ski suits to floral print dresses to various sweaters of different colors and designs. Founded in 2012 by native Washingtonian Isabella Polles, this store has gained a national – scratch that – international following. By the way, the meaning behind the name makes it all the more special once you realize it means Street Gypsy + Jet Set, which is exactly the sort of themes this trailblazing store sets out to offer. 2311 Calvert St. NW, DC; www.viagypset.com