Best Place to Take a Fashion Risk, on a Dime

Frugalista
3069 Mount Pleasant St. NW, (202) 328-2135
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Photograph by Darrow Montgomery
A really good thrift store shopping experience must meet a few crucial benchmarks. First and foremost, virtually every square inch of dirty linoleum floor should be packed with shirts, sweaters, and jeans. Second, reasonably cheap prices should render worthwhile the time and energy spent working through all those hangers and racks. Third, there’s got to be some real gems to reward the efforts—think garments by Banana Republic or Max Studio, or funky ’60s throwbacks that don’t even have labels. Fourth? The music. Perusing is a whole different ballgame when there are soulful ’70s or ’80s hits to sing along with. Mount Pleasant’s Frugalista has all of the above in spades. The store’s workers sort through tons of secondhand clothes every day and sell the most desirable. Several racks are dedicated solely to Ann Taylor’s business-casual combos, and J. Crew, Gap, and Express are also well-represented. Prices, however, are still low, with most pieces coming in around $9. Really, the only problem is that there’s almost too much to get through in a single visit—so when The Carpenters start crooning, “We’ve only just begun,” you can’t help but nod in agreement.
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