The old saying “the clothes make the man (or woman)” might apply for those with a lot of disposable income. But once college starts, spending money on clothing becomes an issue. After all, staying fashionable while saving money is tricky.

So why not try thrifting? Northern Virginia, Washington and Maryland have some of the finest thrift shops and consignment stores available. You might become, well, thriftier after reading these:

Tops & Jackets:

Pink Elephant is a must-go place for tops, coats and jackets. Located at the Concord Shopping Center in Springfield, Va., Pink Elephant carries designer brands like Ralph Lauren Polo and vintage Nine West starting at a low of $5. while the average price for tops is $12.

Another place to raid for cute tops is The Closet. This thrift store is just one of many shops located in Herndon, Va. The Closet sells very feminine shirts with a variety of patterns and buttons. And with the average price of $3, your dollar will go extremely far. Make sure to bring cash, as the store does not accept credit.

Looking for classic blazers? Joseph’s Coat in Falls Church, Va., is the place to go to. One of the larger thrifts located in this area, this place sells fashionably fitting and modern blazers for both men and women.

Joseph’s Coat also has racks filled with clean tops sorted by shades of color with brand names like Gap, Ann Taylor and J. Crew. Pricing ranges from $5 to $10 for tops, while the average price for blazers is $12.


When it comes to shoes, Mustard Seed has the absolute best selection. Located in Bethesda, Md., Mustard Seed carries name brand, in-season and in-style footwear. Shoes are in great condition, and are mostly Steve Madden and BCBG. Pricing ranges from $10 to $30.

Jewelry, Scarves & Belts:

City of Fairfax’s Yesterday’s Rose, located on Main Street, has great jewelry, ranging from colorful clip-on earrings to large pearl necklaces.
Pieces of funky and vintage jewelry range from $1 to $4. As big as the thrift store is, you do not have to search for the accessories; they are located right by the registers.

One of the bigger thrift shops in this area is Unique. Located in Falls Church, Va., Unique carries a large collection of beautiful jewelry pieces. From flashy earrings to chunky bracelets, the thrift shop has one of the top selections of vintage accessories. You can definitely spice up any outfit with pieces from Unique for little money. Pricing for jewelry ranges, however. The average price is $5.

Joseph’s Coat has an entire wall plus many baskets filled with beautiful scarves. Digging through their baskets is worth it; intrepid thrifters can find anything from silk scarves to vintage shawls. At an unbelievable average price of $3, this accessory will make you stand out in any crowd.

Pink Elephant has a small selection of belts, but the few offered are beautiful accessory pieces. Belts are in great condition and vary from strong black leather to bright colored “statement” belts. Many would look gorgeous worn over flowing dresses or with classic blazers. Prices are $3 to $10.

Purses & Handbags:

Unique is a good place to find the perfect “lady” accessory. With an entire wall full of purses, handbags and clutches, Unique carries anything from soft leather mini-purses to floral print beach bags. Pricing ranges from $3 to $10. There are also suitcases and travel bags available at this thrift shop.

Another place to raid for clutches and satchels would be Second Chance on Chain Bridge Road in Fairfax. Second Chance is a tiny place but it can become quite the gold mine. This shop holds a smaller collection of vintage clutches and purses. Prices are on average $1to $5. Second Chance is also known for having daily deals, such as 50 percent off on any items priced at $1 or more.

Jeans & Bottoms:

Mustard Seed can help you cover up your bottom half in style. From the darkest denim to high-waist dress pants, Mustard Seed is the place to go. The shop has a variety of men’s jean selection as well, ranging from $10 to $20. Pricing on women’s bottoms is comparable.

Skirts, Shorts & Dresses:

Once again, Mustard Seed wins the category. The shop offers extremely cute printed skirts, high-waist skirts and shorts. Prices range from $10 to $15. Also, if you’re looking for prom-type dresses, this is the place to raid. Mustard Seed also features a tailoring desk for its customers for as little as $10.

The Closet also sells to-die-for skirts in flower patterns and beautiful colors. Many skirts are long, but the length is perfect to transform into tube dresses; just pull the skirt up and use a belt to scrunch the fabric. The average price for a fashionable skirt (or self-made dress) is only $4.