Tuesday, April 29, 2008

true to the game (part 1)

Just when you think you've had enough of this quaint little cess pool of douches, tools and ill-fitting pants, something will come along that not only gives you a reason to live, but a reason to fix up, look sharp (Dizzee Rascal, anyone?). And while some of those "reasons" may cost you more cash than you care to talk about, such as the amount I dropped on a pair of yellow skinny jeans I found quite serendipitously on Sunday (after all, you can't deny your destiny), other reasons practically get dropped in your lap for free, which is exactly what happened on Saturday when I went to the Indian Head Highway Thrift Store, located just outside of DC's Anacostia neighborhood in Maryland. (Unfortunately, I did not see the Big Chair or peruse America's furniture for a "big, fine couch.")

In my tiny peanut of a brain, there are four different venues in which to find sweet vintage clothing -- your grandparents' closet, garage sales, high-end secondhand stores and thrift stores. The first option was raided long ago and the second option is just plain hard to come by in DC proper. Once in a while there'll be a yard sale in the city, but mostly you'll end up perusing housewares and other assorted crap. In fact, during a quick jaunt down Columbia Rd. this weekend I came across what I think was a building-wide yard sale at which the cooler full of Bud Lights set aside for the sellers was the only item I could imagine in my home. Gotta keep hydrated.

Of the more street legal retail venues, the third option, the high-end secondhand store, is usually best for finding sh*t you want, however, the chance of finding sh*t you want that is sh*t you can actual afford is fairly low. Sh*t. But the last option, the thrift store (and I'm talking about those sprawling, takes-a-whole-day-to-rummage-through, bursting-at-the-seams-like-a-properly-fitting-pair-of-pants, so-ludicrously-cheap-it-makes-you-wonder-who-the-hell-runs-the-place kind of store), has the potential to offer the best of both worlds. (Just ask DC's own Goodwill Fashionista.)

And to take a proverbial page from The Anti DC "Book of Eloquence," allow me to state, DC and its surrounding environs has a buttload of 'em. Moreover, since I'm, 1) poor, 2) sleuthy and 3) sort of a shopping freak, I jumped at the chance to tag along with one of my coworkers and her roommates to check out Indian Head and, holy crap, am I damn glad I did because sh*t at at this mecca of wonderful hidden treasures is tight. (And sometimes ridiculous.)

For well under $20, I left the place with one new-to-me belt, two handbags and one very unique literary masterpiece. Take a look:

I don't know how this ended up in a thrift store hanging between a slew of multicolored pleather belts, but this beaded and silk cummerbund might be *the* best bargain I've ever found at a secondhand store. Check the detail:

Yep. It's in perfect condition. Not a single bead is missing! Price (brace yourselves): $7.98 -- the most expensive buy of the day.

Now, this wasn't as good of a deal as the above-pictured beaded strap of loveliness, but this chestnut-colored bag with woven detail was still a steal at $4.98, despite that it's not made of an actual dead animal. Hopefully the animal saved will make a delicious steak instead. (J/K vegetarians and vegans!)

Ahh yes! And this is probably the most fun of my purchases. It's a black patent leather shoulder bag with gold hardware. And despite the fact that I don't like cats, I kind of love the detail on the front, which is a lion's face. Or a cougar. Which is clearly my future. Badass. But there's more!

The bag has no clasp, zipper or magnetic closure. Instead, it uses some sort of wire and hinge system to allow the bag to open and close. Kinda awesome for -- ready for this? -- $1.98, right? Like I said, TIGHT. But wait, what's that I see in that fabulous bag? Is that...? Could it be...? HOLY CRAP IT IS!

An effing novel, ahem, fable about street dice! And as fate would have it, I found this item immediately and accidentally. It wasn't by the other books (hell, I barely know how to read), but by the housewares (hell, I barely have an apartment!). So what was it doing there? What was I doing there? Kismet, e-friends. It was meant to be...

And as if all this awesomeness weren't enough, there's a Part 2 to this excursion! Shambles P.I. says CLICK HERE to see it.


capitulatenow said...

Excellent, I will check out this gigantic thrift store. Might I recommend Unique in Falls Church, if you haven't been there already? That place rules.

Pretty sure I'm wearing those same silver shoes today.

Also, OH RIGHT thanks for the El-P/Dizzee Rascal reminder. I need to get tickets for that, post-haste.

Anonymous said...

Love the purchases. Once again you make me proud....I've trained you well!

mel said...

I'm not really anonymous!

Shannon said...

You're getting soft on us. Soon, you'll be the Pro DC, and you'll be proudly dating an Ivy Leaguer you met at the Big Hunt and wearing commuter sneakers.

Say it ain't so!

I-66 said...

...with the added bonus that the 2nd bag is good for smackin' people with.

Smack away, Goose.

Jonah K. Haslap said...

Us homosexuals don't shop at thrift stores. There's no posters of half-naked men on the walls, and their underwear selection leaves much to be desired. But congratulations on your discovery!

John said...

that book sounds awesome: "It's the late 1980s, and Gena, a young girl from the projects, meets Quadir, a millionaire drug dealer, and falls madly in love. Quadir builds a massive empire while fighting his rivals and enemies. Gena faces the challenges of holding onto her man, her house, her car, and the cash. Both of them find themselves caught up in a vicious yet seductive world, and learn that success in this game is no easy win. Gena and Quadir also learn
that once you're in, there's no way out, 'cause everyone stays in forever....True. "

plus it has two sequels!

Marissa said...


Yes, I have been to Unique! I think it's a little bigger than Indian Head, but for some reason I like Indian Head more. I think it's 'cause of the book selection, obvs.


Thanks for making it awkward! Twice!


Sorry to disappoint you. I already associate with lots of Ivy Leaguers.


I think I can smack bitches with both these bags actually.


Why are we not real-life friends? I love homosexuals!


Two sequels?! SHUT UP! I'm on a quest now...

ms. spinach said...

oh, so awesome. a post that warms my very heart.

Anonymous said...

Hope nobody is looking for this place 'just outside' of Anacostia---it's a long couple of miles and neighborhoods from Anacostia--but as a 'senior' thrift store advocate who can tell you and JKH (who's ay wrong about who doesn't 'do' thrift stores) there's lots better pickings at the 3 out around Kenilworth/Peace Cross/Capitol Heights area or even the two biggies on Allentown Road.
Church rummage sales-this time of year still rule, tho, try Capitol Hill, Arlington, etc.
Good luck with anti DC blogging, if thats what gets it going for you--but do some homework on those catchy names/neighborhoods you lace it with.

Marissa said...

ms. spinach--



Well, Indian Head is located in Oxon Hill, Md., to be exact, which I suppose isn't as "catchy" as saying Anacostia. But in all fairness, IH is so close to the border of DC that you can literally see the sign welcoming you. Thanks for some of your suggestions on low-cost shopping, btw, and I hope despite my geographic shortcomings, you will continue to try to find something interesting about this blog. :)