There's nothing better than a great thrift store find - from a fab blouse or a great set of vintage pearl earrings to a throwback record or retro sofa. Best of all, it's one of the easiest (and trendiest) ways to be an eco-diva.
But a brag-worthy Goodwill treasure is often like - forgive the pun - finding a needle in a haystack, especially when you're new to the secondhand scene. So, we did some of the legwork for you. We polled readers, asked friends and picked through reviews city by city to find the best thrift shops in the country.
2810 East Madison Street, Seattle
This family-owned consignment shop is a local favorite. This women's shop carries Prada, Michael Kors and other top labels. It's also one of the area's largest selection of used Jimmy Choo shoes, for about $100.
Crossroads Trading Co.
325 Broadway Avenue East, Seattle
4300 University Way NE, Seattle
This thrift shop can be a little on the hipster side, but our own Seattle-based writer, Libuse Binder says that, with a little digging, you can find some good stuff. You can also bring your used clothing to any Crossroads location and you will receive cash or a check on the spot.
Various locations throughout Seattle
"I love Value Village. It's super cheap, and you have to dig, but their new store in Crown Hill is amazing," says Binder.
Washington D.C. and Metro Area
3279 M Street, NW., Washington, D.C.
Located in Georgetown, Annie Cream Cheese has an extensive selection of vintage apparel. It has been featured on the Discovery Channel and has even garnered a celeb following. In 2008, 2,500 Washingtonian readers voted it as their favorite vintage store in D.C.
The Remix Vintage Fashion Shop
645 Pennsylvania Avenue SE, Washington, D.C.
Editor Alexa Beattie of the Washington Post writes, "A peek through these windows is as gorgeous as a peep inside a candy store. But their sweets here are gumball color sweaters, chocolaty leather coats and candy cane ties. It’s no surprise to learn that the owner of the Remix…worked as a visual merchandiser…She knows the power of organizing merchandise in categories of color and style."
2529 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington, Va.
1009 King Street, Alexandria, Va.
"Modern. Bold. Eco-friendly." That's how owner Carmen describes this stylish shop. But keep in mind, thrifting isn't just about shopping. Current Boutique also pays cash for your gently worn clothing.
2822 Bransford Avenue, Nashville
A secondhand shop with true Southern flair, Designer Renaissance is a brand-name heaven for the cowgirl at heart. It was Nashville Scene’s 2009 reader’s choice winners for “Best Consignment Store.”
1008 Forrest Avenue, Nashville
Don't think you're cool enough for this downtown vintage clothing shop? Don't worry, you can check out the store's "hip-tionary" to learn all about cutrid baby clothes and how to become a true extra Cadillac-Jack. Not in Nashville? You can also browse the store's collection online.
My Sister's Closet
Various locations throughout the Phoenix area
This super consignment store boasts the designer labels sans designer prices. For recycled home decor, check out its spin-off store, My Sister's Attic.
Flo's on 7th
715 West Mariposa Street, Phoenix
This little shop is a great place because it serves up high-quality clothing, shoes, furniture and more while benefiting Florence Crittenton, which supports a "comprehensive continuum of care designed to help at-risk girls from 12 to 21 overcome issues of abuse, neglect, teen pregnancy, teen parenting and behavioral and/or mental health problems."
HALO Thrift Shop
11649 N. Cave Creek Road, Suite F, Phoenix
A personal favorite for Earth911 staffer, Jennifer Berry, HALO Thrift Shop directly supports the HALO Animal Shelter. Its huge selection of women's clothing, shoes, purses and accessories sells for $4 or less.
Out of the Closet
Various locations throughout San Francisco
Voted Best Thrift Shop in 2008 by SF Weekly, this shop has everything from suits to couches. Plus, it's owned and operated by the AIDS Healthcare Foundation.
New York City
NYC Opera Thrift Shop
222 East 23rd Street, New York
You can't go thrifting in the city without stepping into what Vogue has called "the highest quality thrift shop in New York." The shop is an adventure all in itself, with stacks of antique books, delectable vintage jewelry and beautiful clothing. Best of all, proceeds support the creation and design of costumes for new productions at New York City Opera.
Cure Thrift Shop
111 E. 12th Street, New York
Nestled in the East Village, Cure is a thrift store heaven. Even if you're not in New York, you can check out the store's online shop. Cure's founder, Liz Wolff, was diagnosed with type 1 (juvenile) diabetes when she was 11 years old. The shop's proceeds go to benefit the Diabetes Research Institute, the best hope for a cure.
Guvnor's Vintage Thrift
178 5th Avenue, Brooklyn, N.Y.
"At The Guvs, every lady, gent, tot and pup - be they prince or pauper - shall be treated as a statesman!" Located in Park Slope, this 1,900-square-foot vintage emporium boasts a huge selection.
2532 Guadalupe Street, Austin
1714 South Congress Avenue, Austin
You just can't go wrong with an in-store seamstress to tailor those vintage duds. Along with men's and women's clothing, the store also sells music.
2928 Guadalupe Street, Austin
We had to put Sonny's on the list simple because it's different. While you can find some throwback clothing and shoes, this shop's specialty is used instruments and musical equipment.
203 NW 36th Street, Miami
Located in the Design District of Midtown Miami, the Lotus House Thrift Shop opened last year. The shop directly supports the Lotus House, a women’s resource center and transitional housing facility, providing shelter, wrap-around support services and access to homeless women and infants.
6562 Bird Road, Miami
Opened in 1985, Miami Twice sells both modern and vintage clothing and accessories.
Disney Character Warehouse
11401 NW 12th Street, Miami
In celebration of Halloween, we had to add this little treat to the list. This unique shop is where excess Disney apparel goes to retire, and the savings are huge. If you're traveling through Florida, don't get swindled into buying high-price cartoon goodies when you can get the classics here.
Feature image courtesy of Howard Ignatius