The Beauty of Boutiques (Part Two)

Screenshot of Alexandria, Va. boutique district website.

Venturing out of your go-to stores can be scary enough when you have curves. And, being really, very honest—for a long time, I was nervous about being the only brown girl, stranded and unable to fit into anything, in an expensive boutique. But I was wrong; boutiquing is fun and there are some great reasons to buy and even sell your own clothes at vintage consignment stores.

So, if you’re still not convinced, in this part two of Curve-Friendly Boutiquing, I’m going to tell you a little more about consignment stores to help you shake off the last of your fears.

You won’t be ‘the only one’

Many already know this, but for the rare folks out there who don’t (like I used to be) — boutiques are for everyone. Whether you’re on U Street in northwest DC, or on King Street in Alexandria. Consignment clothing stores get most of their inventory from the general public (a general public of fellow fashionable women) who once loved, but can no longer keep their clothes. And those women come in all shapes, colors and sizes.

Trust me, you’ll go, everything will be cute, people will be superwoman-nice and you’ll have fun.

It’s like having a backstage pass

New clothes are new. Great. Good for them. But this is about access. This is about being exposed to brands and designers you’ve never heard of before, this is about finding something you’ve heard about but you thought was impossible to still get. This is about enjoying ridiculous discounts when you do find something you love, and it is in your size, and it is not from any store you’ve heard of before in your whole life. Do you see what I’m doing here? I’m giving you the Xzibit version. (You’re going to boutique ontop of your boutiquing, ontop of your boutiquing!) Normal shopping is bilateral: you and what’s on the hanger, or what the store has to offer you. Boutiquing yields all kinds of new benefits and sensations.

Continue reading The Beauty of Boutiques (Part Two)

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Curve-Friendly Boutiquing (Part One)

Current Boutique shopping back with dresses.

Should you avoid buying vintage clothing, just because you have the jelly that yo momma gave you?

A lot of women love to go to boutiques to find vintage clothing and I’m definitely one. However, when I first started visiting boutiques in the DC area, I got a little discouraged by dresses and pants that were in my size, but when I tried them on, they did not compliment my curves.

If you are a woman of color who avoids going to boutiques because she fears this kind of harrowing experience, definitely read on. You really don’t have to be afraid. I’ve picked up some great tips over the years.

1. To pick something that fits: Know your brands

I’ll use myself as an example to start with. I’m short, with a smaller bust, larger hips and derrier. The epitome of pear-shaped. I am very picky about where I shop normally (I almost get angsty about it), so I’m alright with going to Ann Taylor for a size small or extra-small shirt, but I do usually avoid buying my pants from Ann Taylor, no matter what kind of new ‘signature fit’ they’re promoting. Instead, I go to Ann Taylor LOFT or NY&CO for my pants and skirts. Sound familiar?

We all love the vintage looks you can hook out of the one-of-a-kind boutique shopping experience, but many of the popular stores in the area, such as Current Boutique (U Street, Alexandria, Bethesda, Clarendon), Mustard Seed (Bethesda) and Frugalista (Mount Pleasant) also have a range of your favorite brands. You can save a lot of frustration by homing into your size section and even then, homing in on your favorite brands. At that point, you may ask, ‘Why go to a boutique, then?’ But, these stores take clothes on consignment—which means you are still getting a great deal on something that has been gently worn, even something spectacular that a fellow fashionista needed to relocate out of her closet. Continue reading Curve-Friendly Boutiquing (Part One)