No one likes being the little sister. You were always standing in Big Sis's shadow, ignored by her and all her cool friends, assured by your parents that you're just going through an awkward phase.
We like to think of high-end Georgetown consigment shop Annie Creamcheese (3279 M St. N.W.) as that cool, confident big sister who has tons of admirers and would NEVER get a big piece of spinach stuck in her braces. But now little sis Second Time Around (3289 M St. N.W.) has moved in just a couple of doors down.
Annie Creamcheese has long been the go-to spot for those looking for floor-length velvet Nanette Lepore dresses printed in crazy patterns (though why, we're not quite sure). But ever since Second Time Around, a national consignment chain, popped up on the scene during the summer, Gtown shoppers have had another option. Either way, if you want your clothes unique, cheap and smelling slightly musty, look toward one of these first.
Second Time Around tends to be a little cheaper, but you get what you pay for. Anne Creamcheese employs a lot more selectivity, so the items there are bolder and more interesting; Second Time Around plays it safe with more basics. Annie Creamcheese carries top designer brands (DVF, Prada), while Second Time Around carries more accessible mall brands such as Banana Republic and Ann Taylor LOFT.
In terms of setting, Anne Creamcheese wins. The walk down rickety stairs to the basement store recalls all those crazy basement parties of our high school years. (Well, our parties really weren't that crazy -- Scrabble was usually involved -- but maybe yours were better.) Walls are done up in bold '80s-type colors like purple, magenta, bright yellow. You know, colors that actually would make you want to hurt someone if they were in your house, but fun enough to deal with for a few minutes.
How about shoes and handbags? For sheer numbers, Second Time Around wins. For originality (pink Prada pumps; heels decorated with beads and feathers), Annie Creamcheese has it. However, the current crop of shoes at Annie Creamcheese seems a little more worn than we'd like our consignment shoes to be. You never want to stick your feet into a pair and feel the shape of the previous owner's feet, 'cause, well, EW.
They both have sales going on right now. At Second Time Around, all fall & winter merchandise is 50 percent off. Annie Creamcheese's discounts vary, but trust us, they're happening. And we mean that in the metaphorical sense, too.