all words and photos: Carly Loman
Not a lot of good things happen at middle school. The Georgetown Flea Market is a notable exception.
Every Sunday from 8 until 4 DC’s oldest outdoor flea market convenes at the parking lot of Hardy Middle School, located at 1819 35th St., NW. Since 1972 the G-Town Market has been the spot for tens of vendors to sell their treasures. What separates this market from its competitors is that everything’s old. And I mean that in the best way possible. Because, in Georgetown Flea Market’s case, old doesn’t mean moth-ball smell and holes—it means vintage and antique.
It’s real, it’s vintage, it’s the stuff of Urban Outfitter’s dreams.
The jewelry also comes from all corners of the world. The eye-catching Thai rings of turquoise set in silver are hard not to want to pile on.
My favorite jewelry of the day was good enough to eat…with. Using just a pair of pliers and the brute strength of legends, one vendor made showpieces from antique silverwear. I now wear a spoon around my wrist.
Other great finds needed to be dug for, untangled, and detached. But, once jewelry cases were sifted through and chains were unknotted, it became clear that any frustration was worth it. As a vegetarian I can’t be sure, but I imagine finding jewelry at the flea market is kind of like eating a lobster. You get pinched, it smells a little bit, and you may need to use instruments, but it’s all worth it to uncover that perfect bite of crustacean. Or adorable lion pendant, as the case may be.
The G-Town market is best known for its antiques. Walking through the stands it’s easy to imagine how the one of a kind items could make your apartment complete. Okay, it’s definitely easier to imagine some more than others. But with a bit of creativity, all those gorgeous pieces could find their niche in your home. It’s not hard to envision that old suitcase looking great on your coffee table.
And, yes, one of those antique clocks would easily add interest to your bed stand.
I don’t even have to break a sweat imagining how good those old talcum powder containers would be as spice jars on your kitchen counter. Or as vodka-filled flasks for that special drawer in your bed stand. You know the one…right under the antique clock.
What’s harder is incorporating a rocking horse into your décor…though I think it could look incredible next to your futon.
Clothes, Shoes, and Accessories
The flea market didn’t have quite as much clothing as I expected to find. They did, however, have plenty of accessories.
Turns out the hill tribes of northwest Thailand make some amazing embroidered purses.
My favorite find of the day may very well have been this vintage beaded purse.
The flea market also houses a vendor of Anokhi products. All of the brand’s block printed textiles are from Jaipur India and are traded fairly—helping artisans earn a good living.
And some vintage clothes to hold you over.
Art and knick-knacks
Wouldn’t be a flea market without ‘em.
Does there always have to be a reason for owning something? It’s a first-world problem. If your first-world answer is no, then please feel free to purchase the following items.
The Georgetown Flea Market is a beacon for relics of days past. What it lacks in handmade kitsch it makes up for in beaded purses from the 20s, silver lion pendants, and “Seniors for Reagan Bush” bumper stickers. Sundays at the market you’ll be sure to find what you didn’t know you needed.