Dr. K’s Vintage

Tucked away along a small side street, a brick laden building sits surrounded by the still air of the seasons transitioning from the bitter cold of winter to spring. If you walk closer, you’ll realize that the house is actually split into a downstairs and upstairs section. The gated double door setup leads you into a moderately lit space filled wall-to-wall with vintage garments and accessories from a bygone era. As you sink into the repurposed couch near the front entrance, a wave of old country western music fills the air while you’re enjoying a glass of Tennessee Rye, accompanied by a bowl of homemade sausages and crimson red Thai chilis.

All types of materials and textures can be spotted hanging off the various racks and boxes as Dr. K starts to size up a regular. In a matter of minutes he’s rummaging through plastic tubs stacked wall to wall with garments ranging from Hawaiian shirts to 60s mechanic uniforms. He eventually emerges from the depths of all that fabric holding an oversized royal blue Penfield zip-up fleece from the 80s. Somehow, it ends up being passed around to everyone and instantly becomes the main topic of discussion.

When you’re making a visit, you’ll most likely run into one or more of the usual suspects chatting about latest haul, the history of a specific garment, and the process of how it was brought in. Through these types of open dialogue we’re able to gain insight on something that’s often overlooked – the people that these communities are built on. Only after interacting with the individuals behind these communities do we recognize how important it is to have an outlet like this. Sharing stories freely and openly makes this environment feel of an old school club focused on vintage clothing and fashion, as opposed to a retail store just trying to sell clothes. A space dedicated to thoughtfully curated vintage clothing is hard to come by in DC and at Dr. K’s, there’s a sense of familiarity and warmth even if you’ve never been before.

Dr. K has a keen eye for detail and constantly memorizes buying patterns for those who come through those double gated doors. Couple this with an extensive encyclopedia-like knowledge of his running inventory of clothing that spans the better part of a century, and you have someone who’s dedicated years to thoughtfully sourcing vintage garments. For those who spend time with Dr. K at his headquarters, you quickly realize that this goes beyond the celebration of vintage clothing. Frequent visitors all agree that these clothes are special in their own right, but are even more significant as a medium for discussion. Friends are encouraged to take their time and try things on, have a drink, slow down, and share stories with like-minded beings.

Special Thanks to Dr. K, Kel, Curry, Fluke, Yodit, and Tony