Blue Moon. 2435 18th St. N.W. 265-8113.
The Blue Moon is a wonderful anachronism - a shop, like many that have sprung up recently, that deals in "old clothes and memorabilia." More than other shops of its kind, though, the Blue Moon serves a lot of memories with its old clothes. The decor is old-time corner drugstore, its primary furnishings being wooden cabinets and counters salvaged from one of Washington's pre-plastic drug stores. It is what owner Carmen Delzell calls "a little notions store" full of odds and ends that bring memories and flashbacks -- $1 buttons still tacked onto their original, yellowing display cards; romantic, flowery handkerchiefs for $1 and $2; tin pins for 35 cents; fruitcrate labels, $1.50 and $3; hat-boxes, $5; postcards, 25 cents; tea towels, $1 to $3; embroidered socks, $3. Here or there you'll glimpse a silk slip, a costume jewel, a hand-embroidered baby outfit, an old cake tin or milk pitcher just like your grandmother's, a set of dishes retrieved from the Blue Mirror Grill. Mixed in with the dimestore miscellany ("dime-store" nowadays refers to the atmosphere and the variety, no longer to the price tags) are the second-hand and neverworn clothes, among them men's new, but vintage 1952, pleated wool slacks ($20), and unused, still well-preserved '50s cotton frocks ($27). "I drive out to the country a lot and find old stores," Delzell says of her method for ferreting out things with interesting pasts. On her hunting trips she steers away from the so-called "antiques" and concentrates on the things that are "recognizable" but are often "overlooked."