I love consignment clothing shopping! I have been a shopper and a consigner for about 22 years. My introduction to consignment, thrifting or second-hand shopping began when I started working in broadcast sales. I worked with a woman who gave me “style envy” because she was dressed so sharp. I would comment on her wardrobe and she would politely reply with a simple thank you. My husband and I had just started our careers so we had limited income…especially for clothing. One day, I made a passing comment to her about her wardrobe and how one day I would love to dress like her. She said, “Lisa come with me”, and off we went! We drove to this cute little boutique consignment store in Calgary called Danielle’s (which is still there… and I still shop there when I’m in Calgary for work or off their Instagram account). We went inside and the owner Danielle knew my colleague by name and instantly pulled a few things from the racks for her. Danielle proceeded to help me find a few things. I was shocked at the beautiful clothes she found for me. If you work full time, and are required to wear business attire daily, you know the chore and the expense that comes with dressing professional every day. This whole consignment thing was so enlightening to me! I became a regular at Danielle’s and she would call me when something came in that she thought I would like. I would also consign items I was no longer wearing… or not wearing enough to warrant keeping them.
There are still things I buy brand new, but there are a few things I count on the consignment or thrift store for. I almost NEVER buy any formal dresses for fancier functions brand new. I pretty much always buy them at the consignment store. Think about it, how often do we re-wear a formal dress… unless it is black () Especially with social media. I know that I think twice before I go to an event and try to remember how many pictures on social media will have me wearing the same dress at different events!
I went on a trip a while ago that required a few formal occasion dresses and I bought 4 beautiful dresses that cost me a total of $125.00 for all 4. I wore each of them once and then took them back to the consignment store to re-consign them. It is shocking how many good quality, name brand formal dresses are there. Denim is another great item to resource from consignment, thrift or second hand stores. A few years ago I bought a pair of jeans from the consignment store that were NOT a designer brand… I cannot tell you how many compliments I got on these jeans! It was after that I decided I was not going to spend tons of $ on denim. $350 for jeans people? Come on! There is a store in the community I live in called Turnabout and they always have a fantastic selection of designer and non- designer jeans for a fraction of the cost of buying brand new.
I think it’s important to consider buying some of your clothes second hand and consider consigning what you are not wearing. Here are my top reasons:
- It is incredibly cost effective
- It helps you keep a minimal wardrobe (which I am going to write another post on)
- It is a great way to keep your wardrobe updated without breaking the bank
- It reduces the environmental impact of always buying new clothes.
There are a lot of brick and mortar consignment stores out there but you can always follow a lot of these stores on Instagram, where they constantly post new items on their feed that you can buy and have shipped to you for a minimal cost.
Here are some of my top tips from my consignment gals for shopping and consigning:
- Go through your wardrobe every season and if you haven’t worn something in over a year… sell it (obviously there are some items that are only for special occasions or have sentimental attachments but you get the drift)
- When you bring something new into your closet try to remove something else.
- If things are old, worn out or have any stains… do not waste the consignment stores time with trying to sell them.
- Unless it is a “high ticket” item be prepared that you will almost never get the price that “you think” the item is worth. I emotionally detach when I consign my old clothes… and get what I get. The average rate paid on clothing is between 40%-60% of the listed price. (The only exception I would say is on designer handbags… usually you can negotiate with the store and agree what your bottom-line dollar is).
- Present your clothes well …only bring in well-conditioned clothes and make sure they are clean, folded nicely and brought in just prior to the season they are appropriate for.
- Go back often to see what is new because they get new stock daily and…be open mindedJ
- Get to know the shop owners and the sales associates, they can be invaluable when you are consignment shopping…ie…letting you know when things come in that you would like, knowing your style… putting things aside for you before they hit the floor ()
- If you don’t consign it, please donate it
Your sister in fashion,
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