Over the last few months, a lot of you have asked how I find great deals on non-vintage designer items from Gucci to Ulla Johnson. My secret is to buy second hand through consignment shops. I found that shopping for second hand isn’t for everyone, but if you’re here then I know you’re down with the #thrillofthethrift and love to hunt for gems.
Consignment stores buy gently worn designer items from you to sell to their customers at a deep discount. If you’re selling to a consignment shop, don’t expect to make a lot of money. Instead, you’ll make a little bit of money, but you’ll save yourself time from taking pictures, listing, and then negotiating on apparel selling/exchange apps. As a buyer, you’ll get a great deal on last season’s Isabel Marant boots you were obsessed with. And because you’re not a Kardashian sister, no one is really going to know you’re wearing last season’s boots.
My Tips on How to Shop Consignment
Scout neighborhoods strategically
If you’re after higher-end, classic pieces, head to a fancy neighborhood. If you’re looking for funkier, trendy items, check out a college or hipster area. I know it’s almost too simple, but it’s how it works. Crossroads Clothing is a great option that has a mix of both higher-end pieces and funky, trendy items.
Know when to shop
Mondays are a great day to shop because people clean out their closets over the weekend. But most importantly, shop often as most stores roll out new merchandise constantly and will generally have a rack dedicated to “new pieces”.
If you love it, buy it
Much like vintage pieces chances are, there’s only one so if you don’t buy it, you may not find it again. If you’re unsure because of the fit, then take it to a tailor for alterations. *see my notes below
Any reputable consignment shop will guarantee authenticity on luxury or name brand pieces. They either have an in store expert or out source the verification. Ask questions before you buy and ensure they provide the guarantee.
Stockpile then filter
Grab everything that catches your eye and after scouring the whole store, go through your collection. From there, actually look at the pieces you picked up, check for any imperfections, and filter. Then try on it what’s left
Close examination is key
When trying on pieces, look at all angles (front, side, back). If the shop doesn’t have a full size mirror (it happens), place your phone on a surface and take a few pictures on the selfie/timer mode. If you love a piece, be sure to check it to make sure there aren’t any stains or tears anywhere.
Fixing pieces from easy to impossible
One of the most important resources when shopping vintage or consignment, is having a trustworthy and amazing tailor. Although most vintage pieces fit me perfectly, there are pieces that need help so I trust my tailor to work her magic.
- basic tailoring from bringing up the hem, shortening sleeves, or tapering a skirt.
- repairing rips along a seam.
- replacing buttons, zippers, and other hardware.
- Resoling or mending shoes. Unless you have a good cobbler, don’t buy the shoes or boots.
- Rips in the fabric, not along a seam.
- Mending damaged embellishments such as sequins, embroidery, or other details. This requires a lot of supplies, time, and expertise, which means it is going to cost a lot to fix.
- Repairing tears in lace.
- Tailoring heavily structured pieces like blazers. Taking in the shoulders on a blazer or jacket is a lot of work, but doable.
- Making something bigger that is too tight. A tailor can work only so much magic!
- Repairing cracked leather or fur.