Shopping Clothing Consignment Stores
The budget fashionista's guide to consignment shops
Consignment shopping is a good way to save money on clothing. If you have expensive
taste in clothes like I do, resale shops can be a (budget) lifesaver!
Don't make the mistake of thinking that second-hand clothes are inferior. Just because an item
is for sale at a consignment store doesn’t mean it can't be fabulous! Many clothing consignment
stores have brand name clothing in excellent or new condition. Sometimes shoppers can even find
unused clothing with the original price tag still on them.
Every consignment shop is different; if you don’t get a good feeling from the first one you
visit, don’t give up – the next one may be just what you are looking for! Find one you like and
visit frequently - you never know what you will find!
How do clothing consignment stores work? Consignment shops accept merchandise on a consignment
basis, paying owners a percentage when and if the items are sold. Most pay consignors from 40 to
60% of the selling price, and have a policy of displaying goods for anywhere from 60 to 90 days,
although there is a wide range of policies. Some resale shops also purchase additional items
outright from individual owners and/or wholesalers.
CONSIGNMENT SHOPPING ADVICE
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- For the best selection, shop early in the season. Resale shops take summer items
starting as early as March, and if they are very busy, they may sell the best items before summer
- Keep in mind the location of the shop. Clothing consignment stores tend to reflect the
neighborhood where they are located. If you want upscale consignment clothing, try to
shop at a resale shop in a high-end neighborhood.
- Know the retail price of the item to see if you are saving money and, if so,
how much. This includes knowing your brands - if you know whether this great-looking
blouse was originally sold at Saks Fifth Avenue or at Sears, you will have a better
idea of how much you are willing to pay for it.
- Don't trust the size on the item's label. Different brands size their items
differently, so you should always try the items on before buying.
- Be flexible and creative! A budget fashionista should be inventive and imaginative.
Enjoy the freedom of choosing your own unique fashion look rather than being influenced
by the styles that designers have chosen for this season!
- Pay attention to the tags. Lots of resale shops use color-coded price tags to tell
when an item was brought in to the shop which relates to pricing. For example, all red
tag items may be 50% off, all yellow tags 25% off, and the blue tagged items may be new
arrivals and be selling for the full price on the tag. Ask a sales person to explain the
store's system to you.
- Only buy items in like-new condition. You should only shop at clothing consignment
stores that sell items in excellent condition, always check all items carefully and
know the store's return/exchange policies before buying. Consignment shops do screen the
clothes before accepting them, but sometimes they miss something.
- Since the inventory changes daily, you should check in often. Resale shops' prices are
often so good that merchandise doesn't hang around for long. Don't forget: if you don't buy it
today, it may not be there tomorrow!
- Check out all sizes (it could run large or small or be mislabelled) and areas of the
store: Does the shop have a designer area? A clearance rack? A back room?
- Form relationships with the owner or the staff - relationships can go a long way
toward making your clothing consignment store shopping experience a pleasant one. The people
that are in the shop every day see what comes in and can keep an eye out for sizes or styles
that you are looking for.
- Sign up for the store’s mailing list to receive sale notices and other information.