Wednesday, June 13, 2012

a new how-to: vintage, thrift and consignment shopping

part 2: the search begins

now that you've studied your designers, know your style and what's around, you can really get into your groove to find some good duds and bargains. i've got some more helpful info for you in part 2, so you can make the most of your shopping trips.

1. clean out your closet

with consignment shopping, part of the idea is to trade with the shop. this way, you will not spend as much money as without the trade, and they will in turn get some new merchandise from you. a few things to remember:

  • consignment stores will only accept clothing that is still in good to mint condition (new is best), so be sure to inspect your items before taking them to consign; remember that everything can be donated if its not sold
  • know the different types of consignment stores; some will pay you cash up front for your items (Buffalo Exchange and Plato's Closet will both use this process), whereas other consignment stores will pay you for the items once they have been sold (usually true of smaller, locally owned shops)
  • don't be offended if they don't take any of your items; consignment stores purchase clothing that's not only well-kept, but also stylish and on-trend (or a classic item, like a Chanel jacket)
Marc Jacobs butterfly sleeve blouse - $26 at Buffalo
Exchange in 2008; sold $15 of clothing, actual price paid: $11

2. prepare yourself mentally

with any of this resourceful shopping, its important to be patient and be prepared to dig. and dig, and dig, and dig. to find the really good stuff requires a lot of scouring and looking through racks of clothes. this is especially true of thrift stores, where things are not categorized much further beyond the type of garment. at consignment stores, they've done half the work for you already, by buying higher quality used clothing. vintage boutiques also do a lot of the work for you, hence the higher price tag than if you were to find the item yourself at a thrift store.

3. be patient

from part 1, you should already know what kinds of things you are looking for, so as not to feel overwhelmed. you might be going through racks and racks of long-sleeved shirts, for instance if that's one thing you need, and are not finding anything you like. rather than pick up the first thing that catches your eye that does not fill your requirement of being long-sleeved (unless it is so absolutely fabulous you can't live without it), try to pass it over. my routine, once in the store, is to grab anything that might fit my body and my style, and filter through everything before purchasing. just remember to be patient and maybe that special item you're looking for is at a different store. it's best not to force it!

studded Blank NYC shorts $13,
Genetic Denim dark skinnies,
$13, both from Plato's Closet, 2012

armed with this information, i suggest you take some time to do even more research as to what's available in your area (i will give region-specific recommendations in part 3) and what items might be needed in your closet. remember that when you're cleaning out your closet to trade and consign clothes, the store will be looking for season-appropriate items. save your winter consignment for the fall, and right now in the early summer, aim to trade summer and light fall clothing. this should help you make the most of what you've already got! 

part 3 will complete the series on Friday, with more tips for hunting and making the right purchases. 

1 comment:

  1. I love the pics of your finds. That Marc Jacobs blouse is adorable!