Thursday, June 14, 2012

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

part 3: at last, the finish line

by this point we've disclosed a whole lot of shopping secrets and you can now use these last few tips to finalize your purchases, and most likely, learn to improve your methods even further. 

1. try EVERYTHING on

no matter how many other things in your closet are from the same brand, or how "true to size" you think you might be, you MUST try everything on. since the clothing is used, it's probably been washed and worn enough so the item does not fit like new. vintage sizes are very different from our sizes today and look different on the hanger than on your body, so it must ALL be tried on. many vintage shop owners know their merchandise well enough to give you some advice on the different sizes and what may fit your body type. don't be afraid to ask for help or advice - these people have devoted a lot of time to vintage clothing and style, and have a wealth of knowledge about what's in their store. 

2. always check the Sale rack

vintage hand-knit sequined dolman
sweater - $28 at Amsterdam flea market, 2007
most people think it's pointless to check any thrift, vintage or consignment sale racks, but they are sorely mistaken. i've found some of my favorite pieces on the Sale or Clearance rack. i have to admit that the satisfaction of getting an even better deal on an already discounted item is pretty amazing. i've been to a few consignment stores that mark the date each item came to the store, and discount that price even further after 2 dates; if it doesn't sell by the first of those 2 dates it's marked down 20%, and after another period of time it goes all the way down to 50% off. these are great deals and important to your consignment success!

3. don't forget the accessories!

it's easy to lose track of what's fully available when you are perusing rack after rack of clothes. before you do your final scan, edit and decision-making, check out the accessories available. sometimes they are mixed in with the clothing and displayed to flow with your shopping, and at thrift stores they are generally categorized by item and are sometimes in a different part of the store. 
clockwise from left: vintage gold/black chain mail shoulder
purse, vintage black envelope shoulder purse, vintage blue
oversized clutch, vintage red snakeskin clutch and
vintage blush Miu Miu hobo bag

4. if at first you don't succeed, try, try again

the merchandise at thrift, vintage and consignment stores is constantly changing. one trip you might only find one small shirt you like but the next time, you could walk out with an armful of good bargains. they key to finding the good stuff is to go to your favorite shops often. once you get good at this kind of shopping, you'll figure out which stores carry the brands you like and which thrift stores have the good stuff. i live within walking distance of 3 thrift and consignment shops in my small little mountain town; the number of recycled clothing stores in any city is quickly rising.

below i've listed some thrift and consignment shops to get you started or give you more ideas as to what's available in your city.

Buffalo Exchange - Buffalo has been a steady shopping spot for me since i first discovered them in Chicago in 2004. a national chain consignment store, their policies are fair for all and the staff is always fabulous and stylish. ask them for advice if you're unsure about something!

Crossroads - this is another great consignment store in the realm of Buffalo Exchange. hip, trendy and high quality items abound.

Plato's Closet - again, a trusted source for up-to-date fashions and lots of it. Clothes Mentor is owned by the same people but caters to more mature customers.

Savers - this thrift store chain does good by donating profits to local charities and organizations, and can also be a gold mine for bargains. each store is dependent on the merchandise that comes through, so its important to be patient and try a few times before counting it out. my favorite Savers is the one on Kietzke in Reno. i never leave empty-handed!

Out of the Closet - this San Francisco-based thrift store benefits many organizations just like Savers, but also offers free HIV testing to the public. the merchandise can be overwhelming, but with a little time and know-how, you can find some real gems.

Wasteland - this California-based consignment company has a wide array of designer and vintage merchandise, with locations in both LA and San Francisco. i've sold many items to Wasteland and walked out with plenty as a trade.

do you have any favorite stores or locations to add? please share!!

with this, i send you off into the great world of recycled fashion shopping. you are armed and ready to find great bargains that fit your style. let us know how it turns out! follow @sakioto on Instagram and/or use the tag #resourcefulbetty to show us the goods.
happy bargain hunting!

1 comment:

  1. Hola! I recognized that sequined sweater straight away when I saw the link on FB, I firmly believe it is the culprit of my sequin obsession.You have a great eye for these things. Love reading your blog. Besos Maryse