Happy Wednesday! Consignment shopping was something I was introduced to when I came to the US. It was not until recently, though, that I got really excited about consignment. Growing up in Bulgaria, I had never been to a consignment shop and probably the reason was that clothing was already very cheap. I moved to the US in 1997 and things have changed since then as brand and more trendy expensive clothing found its way to this small Eastern European country.
Here are some tips I use when I go consignment shopping:
1) Know the value of items. For example, I am not very familiar with the retail price of items such as Gucci Jeans or Loui Vuitton handbags. I know they are pricey but I don't have the slightest idea if they are charging me the fair amount at the consignment store. If you are buying items like that, doing research in advance will be the right thing to do. On the other hand, I am very familiar with brands like Banana Republic, Guess, Talbots, etc. so I know when I see a good deal. In addition, sometimes you may get lucky and spot a higher-end item priced as a regular item and hit the jackpot! That is how I snagged my Oscar de la Renta skirt shown here. Usually, when I get something at the consignment store, the first thing I do is to get on my computer at home to see its retail value. Most often than not, I feel like I have gotten a deal.
2) Always try the items on that you want to buy regardless of how cheap they are. Even when you are familiar with the brand and have tried numerous items with that label, I recommend trying everything on. Alterations made by the previous owner and numerous washes may have changed the size and fit.
3) Don't be afraid to bargain. The last time I did bargaining was in Turkey, at the Grand Bazaar. And I miss it - it gave me a sense of excitement and accomplishment. The type of bargaining that you do at the consignment store is by no means as aggressive. If you see the slightest deformity or tear but you think you can pull it off anyways, don't be afraid to ask for a discount. Even if you don't like to bargain, make sure you inspect the item thoroughly as the chances that something is not right are greater than in a regular store.
4) Visit the store often and if you like something (not too expensive) don't hesitate to buy it. Compared to other stores, consignment stores get new items every day. Early in the week is a good time for consignment shopping as a lot of people reorganize their closets on the weekend and bring the items to the consignment store.
5) Don't judge a book by its cover. I used to check the consignment stores websites before I visited the stores for the first time. I realized, though, that a lot of the items in the store are not on the website. I can imagine it is very time-consuming to keep up with all that inventory.
6) Be patient. Since the consignment store carries your favorite brands and hundreds of others, it can sometimes take longer to find what you like. Very often I go to the consignment shop to find an item that completes my outfit, i.e. a blue skinny belt, or a mustard cardigan, or a black clutch, etc. That way, when I get to the store, I can go straight to the belts section or to the yellow/mustard color tops section.
7) Always wash or dry clean your items after purchase. Although every time I visit a consignment store I get hit by an overpowering smell of cleanliness, I still feel more comfortable when I clean my items after purchase. It will give you peace of mind and it will make you feel like you have purchased something new.
I hope you have as much fun consignment shopping as I do. Please share any tips or experiences that you may have.
Dress - Snap (consignment)
Cardigan - White House Black Market
Belt - Target
Purse - Ann Taylor (consignment)
Jewelry- Coach, Banana Republic