The Insider’s Guide To Main Line Consignment Stores
Where To Get Designer Duds At Bargain Prices
by Diane Oliva, style editor
Lead photo: Louis Vuitton bag at Greene Street Consigmnent
Want to know one of my best kept style secrets? Consignment shopping. Consignment shopping is very on trend now that people consider it a way to upcycle, reuse and reduce waste. But I have been doing it way before it became hip.
When I initially started to shop consignment years ago, I did it as a way to stretch my wardrobe budget. But it became much more than that. There are so many reasons to shop consignment!
It’s fun! It’s a literal treasure hunt for fashion, and who doesn’t love the thrill of finding an amazing piece of clothing for next to nothing? You can find luxury brands at prices way below retail, sometimes for pennies on the dollar. Over the years, I have found high-end designer items like a Bally handbag for $50, a Pucci scarf for $20, a two-piece Gucci knit top and skirt set for $350, an Escada dress for $75 … and the list goes on and on.
Some consignment stores also sell one-of-a-kind, insanely cool vintage pieces you will not see anywhere else. I once purchased a swoon worthy, couture, black velvet jacket with mink collar from the 1920’s that was tucked in with the newer coats from J. Crew and Madewell. Like I said, consignment shopping is a treasure hunt.
Newer, current items are always in great condition, sometimes even with the tags still on them. A good consignment shop will only sell merchandise in excellent condition. You can find mainstream brands as well. And the beauty of it is that you can shop in one store and find things from all your favorite stores in one place, like Club Monaco, Anthropology, Lily Pulitzer, etc. And consignment stores get new inventory daily.
In my most recent excursion, I challenged myself to find some pretty outfits for $100 or less. I was able to find a work look, a summer party look and a black-tie look. The work look totaled $80, and includes a dress, black blazer, red pumps and pearl necklace. Yes, all of that for $80!
The summer party look is a Lily Pulitzer dress, brand new with tags retailing at $198, but selling for $40 at the consignment store. I paired it with $8 blue and green dangle earrings.
Everyone loves going to a black-tie event, but not everyone wants to spend $1,000 on a dress they will wear once. I shopped two black-tie looks. The first one is a long, black, off-the-shoulder gown retailing new for $800, but selling here for $99. The second dress is beaded with a gorgeous, high-low satin skirt and selling for $59. I paired them both with uber cool, black Lucite dangle earring for $6.
Saving money is great, but you can make money by consigning your clothes to these stores. Most have very generous policies giving you 40%-50% of your items’ sale prices.
While I love fashion, shopping and great deals, there is a very serious upside to consignment shopping. It’s the environment. Our love for fashion and constant newness has come at a very high price for the planet, especially with the insurgence of fast fashion sites such as Shien and Amazon.
According to online reseller Thred Up, one new garment takes an average of 400 gallons of water to make and creates 17 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions. Over 1 billion garments are produced each year, which is twice the amount produced just 15 years ago, and a staggering 73% end up in landfills.
Gucci loafers, Gucci sunglasses and Gucci belt at Neighborhood League Shop.
Yves St. Laurent famously said, “Fashion fades, but style is eternal.” Well, he was not referring to the synthetic fabrics used to make fast fashion. They are not biodegradable and will never fade. Shopping consignment reduces the cost of fashion by giving new life to used clothes. Resale moves us one step closer to a circular fashion future. Save the planet and look fabulous while not breaking the bank. Win, win, win!!
Prada bag ($1200) and Veronica Beard sandals ($95) at Vida Beale Consignment.
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