6 Tips to Successful Consignment Shopping

consignment shop
Online photo/Chicago Resale shop

If you have been following my blog, you know by now that I find many great wardrobe items at consignment shops, especially the local Revolve Boutiques in Belmont, Lexington, and Winchester. It’s a way to enhance your closet without breaking the bank, and it’s also fun; pieces are all ‘one of a kind’ and every time you enter the shop it’s like hunting for treasure.  Your hunting expedition can be frustrating however if your purchases don’t turn out to be things you wear and enjoy – then instead of  a bargain it’s a waste of money.  That’s not good, and is avoidable for the most part. From years of experience, here are six tips to be sure your consignment shopping is a complete and cost-effective success:

  1. Choose the right shop – Just like anything else in life, not all consignment shops are created equally. Regardless of what city or town you live in, when you walk in does it look like a well-displayed, chic boutique or is it so crammed tight with merchandise that it is hard to go through the racks? Does it have a musty odor? If it is overloaded with clothes and smelly, that’s a sign that items are old and the quality standards are not top notch. Move on…
  2. Go in with a list in your head – This is a smart practice regardless of where you are shopping – know what you need and look for that first. Being focused also keeps you from getting overwhelmed.  Need a simple white blouse? Head over to the rack with tops and look for exactly that – don’t be distracted by the cute blue chambray shirt that you really don’t need.
  3. Try on items that are not your size – In consignment shops sizes are not always accurate. Sometimes the previous owner cut out the size label, and the size displayed is just an estimate. The previous owner may also have had alterations. All brands fit quite differently, so if you like how something looks, try it on! You may be pleasantly surprised.
  4. Be open to tailoring – A perfect fit is a must to look and feel your best. Taking an item to your tailor for a simple alteration is well worth the expense on a piece you love.  Make the waist a bit smaller, shorten sleeves, shorten length of pants/skirt, these are all doable. What is not doable is making something bigger. NEVER buy something that’s too tight thinking that you will lose weight, thinking you can’t live without it. You can. Walk away.
  5. Hunt for ‘treasures’ –  In most consignment shops there is a ‘high-end’ section where you can find designer brands, some well known, others more obscure. The quality of the fabric, the tailoring, and the unique styles are often worth the extra cost if you find pieces that fit you and your lifestyle. This is my favorite part of consignment shopping – I usually head straight to that section like a kid in a candy shop!  Know what labels you like, and/or be open to discovering a new one.
  6. Visit regularly –  If you are lucky enough to live near a great consignment shop, go once a week, especially at the change of seasons. Merchandise generally changes every day so there are always new things to check out. If you stay focused on what you need and then find ‘treasures’, you can’t go wrong. You can actually become addicted…now that’s for another post…;-)new old


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