Consignment shopping used to be something I would never consider. I equated it to thrift shopping in dingy warehouses that smelled of stale perfume and body odour. Some consignment stores do struggle to keep their shops smelling fresh, but today higher standards across the industry are finding fewer than ever.
There are advantages to shopping consignment that, like myself, you may not have realized. If you are a true "shopaholic" you need to know what took me years to discover!
1. Visit every consignment store in your city. You will see that some carry high-end designer fashion and some carry mid-range classics. Some are overstocked with low-end fast-fashion. Find one that suits your budget and your personal style preferences. There are those that cater to the trend-conscious and others that only offer vintage. Select two or three you gravitate towards to be your "go-to's".
2. Check the labels. Better consignment stores require that their consignors leave the labels intact. Most won't accept garments that have had them removed, ripped or cut. This ensures the authenticity of the designer and the quality of the fabric. As a buyer you want to know what country the garment was manufactured in, what type of fabric was used, and the washing instructions. You also want to be sure garments, handbags and shoes are not knockoffs and have authentic labels with the correct spelling, colouring, and stitching.
3. Check for stains, missing buttons and hardware. Most consignment stores have intake staff who do vetting, spot cleaning, and steaming of all garments that are taken in. The goal is to make each garment look as new as the day it was created. A shoddy garment will not sell in a consignment shop and will be immediately donated to a thrift store or returned to the owner. Garments must be dry cleaned or washed to be accepted by a quality consignment store. If you happen to notice a stain, tear or missing hardware, be sure to bring it to the attention of a staff member so it can be removed from the sales floor.
4. Great price-points! Here's where consignment shopping is really beneficial. Staff in consignment stores are constantly researching prices to get the best price possible for themselves and their consignors. They are competing with other retailers though, as well as on-line consignors, and Amazon vendors. Although they try to get a reasonable amount of revenue from their consignor's garments, they also have to ensure they sell. A garment will automatically be discounted 50-60% off the original price when it first hits the sales floor. It will be held in the store for at least a month before it gets discounted even further. It may be discounted another 10-20% after a month, and again after another month. If it does not sell within three months, it is sent back to the owner or donated, at the owner's discretion. A garment that is close to being returned may be discounted as much as 90% of the original value! This is a huge amount, particularly for high-end designer items that would never retail at such prices in high-end department stores like Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, and Macy's.
5. You can consign too! That's the beauty of consignment. You can purchase or sell, or both. It's up to you! It's a win-win because you can wear expensive designer clothes you normally couldn't afford; change up your wardrobe more often than before; wear something different to every event; and send it all back to recover your costs! What can be better than that!
I challenge you to step out of your comfort zone when it comes to shopping for fashion and see what you were missing by checking out the wonderful world of consignment shopping!