We at TheFrugalista.com love all insider info on best ways to consignment shop! Veronica Amarante of The Refined Pursuit shares some of her best tips for shopping the greatest deals for luxury vintage consignment clothing, designer bags and more online and in stores. She’s based in Palm Beach County, home to some of the best consignment shopping in the nation!
Why shop consignment?
I, like many other people, cannot afford to get the latest designer it-bag every season. I love a good designer accessory and clothing, but I have to stay within my budget. That’s why I spend a lot of my time visiting consignment shops looking for amazing pieces at a fraction of their cost.
Shopping consignment is also ideal when buying something you will only wear once to a special event, wedding or even prom. There are also consignment shops for kids, great resource for moms whose kids are growing out of their clothes.
How can I or any of my friends find a consignment shop?
You can find local consignment shops through Google, looking through a newspaper or even (gasp!) the phone book.
What criteria do you look for when it comes to making a great consignment purchase?
All consignment stores are different, so it is imperative you check them out and look for the following: quality of merchandise, selection and prices.
Quality – What good is a wide selection or reasonable prices if the store is not stocked with quality items? Quality in consignment means pieces that are in good shape. Items that are gently worn or new, clean and in good condition. If an item needs little repair or alterations and the price is right, it may be a good investment. One of the biggest differences between a thrift store and a consignment shop is better quality. Carefully selected and inspected merchandise on the sales floor.
Selection – Whether it’s a wide range in sizes, prices or brand names, selection is very important. Does the store carry vintage, current items or have a men’s or kid’s section? Also, how often the store gets new items in is detrimental to the range of selection available.
Prices – The biggest appeal of consignment shopping is the ability to purchase items at a fraction of their retail value. Are their prices reasonable? Do you feel like you are getting a good deal or made a good investment in a classic piece? Do they regularly have sales? Most of the stores I visit have items on sale or offer a special discount.
Once you’ve found a store that meets this criteria, what’s next?
Clothes: Make sure you allow yourself plenty of time to browse and to try on items. Always try everything on, even if it’s your size. Since items are previously owned, there is a chance that the garment was altered or tailored to fit the previous owner. Vintage sizes also tend to run smaller.
Designer bags: If you are buying a designer bag, make sure you educate yourself on what an authentic version of a bag looks like. There are really good counterfeit bags out there, the last thing you would want to do is purchase one believing it’s authentic. By the way, if the store you are visiting is selling a counterfeit bag as an authentic – that’s good sign you probably don’t want to shop there.
Searching for a specific designer: If there is a specific item or designer you are looking for, ask the store employee. They may have items in the back that are either not in season or that just arrived and has not yet been tagged.
Visit different stores in your area and get to know what each store has to offer. You will be amazed at what you will find at guilt-free price.
Have you gotten any really spectacular deals from a designer consignment store online or in stores?
Alexander McQueen Scarf – $60
Fendi Clutches – $99 each
Vintage Versace shoes – $50
Vintage Yves Saint Laurent sweater – $80
Can you share some of your favorite consignment stores?
Sure, these are are some of my favorite local and online consignment stores:
- Consigned Couture in North Palm Beach
- Fashionista Palm Beach – FYI, they have two locations: Palm Beach and West Palm Beach
- If Pockets Talked
Veronica Amarante is the editor of The Refined Pursuit, which details the “search of amazing luxury designer pieces – vintage or current – for a fraction of their retail value.” Follow Veronica on Twitter (@RefinedPursuit).