If you have Lilly Pulitzer taste, but don’t have a high-end fashion budget, it can be difficult to find clothing that fits your personal style but doesn’t drain your bank account. Traditional clothing stores that offer clothing you can afford rarely stock items that compare with the style and quality of couture designer labels. Shopping at consignment shops and designer resale stores allows you to fill your closet with items from your favorite designers without tanking your pocketbook.


When you are shopping in a consignment store, keep the following tips in mind to ensure you are making a wise fashion investment.

Shop Often

Unlike standard department stores that rotate clothing seasonally, consignment clothing and accessory stores have an ever-changing selection of items for sale. Inventory can change drastically from week to week depending on whether people have brought items in for consignment. Today, they may be offering a fabulous pair of Jimmy Choo shoes, and next week Prada and Manolo Blahniks. Stores, particularly those that specialize in designer consignment online may update their inventories daily.

Look for Off-Season Items

High-end clothing stores stock apparel based on the current season, but because sellers are constantly bringing in items for consignment, consignment stores have a variety of clothing available for all seasons. For example, it wouldn’t be surprising to find a cute strapless Betsey Johnson sundress on the rack in December, and a long-sleeved Oscar de la Renta floor-length gown or Michael Kors trench coat in the summer.

Buy it Even if It’s Not the Perfect Size

If you find a beautiful Dianne Von Furstenberg pencil skirt in a size 8, but you wear a size 6, consider purchasing it anyway and having it personally tailored to fit you. Even with the added cost of the tailoring, you’ll still pay significantly less than buying the item new. If the item is a tight fit, check the seams – if the item has enough fabric in the seams it may be possible to let it out a bit.

Check the Condition

Before buying any clothing, handbags or shoes, inspect the item thoroughly. Ensure that all the buttons are there, that all zippers slide easily, and that there is no staining or excess wear and tear. Most reputable consignment shops won’t offer anything that is in less than pristine condition, but it’s always good to double-check. With shoes, make sure all the linings are intact and that the heels are not worn down.

Upscale consignment shopping is very popular for several reasons – you get the quality and style of luxury brands, you save significantly by purchasing gently-used items rather than new, and you are recycling, which appeals to many green-savvy fashionistas.


Recycled Clothing Facts, SFGate

Benefits of Consignment Clothes Shopping, Mother Earth Living