How to Shop: Consignment

In part with my finance series, I'm also going to talk about how I shop at different types of stores.  Shopping is not fun to many people - many of them, women I'm related to.  Yep, the apple fell from an orange tree here.  Since I have been spending a lifetime trying to get anti-shoppers to see that it's not a day wasted, I thought I would help those wanna-be shoppers and maybe shopping lovers see how I wade through the fashion world.

My first attack: Consignment!  How do you shop at a store where they get clothing that was purchased a while ago and potentially worn by someone else?  Well first ask yourself two questions.

1. Do you have more than an hour to dedicate to one store?
2. Are you trying to save money but need to update your wardrobe?

Then keep reading - you will be able to shop consignment!

First, you need to know that this takes time.  These stores are a one of a kind place.  It's almost like trying to find a husband at a state university.  There are so many guys, some attractive, some not so much but you still are intrigued and then after a while, you're like... "They all are the same!  I can't choose!"

Yes ladies, you will find a mate.

Start at the size you normally wear (I'm in between a small and a medium, and when shopping at consignment I start at medium because when people wash clothes they tend to get smaller) and look through every single item.  Did you pull out a couple of items?  No?  GO BACK.  Consignment is a great place to buy something you will only wear a handful of times.  Not everything is going to fit right either.  Be patient and do not blame your body.  If something doesn't fit right, it's probably the shirt (remember, someone didn't want to wear it anymore, and it's probably because it fit the same way).

If you go through every single item you may find gems like these:

I got the infamous Zara dress that KATE MIDDLETON OWNED - YES, THE EXACT STYLE & MAKE - at a consignment shop for $30.  It retails for $90.  I wear this dress to work often - it's a little larger than I normally would wear, but I belt it, like Kate, and add a cardigan or blazer to hide the extra fabric on the sides.  Have I worn this more than a dress I paid twice for?  Definitely.

I also got these three pairs of J.Crew Shorts (sorry, they're wrinkled, I haven't worn shorts in a while - thanks cold summer) for $10 each at a consignment store.  Retail price?  $40.  Read: I saved $90.  Yeah, they aren't brand new.  But I wear them as often as I would if they were.

Which leads me to the next point: quality.  Some things you find may not be in stellar quality.  Ask yourself if it's worth it.  Is something worn almost to the point of gaining an extra hole?  Is it a dollar?  Yeah, you can probably get away with it.  Does it seem like something that you have in your closet and still wear?  Then add it!

Sometimes, you can find gems that are brand new, like this dress I found on a recent trip


Original retail price? $94 - Current: $15

Is it worth it?  Heck yeah!  Would I have paid $94 for it, no way...  but I'm definitely going to wear it 15+ times (and I look at clothing as a dollar per wear) Consignment is where you can get stuff like that.  

Also, remember that this is a great place to find designer duds for less.  While you can purchase Michael Kors at a Michael Kors store or a TJMaxx, you will still spend more than $30.  Guaranteed.  However, if you take the time and look, you may find this gem:

Michael Kors skirt for $7.52.

And I can assure you, Michael would be thrilled!  So here are my quick and fast tips:

1. Take your time
2. Pick out a lot of stuff - don't think, just grab
3. Try on everything and don't get discouraged
4. If you do get discouraged, remember there is a reason why it's at the store
5. Check out the quality
6. Decide if the price is worth it - are you going to wear it that many times?  Is that an appropriate price?
7. Realize that everyone gets lucky once in a while and you just got a great deal - schwing!


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