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Side view of Banana Republic floral print silk coat with silk scarf, 3.1 Phillip Lim bag and L.K. Bennett patent leather pumps (all own)

Those of you who follow my blog already for a while know that I like to search for high end items on eBay and in consignment stores. One of my readers recently asked me to share how to score high in a consignment store. Of course, I answered to her email directly. Since this reader’s question may be of interest for a wide audience I am answering the question here as well and share the tips with all of you.

Contents
  1. Browse Consignment Stores at the Beginning of the Week
  2. Search Clothes by Colors of Your Palette
  3. Often You Can Score Unwanted Gifted Items
  4. Examples of What I Found in a Consignment Store
    • Statement Buckle and Belt
    • Iconic Floral Silk Coat
    • Statement Color Shirt Dress
    • Score AK Pumps
  5. Cross Off Items from Your List that You Got
  6. Summary of the Tips to Score High in a Consignment Store

 

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Browse Consignment Stores at the Beginning of the Week

Typically, Mondays are the days consignment stores have a lot of new items as people tend to wheat out their closets on the weekend. While the woman was going through my items to see what they would take into consignment I browsed the store.

 

Search Clothes by Colors of Your Palette

They have a rack for each size and item type and within the rack they have the clothes sorted by color. I love this concept as it is the similar to the organization of my closet and allows for a quick lunch break browsing when you know what your size and colors are. Thus, I went to the top rack, which holds blazer, cardigans, and tops of all kinds and browsed thru my colors. On my fall shopping list, there is still a cashmere sweater and a cable knit sweater, and there was a pair of brown shoes for the office for fall. On the rack there was nothing that called my name.

If it is not your style, not your color or does not fit, don't buy it. #fashionover50 #agelessstyle Click To Tweet

Let it go. It would be too expensive, no matter what the price tag says.

Never buy something, just because it is a high end brand for peanuts. If it is not you, it's too expensive no matter how low the price is. Click To Tweet If it is not your style, not your color or does not fit, don't buy it. #fashionover50 #agelessstyle Click To Tweet

Let it go. It would be too expensive, no matter what the price tag says.

Never buy something, just because it is a high end brand for peanuts. If it is not you, it's too expensive no matter how low the price is. Click To Tweet

 

Often You Can Score Unwanted Gifted Items

The cashier was on a ladder and thus I looked up. Guess what? There was a brand new Jaeger tote of the kind and color I was looking for since a long time – for $80! I paid my three finds and said to the cashier that I can’t understand why someone buys such a bag and then never wears it. She said “The lady who brought it in said it was a gift that someone bought for her in Europe, but that it was totally not that lady’s style.” “Thus, it was a white elephant” I replied. We laughed and I said
One woman's trash is another's treasure. #recycling #thrifting Click To Tweet

 

Examples of What I Found in a Consignment Store

Iconic Floral Silk Coat

This beautiful coat is a consignment store find for $52. I like the sleek elegant cut that seems somehow in contrast to the floral pattern. The pattern is quite large so it does not look sweet or romantic. On the contrary, the relatively large flowers even give the coat some edge. And as you know I like edgy.

over 50 years old woman in a second hand floral print silk coat

mature style blogger in a thrifted spring floral print silk coat

fashion over 50 woman in spring coat
Outfit details: Banana Republic floral print silk coat (consigned), DIY and thrifted silk scarves, 3.1 Phillip Lim bag, D&GM sunglasses, unbranded pantyhose, and L.K. Bennett patent leather pumps (eBay)

 

Pro tip: Classic items and basics are the easiest consignment finds to integrate into your existing wardrobe.

Statement Buckle and Belt

Kieselstein Cord belt buckle detail view

fashion blogger over 50 in casual work look with denim skirt and consigned sweater and belt
Outfit details: Oliveo denim skirt with Ann Taylor cashmere sweater (thrifted), plaid scarf, Kieselstein Cord Belt (consigned) and buckle, Seiko watch, garnet bracelet, Hermes collier de chien bangle, L.K. Bennett patent leather pumps (eBay)  and unbranded pantyhose

 

Statement Color Shirt Dress

Style blogger Nicole in thrifted shirt dress

consigning fashion blogger in teal sleek shirt dress with floral pumps

fashion influencer in teal thrifted shirt dress styled for work

style blogger in a Burberry Brit trench coat with thrifted shirt dress, floral pumps, and black pearl necklace
Outfit details: Burberry Brit trench coat with Express shirt dress, Hermes Medor watch, Madonna True or Dare floral pumps, Dolce and Gabbana Madonna sunglasses, Hermes collier de chien bangle, Jaeger tote and black pearl necklace

 

Score AK Pumps

Sometimes you can score some brand new pieces like these Anne Klein pumps. Open toe pumps with a classic heel mean these pumps are not yesteryear. The branded fabric is very neutral meaning they go with a lot of pieces in any work wardrobe (see photo inspiration below).

 

Stylist tip: When buying shoes second hand, make sure they fit perfectly and check the heels. Having to bring them to the cobbler before being able to wear them means they are not as cheap as the price tag suggests!

 

I am not a big fan of normcore or label abbreviations prints all over a wardrobe item. However, in the case of these shoes, the label abbreviation made me excited and was the final kick to buy them. Anne Klein abbreviated as AK has the same abbreviation as Alaska. Thus, they called my name, and I call these pumps the state pumps 😉 .

 

details of summer office outfit with thrift store found pumps

thrifting blogger in striped modern sheath dress with thrifted AK pumps
Calvin Klein striped linen sheath dress, Anne Klein open toe pumps, Ray Ban Jackie O. Sunglasses, Tissot watch, Hermes collier de chien bangle and Jaeger bag

 

 

Cross Off Items from Your List that You Got

Then I went to the shoe shelf and saw a pair of brand new very classic Etienne Aigner wedges for $38 and a brand new pair of Anne Klein open toe AK logo heels for $14 – both in my size! I tried them on and they were perfect fits and looked great on my feet. I went towards the checkout to get them, and crossed the shoes off my fall shopping list.

 

Summary of the Tips to Score High in a Consignment Store

  1. Know the medium and high end brands or designer that you want to look for or that you are interested in, how they fit you and search the racks for them.
  2. Know the colors that flatter you. Only browse that section of the rack unless you have experience in which fabrics and colors you can dye to the colors.
  3. Don’t rely on the size tag. An item may be there because it shrunk in the washer and/or drier. Know your measures and have a measure band ready to measure the item that you are interested in. Lay it flat and multiply the flat measurements by 2. If the result fits your measurements plus an inch for ease, try it on for fit.
  4. Browse only thru items one size up or down of your size, in your style and color palette.
  5. Inspect the item for flaws and assess whether the condition and price match. For instance, when you still have to bring it to a tailor to shorten the hem or dye, add these costs in your mind.  Always clean the clothes before wearing. As a rule of thumb, dry cleaning is between $10 to $15, hemming is about $20, dying is about $5, but may not turn out as you like.
  6. Befriend a sales person. Tell her what you are looking for and give her your phone number. She will call you when something comes in that you are looking for or she thinks you may like.
  7. Browse often. Tuesdays or two days after a holiday are best. Typically, people clean out the closets when they have time. Store employees need a day or so to make an inventory of the new brought-in items.

 

Do you thrift? What were your recent finds? What are you looking for when you shop a thrift store?
You can find tips for 5 star shopping on eBay. You may also be interested in learning how to integrate second hand clothes into modern looks and to look like a 1000 bucks for a couple
of bucks
.

 

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Photos: G. Kramm

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