The Case for Consignment

enviro girlThe other day Enviro Girl was talking to another mom at their sons’ basketball game.  This mom has 3 little kids and hasn’t invested a lot of time in updating her wardrobe.  “When I shop, I always end up getting stuff for them.  It’s just so overwhelming even getting started on shopping for myself.  I know my closet is hopelessly outdated.  I don’t even know where to start.” That’s the gist of what she said, anyway.  Enviro Girl saw her opening.

“Have you tried Chic to Chic?” she suggested.  “It’s a consignment store …” and Enviro Girl went on the describe the awesomeness of shopping consignment.

Consignment stores are small.  This makes them less intimidating for someone without a clue of where or how to start updating their wardrobe.  Generally consignment stores specialize in women’s, men’s or children’s clothes which means no distractions from shopping for oneself.  Enviro Girl totally understands her friend’s weakness.  Even a midsized department store like Kohl’s or Younkers has so many “women’s” departments that the whole business of finding something becomes utterly overwhelming and it’s a lot easier to go to the few racks marked “Boys Size 10” and walk out of the store with something for your kid.  Whether you’re a fashionista or a “Glamour Don’t” poster child, consignment stores are a less intimidating shopping environment.

Consignment stores have a fantastic variety of clothing.  Instead of spending a day at a mall, you can find a sampling of a range of brands under one roof if you shop consignment.  This provides you with a sense of fit, style, quality and other information that might lead you to Banana Republic, Chico’s, The Limited or The Gap on a future shopping excursion.  The best consignment shops are selective about brands and quality, giving shoppers an all-encompassing shopping experience without requiring multiple trips through multiple stores.

Consignment stores offer personal and expert advice.  If you’re not sure what the latest trends are, how to style an outfit or how to select pieces for your wardrobe you should try consignment shopping.  The owners commit themselves to fashion–they’d go out of business if they didn’t have an eye for what looks good.  Unfortunately, if you shop in a conventional setting, many retail clerks either don’t care about your shopping experience and/or fashion woes or they’re intent on closing a sale that may not be in your best interest.  Consignment shop owners know satisfied customers are returning customers, so they have a vested interest in satisfaction.  Enviro Girl explained to her friend that the women working at Chic to Chic are extremely helpful and will ask lots of questions about your lifestyle and wardrobe needs before making suggestions.  And because they have all things (shoes, purses, jewelry, coats, dresses, shirts, etc.) under one roof, they can demonstrate how pieces go together, too.

Consignment shops offer great quality and fashionable clothes at a low price point.  Because the clothes on consignment are often used and sometimes brand new but previously owned, they sell for half the price (or less) of clothes sold at regular department or specialty stores.  Enviro Girl told her friend that most things at this particular shop are priced at $15, so whether you’re building an entirely new wardrobe or you’re trying out a new style, you won’t break the bank.  Specifically, Enviro Girl has snagged a brown leather Coach purse for $15, a brand new still tagged down vest from The Gap for $25 and a wool hooded LL Bean sweater for $15.  You can rebuild a lot of your wardrobe for little money at a consignment store.

Consignment shops are easy to navigate.  Consignment stores rotate their stock frequently and they’re small, which means they’re less tiresome to shop at compared to discount retailers like TJ Maxx or thrift shops like Goodwill where shoppers must troll through endless racks of clothing.  Also, their stock is always changing and the inventory is smaller, so you can tell the store owner you’re on the lookout for a black belted trench coat size 10 and they’ll note that for you — if one comes in, they’ll call you.

Consignment shops are “green.”  Their entire business model is based on reusing and recycling.  When you consider the waste involved in shopping and how much we consume, buying used stuff like clothing makes a lot of sense for the environment.  Shopping consignment means you conserve more resources (cotton, energy, manpower) than you would if you shopped at a conventional clothing store buying brand new clothes.

Enviro Girl’s story has a happy ending.  The mom she talked to called her two days later.  She’d gone to Chic to Chic and was thrilled with the experience.  She bought lots of new pieces of clothing that made her feel stylish and beautiful, the store owner gave her lots of help and advice and for the first time in years she felt fashionable.  All thanks to a consignment store.

Whether you’re a fashionista looking to score the latest trend for a low price or a “Glamour Don’t” trying to update your look, a consignment shop is a great place to start finding clothes and accessories.

Tell the Eco Women:  do you shop consignment?  What’s your go-to consignment shop?

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One thought on “The Case for Consignment

  1. Our son and wife always shops consignment for their 3 kids. They outgrow the clothes often before they’re worn out! They know all the best stores at the beach, in town, in the big town . . . my daughter-in-law found a barely-worn winter coat for herself, faux fur collar and warm for Sundays, for (are you sitting down?) $10! So it’s a savings things, too.

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