Yesterday, I spent a lot of time talking about thrift stores, and why I love them. Today, I want to shine some light on consignment shops, when I choose to go to them, and why.
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The Consignment Shop
Consignment shops are stores that take in outside products from individuals and agree to sell them for the individual in return for a percentage of the sale. Selling on consignment is a popular avenue for gently used prom dresses, wedding gowns and other formal wear that has already been worn and will probably not be worn again by the original owner. I also see a lot of name brand clothing go through consignment shops.
I think consignment shops can be a great way to find nice, designer clothing for a fraction of their retail value. The nice thing about this type of store is that the majority of the stock will be current style trends. A lot of stores pick and choose what to accept on consignment based on the probability of a successful sale, so you should be able to find something you like that's fashion forward on the racks. The other thing I like about consignment shops is that they are set up like a boutique. The racks are organized, spaced well and arranged in sections similar to retail stores, making them easy to navigate. Sometimes, they will even separate by color which can be beneficial if you're looking for something specific.
If I'm looking for a specific item, I will sometimes choose to go to a consignment shop over a thrift store because you can usually find better quality, fashionable styles with less effort. For example, if I'm looking for a specific color dress for a special event, I can go to a consignment shop and have a better chance of finding what I'm looking for that's nice, formal and at a good price point.
The main reason I don't choose a consignment store on a normal basis is because of the prices. Granted, you are getting a good deal when you pay a quarter of the retail value, but I have a hard time paying $15-$20 for a work blouse that's used. I feel I can keep an eye out at retail department stores for deals to get the same price on a brand new blouse instead. I understand that the items in consignment shops will generally be higher than thrift stores because the profit is being split two ways instead of one, but if I'm just looking for general clothing basics, I feel I can get a much better bargain at a thrift store.
The other reason I tend to avoid consignment shops is because the plus sizes are either very small sections or nonexistent altogether. According to the Centers for Disease Control, the average woman in the United States is 5 foot 4 inches in height and weighs 164 pounds, putting her around a size 14 by general standards. I find the majority of clothing in consignment shops to be in the size range of 8 to 14, so I'd say the majority of women who shop in these stores probably find several items in their size. However, I am above the national average, so if a store does not carry plus sizes, I won't find a piece that fits. I have walked through an entire shop only to feel awful by the time I leave because I searched tag after tag without finding a single item in my size. I'm not saying all consignment shops are that way because I have also been to a couple that carry plenty in my size, but I don't like the feeling of walking into a store and feeling ashamed of my body because it's not important enough to even carry clothing in my size. That's why I avoid most stores in malls (unless they advertise plus sizes), so I'm naturally going to avoid these stores in the same respect.
In my humble opinion, I will always choose a thrift store first because of the price point and ability to find clothing in my size. I am happy to search through racks upon racks of clothing to find quality pieces hidden inside for pennies on the dollar.
I would love to hear other opinions of the Thrift Store versus the Consignment Shop from your experience, so please feel free to leave a comment below!