Monday, September 19, 2011

Consignment 101

***Disclaimer***You know when you have an idea for a post in your head for months and months, but you just have no idea where to start on it, so it just stays in your head?  This was that post... I've been wanting to post on this topic forever, but I never did, for several reasons.  First, I don't want to come across like a) an expert, because I promise you, I'm not, and b) a fashionista because I honestly have to ask my babysitters if something goes together or looks right.  (don't laugh.) They seem to get a kick out of this.  I am however, writing this post for all of you who like me, are trying to economize your life... but not look it.  Savvy?  So here we go.... 
 I call this one, "The Field Trip" outfit. (Cause I wear it for field trips all the time) Entire outfit, consignment with exception of cowgirl boots.  Big Star jeans, Old Navy sweatshirt, vest.
I shop at consignment stores like a mad woman, because I adore clothing, and $3.99 is a price I don't choke on these days.  You must be prepared to pick through everything, and often walk away when something isn't quite right,  but for all that, you can walk out with an armful of treasures that coordinate and complete things you already own, if you follow a few simple guidelines. I've never paid more than $15 for anything at consignment. The first place to start, is of course, your own closet.
I call this one, "Coffee with girlfriends."  (Entire outfit, consignment except for boots.)  Big star jeans, frilly peacock patterned top, gray jacket, green handbag, and turquoise earrings.
Weed it out:
Look through everything including accessories and handbags, and if it doesn't fit into one of the three following categories, toss it into a big bag.
1)You love to wear and/or even get complimented on it.
2) You wear it often and/or feel comfortable in it.
3) You can fit into it... right now. Yes.  I said that. (grin) Grab that big bag of rejected items you filled, and get ready to march it down to your consignment store when you go.  (And tell them to donate anything you didn't want so you don't end up bringing your out-of-date-but-oh-so-comfortable-high-school-acid-washed-jeans home.  Not that you would do that of course... I'm just saying.)
I call this one, "Grocery Shopping." All consignment (except for Eddie Bauer Curvy bootcut jeans, and cowgirl boots. Which obviously, I wear a lot.) White long sleeved tee, black hoodie tunic, butterfly pendant, black Dolce & Gabbana bag.
Take Inventory:
Once the weeding out is complete, look through what you've still got and figure out what's missing that would complete some outfits. Know what basics and accessories are important to your style and wardrobe and plan to stock up on those as you go along.  (Keep in mind, that even though you're doing this, you never know what you will find at a consignment store, so you'll benefit from keeping an open mind, and not locking in on what you "need to find."  That's a surefire way to not find it, and drive yourself crazy.)  One really good way to prepare yourself, is shop thorough magazines for outfits you like, and copy how they have pulled things together.  If the only piece you lack for a similar ensemble is a classic white top, or a colorful scarf, then you suddenly have yourself a shopping goal.  (And we like that.)
I call this one, "Dinner at Grandma's House." (Everything from consignment except for sandals- Target.) Jeans-Ann Taylor Loft, Black 3/4" sleeve tee, fun clear bead necklace, and Dolce Bag.
Set a Budget: 
If you're trying to keep your costs down, keep track of what you're spending. It's really easy to get carried away thinking everything is "super cheap" and then rack up a $50.00 bill because you weren't adding things up. 
I call this one, "I forgot a gallon of milk."  (All consignment except for Nike Tennis shoes.) Ann Taylor jeans, gray messenger bag (which is also my camera bag) grey long sleeve tee and Old Navy tank top, silver dangly earrings.
Utilize your shopping outfit: 
This is my favorite guideline and has served me well in the past.  I can't tell you how many times I've gone shopping for a dress, while wearing the heels I planned to wear once I found the dress.  (That goes for proper underthings, such as strapless bra.) Wear the top you need a sweater to go over...or the camisole that will work under the white top you are seeking.  You've got the general idea.
I call this one, "Saturday at the Movies." Which incidentally never happens because movies are freaking expensive.  But if I wanted to go to the movies, this is what I'd wear. Ahem. (Hat, knitted by my childhood friend Josie, striped top, Old Navy, and shoes converse, as old as my last baby.) Everything else consignment: Gray cardigan, Ann Taylor Loft jeans, Gray tank, and messenger bag.
Shop alertly: 
This tip has nothing to do with the creepy urban legend that tells you not to park next to vans.  (Though you should be careful of course.) This one means, when you walk into the store, scope it out.  "Scope and Snag," is my motto.  Scan your eyes around the mannequins, the walls, and the displays.  If you like it, rip it off and tuck it under your arm for the fitting room.  Never hesitate, because if you pass on something, it could go to the person next to you (and you just missed out.)  But be nice of course, because this doesn't mean you have to tackle the lady in front of you for those black pumps.  (Though I've witnessed some similar behavior before.... and it was pretty funny, I'll be honest.)

Shop Early: 
Get there when they open, and it's not super busy yet, to give yourself plenty of time to look through every rack if you want.  Places like this tend to make my head feel like it's about to explode, so I've found that getting there nice and early helps- it's not a crowded mess first thing in the morning.
I call this one, "I'm such a Mom."  (All consignment except for Merrel ballet flats) Same jeans I keep mentioning, Gray tank cause I was getting tired of changing clothes for y'all, gray purse which I love, supersoft navy cardi, and green Banana Republic wrap top. The only thing missing is my "Mom necklace, complete with kid name charms... heh,heh.  You know I'm right.
Inspect the item:
It goes without saying, that the reason some items end up in a consignment store, is because there is something not "quite right" about them, whether it be the fit, the top button that won't stay closed, or a stain that won't come out.  That said, there are often things you can do like replace that missing button, sew the tiny rip, or work that stain with oxyclean.  You just never know, so if the fit is great, and the price is right, be brave and take a chance.
I call this one, "Just picked up the kids from school." (Cause I did.) Everything I'm wearing but the shoes and necklace are consignment.  I made the necklace... and here's a closeup:
Here's the necklace I was wearing in the previous photo, close up... I made it.  Like it?  Next week, I'll have it listed, and then you can purchase one from my shop too! 
 Like I said, I'm no expert, but these are my rules of the road and a girlfriend made me share them with you... I hope they help you guys!

Happy thrifting!


  1. how fun, sasha! you are too stinkin' cute! i never think to shop consignment stores. mostly cause i'm really tall and it's hard to find clothes that fit right. maybe i should look again, just for fun :)

  2. You are too cute! Love this post - no matter how you started it. :)

  3. I never have luck shopping at consignment stores. Never anything in my size...and if it is, it's outdated and that is why someone has gotten rid of it to begin with.
    You however are rocking the cosignment thing. Cute outfits. You gave some great advice on how and what to shop for.
    Hmmmm, perhaps if I lost a few pounds maybe I would have better luck.

  4. I have alwasys wanted to stop into one and now it's on my to do list.
    Great ensemble's.

  5. Very cute ideas! I can not wait to pack away these maternity clothes and get into some style again! (Well...not that I'm super stylish, but I'm always trying!) Right now I have two pair of capris, one dress, one pair of shorts and about 7 tops in my maternity wardrobe. It's getting pretty old! I did some shopping online at Kohls and picked up some new tops for my oldest daughter, some new baby things, and a few new tops for myself and a fly away cardigan! So I'm feeling a little stylish anyway! Might not be a few months until I can wear the tops, but it's a start! (They were on a good sale, plus I had 30% off, and free shipping ... just sayin'.)

    Anywho...thanks a bunch for the advice!

    Carmen at Old House Kitchen

  6. Hi Sasha, recent reader to your blog. I love your clothing choices, and your new hair color. :-) Thanks for the tips, I am just getting into thrifting and consignment stores.

    Also, I love the necklace and can't wait for you to post it on Etsy. I will buy it. :-)

    I love your longer cardigans too. I'm short and like the length of yours.


  7. I agree with everyone, you look super cute! I especially like the grocery shopping outfit. I recently went through my closet and gave away 17 tops that I bought thrifting. From now on if I don't love it or it's not a basic item I need I'm not buying.
    Hope your hoodlums are loving school!

  8. you are always cute! i adore consignment shops. that is where we get most of our stuff! super cute necklace:) and can i say you look so different with that hair color. almost don't recognize you. very fall and pretty:)

  9. You are just too cute! Like you, I love to shop consignment stores. I am also a huge clearance rack shopper. I have (and still) work retail and it is foolish to pay full price for something. EVERYTHING eventually goes on sale. I promise. (I've been in retail for over 25 years)

  10. You are SO.MUCH.FUN! I love the going to the movies outfit. grey/ orange/ yellowish are my colors right now! Your keep calm sign in your bedroom is so cute! Now... what are we going to do with my bedroom??? I have such a hard time digging sasha!! Even at TJ Maxx. My sis is great at this and will find brand new uggs for 15 dollars, etc. I also noticed how many bags you have. I need a new bag but I went to the nordies website and every one I liked was about 400 bucks! Can you believe that?? Who pays that anymore?? I need to learn patience (which is a fruit of the spirit right?) and start learning to shop your way. You do such a great job. I really admire you and I'm not just whistling dixie.

  11. The whole world needs to read this post. I used to be really good at consigning but have since gotten out of it. Obviously I need to get back into it and use some of these tips!

  12. So cute!!! I love to shop consignments, some of my favorite items in my wardrobe are second hand! You look adorable!

  13. I love this! It is the kick in the pants I need. I have been trying to figure out my style lately. Not as funky as I was in college but not as frumpy as I feel right now. I have been tossing around the idea of cleaning out my closet and getting rid of everything (and I mean everything) I don't wear ever! You have inspired me to start thinking about what I have, what I like and to actually take the time to put together outfits!

    Thanks! :)

  14. ...and look at how that camera & the strap just go with everything Sasha!

    I love all the outfits & by the way your hair is looking great too - love the colour (yep my spelling gives it away I'm from the UK).

  15. Oh I love your clothes! I wish I were a more "normal" size and could shop consignment/thrift more easily. Hopefully once more weight comes off I'll be able to entertain the notion!

    And I love the necklace, darlin' - and would love to buy one from your store!!

  16. so here's my question... when you say "consignment" do you mean like goodwill places? if yes... then i'm SO jealous! our goodwill's have JUNK! maybe i should try a REAL consignment store... but wouldn't they have higher prices? can you tell i'm a total rookie? :) GREAT post... you look amazing as usual! :)

  17. I LOVE all your outfits!! JUST LOVE THEM!!! I have never purchased clothing from a consignment store, but will seriously think about it next time!!!

  18. Great tips! Have you ever considered getting a tripod? Just asking... ;0)

  19. Each time I think ohmy favorite post, but I love this post. I am so fashion challenged! I live in a world with friends that are dressed so cute. Thanks a million !!!
    I want, need the necklace. Havn't ordered from easy before...

  20. I can never find anything in consignment stores. It's always outdated or gross! I even found a pair of jeans with blood in the crotch one time, and it totally turned me off from shopping in them.

    You found some great stuff though.

  21. Wow! Now that is makin' lemonade in the "fashion economize I am a momma" world! And I love it! Great post!

    Love your blog!

  22. I need to get on board the consignment train - especially when it comes to my own clothes - I purge my closet 2 or 3x a year the same time as the kids cycle through their clothes and I end up donating so much. I could stand to cut back on paying full price too. Loving your crochet hat outfit and the picking up a gallon of milk ensemble - those are my 2 faves!

  23. I love this post! Every outfit is darling. I haven't shopped consignment, but I do shop at thrift stores regularly for clothes. I'll have to start hunting for consignment stores too! Ü

  24. I definitely need to hit some consignment stores...your outfits are SO cute!! When I love an outfit it's always because there are multiple layers, but when it comes to putting that togehter myself, I really struggle. I'll be saving this post for inspiration. :)

  25. I have GOT to get a handle on my wardrobe.

    Living in Orlando, it was so hard to keep up with the styles....all you REALLY need in Florida is a pair of flip flops, some shorts and a tank top.

    I also homeschool, so it's WAY TOO EASY to stay in yoga pants or exercise clothes....

    I think I might need to cave and start joining Pleated Poppy's What I Wore Wednesday just for some accountability.

    LOVE your outfits and your method!!!

  26. You just cracked me up. My fav outfit is definitely the 'Sat at the movies' outfit - very cute. Here in New Zealand we don't have consignment like you guys do (Oh I love to shop in the States.... that was like a previous life!!) - so thank you. Keep the ideas coming..... :)

  27. PS - have been praying for you guys this past whole tough journey - and more recently the school thing. We are thinking about putting our little ones in school for a season and I would love to know if the things you 'worried about' (like.... are they lonely, do they still love to hang out with you, are they still best friends with each other....etc etc etc - or is it just me that worries about those things...) - anyway, would love to know what you are seeing as reality as opposed to what you imagined might happen. Does that even make sense?? If you feel able to answer of course - some things might be too personal for me to be asking. Thanks :)

  28. I love all the great advice and cute outfits!

  29. "I forgot a gallon of milk"lol. Well shit, I must forget a gallon of milk AND my make-up every day now.

    My mom told me today that I need to buy clothes. I'm broke. I will try to follow your rules and do this again. The last time I went to a consignment shop I swear everything was expensive. I lack vision and love relatively expensive stores that put things together for me.

  30. Love it!! And yes, I think we'd be grand friends, because not only do we share a love for Jesus and thrifting/consignment stores, (and Life:Beautiful magazine) we're both gluten-free! Awesome!