I have a mad passion for two things: clothes and saving money. While the two seem to clash a bit (OK, a whole lot), I’ve discovered you can absolutely do both. There is a way to look stylish, keep your wardrobe fresh AND invest more of your money into living a full life or that 401K. It’s all about finding a consignment shop you can’t live without. And while we love finding designer pieces at a fraction of the cost or one-of-a-kind gems, re-wearing clothes also is an effective way to recycle.
I talked with Lauren Murray, the owner of the fabulous consignment shop Estilo on Pleasant Street in Brunswick. Her tips make it easy to get the most for your money, never miss a great deal and know how to get the most out of those pieces of clothing or accessories that no longer bring you joy:
1. Every store has their own “style,” so get to know shops by visiting or checking our their website before bringing your items in. “Our favorite consignees have the magical three Cs…cute, clean and current,” Murray says. You usually make out better if you opt for a store credit rather than cash, too.
2. Find the store that is right for you and fits your budget. Consignment shops range from very high-end, where you still see a $200 price tag and fancier clothes, to more affordable places where most things are on the casual/everyday-wear side, and can range from $10-$20.
3. Check in often. Shop owners love their customers and they want to see you happy when you leave. Murray says, “We love getting to know our customers, and our top priority is for people to have a pleasant experience. We have lovely devoted regulars, some of whom have personal styles we understand so well that when things they would like come in, we text them or just set them aside right away!” Speak up and let shop owners know what you like. Don’t be afraid to call or pop in and ask if you are looking for something special. You never know if they have a treasure hiding in the back or if someone just dropped off your dream boots. And this way, the shop is getting to know you and what you love, which can lead to first dibs on some amazing pieces.
So what are you waiting for? Let’s go shopping!
I found this whole outfit for under $75, including the sunnies. My favorite part is these leather boots, which had never been worn and were still in the box.
Don’t you dare pay full price for a designer handbag until your check your local consignment shop. This Kate Spade is like new and was $20.
Sticking to second-hand shops is a no-guilt way to try new trends without the investment. I love these leather joggers now, but I might not next year.
For under $10, you can find classic accessories that won’t go out of style.
Katie Bingham-Smith is a writer, shoe addict and mother living in Bowdoinham. She pays her kids to rub her feet and never turns down anything with caffeine.