When it comes to consignment shops some are better than others and I differentiate based on the type of goods (low vs high end) that they carry. Each have their specialties and some are simply more organized. Also some of the chains, vary from store to store.
Here are a few of my Boston favorites:
1. Buffalo Exchange-My top pick for overall value. Items are priced very fairly. Great mix of brands, but fewer of the high end brands. My favorite items to buy from here are shoes and jeans.
Top brands that I’ve found include: Lucky, Michael Kors, French Connection, J. Crew, Forever 21, Ralph Lauren, J. Brand, H&M, among others.
In Allston, MA they’re located right on Harvard Ave. In Somerville they’re on Elm Street. I’ve also checked out their location in LA, which was awesome.
For selling clothes they are pretty strict, so far I’ve had no luck. Some of my friends have been able to sell a few items though. They give you decent store credit, or less $ in cash.
One thing to note is that you have to bring your own bag, or you can pay .50 cents to buy a nice re-usable bag.
2. Second Time Around-This store has always been a favorite of mine, though they’ve dropped a few spots as I’ve expanded my repertoire. Still a solid store though.
Positives include their many locations, they have 3 stores on Newbury Street in Boston alone. Two years ago they opened in Coolidge Corner in Brookline.
Their stores include higher end items, but still have casual brands mixed in. Overall their prices are higher than at a store like Buffalo Exchange, however all the items have different colored tags based on how long the item has been in the store. Therefore, some items are up to 70% off. You can get really high quality jeans for between $20 and $50, which I think is reasonable. They have some even higher priced items, but I never go for those. They also carry quite a few nice dresses and coats. One of the stores on Newbury is almost all dresses.
3. Revolve–This store is my most recent discovery. I stumbled upon it while bringing a girl I babysit to the dentist in Belmont center. They have one location there and another down the road in Cushing Square. There are two more shops, one in Winchester and one in Lexington.
Revolve is awesome. Not only do they have beautiful clothes, but they are more selective than some other stores, which leads to beautiful items with less of the “why did they buy this item?” sentiment. I haven’t had a chance to buy too many things here yet, but I have my eye on several items right now, including a Tory Burch bag and a Burberry coat. These aren’t really in the budget, even used, but I will keep checking on them. I bought a cool print of the United States for my apartment, which is something unique because not all clothing consignment shops have other goods. I’ve also found some great J. Crew wedges. They have a rack of Lululemon too, which I haven’t seen in other stores. The concept of used workout clothes is a little weird to me (sweat?), but some of the jackets and tops look like new and don’t sketch me out. Even if you don’t find anything, Revolve is just a pleasant store to shop in.
4. Redress Boston-Located in Brookline, this is a shop that I’ve only stopped in a few times. I went in right when they first opened and found a great pair of Cole Haan loafers. It looks like they have added a lot since then. Their blog posts new items in the store, which is nice if you are looking for something in particular. I will definitely have to make another trip here soon.
5. Ensemble–Beautiful shop in Boston’s North End, located on Salem Street. Though this shop is tiny, it has high end consigned items, as well as a few home goods, trinkets and jewelry. If you’re looking for more professional items Ensemble carries nice suits and blazers from brands like Tahari.
This is a nice shop to visit because the woman who runs it is very knowledgeable about fashion, having been a former manager at Neiman Marcus. Plus, its located near a bunch of other cute shops and restaurants, so you can make a trip here into an afternoon in the North End.
6. Goodwill–Though it’s definitely a different shopping experience, I always love a good trip to Goodwill. Depending on the location, you can find some surprising high quality items. Just last week I bought a great pair of Tahari pumps at their location on the Upper East Side in Manhattan. I also saw several pairs of Hunter boots for $25. In the past at the Boston location on Commonwealth Avenue, I’ve found an Express Blazer for $6. Basically you can’t beat the price at Goodwill.
In addition to clothes they have furniture, home goods, movies and books. For a theme party (lumberjack, ugly sweat, halloween, Harry Potter) you can’t beat Goodwill. The best part about the store is when you are ready to switch up your wardrobe you can bring bags and bags of clothes here and know that they are going to be sold at an affordable price. They are also just a great company in general because they strive to employ seniors, veterans, people with disabilities and people with criminal backgrounds. It’s fun to hunt for random clothes here and it’s also nice that those who cannot afford expensive clothing can find nice items at a low price.
Those are my top picks for now. As I continue to explore the world of consignment I will give you an update on how to stay Frugal Fancy.