Has all that holiday event enthusiasm put you in a fresh fashion pickle? Are your closets too tiny to hold all of your treasured threads? Are you looking for places to shop for that extra-special piece that you don’t want any one else to find? Dilemmas… we’ve found the answer to all three!
It’s as simple as consignment. These buy-and-sell boutiques are back in business in a big way! Call it rational resale. Put money in your pocket and get out of that pickle by finding sensational (sometimes brand new!) styles at reduced prices or relinquishing your gently used pieces to make room (and money!) for some new faves.
We took a stroll around our favorite city shopping mecca, Georgetown, to satisfy your curiosity on the ongoing consignment craze. Here’s your how-to on what to expect when you walk in, how to make money, and whether you’ll want to be shopping where you’re selling.
Annie’s cornered the market on vintage. This store boasts DC’s only place for vintage cocktail and formal gowns.
Secrets of the Sell: Make an appointment with the buyer (202.298.5555). You’ll need a minimum of 20 pieces per appointment and can make up to 2 appointments per month. Your items will be purchased immediately from you (which doesn’t exactly make this consignment), but guarantees you’ll make some loot for your old looks. Choose from either 30% of the items’ worth in cash or 50% in store credit (which never expires).
Browsing to Buy: When descending the stairs, save the room to the left for your splurge days, because this is where the really high end stuff is located. Personal Kate Note: This place makes me itchy upon entering, but era-inspired stylistas and costume characters can seriously score with very little scratch.) Another sidenote – Annie wins for best website of the stores I visited.
Apparently secondhand shops cluster, because this one is mere steps from Annie Creamcheese. Second Time Around promises that “Resale Goes Upscale,” but quite honestly, you’ll have to search to find many truly luxe labels.
Secrets of the Sell: You’ll need an appointment (202.333.2355) and a collection (no max or min on item number) of high-end clothing less than 2 years old. Your goods get 90 days on the sales floor, and you get 60% of the payout price (that’s the best percentage deal I found)!
Browsing to Buy: Second Time Around claims to sell high-end designer labels and boutique brands, but my quick glance landed on more J. Crew than J. Mendel. The handbag and shoe selections weren’t shabby though – definitely worth more than window shopping.
A short walk up Wisconsin brings you to Georgetown’s oldest consignment collection. Secondhand Rose opened in 1977 – and the longevity is for good reason.
Secrets of the Sell: Make an appointment (202.337.3378) (sound familiar?!), with no max or min item number. Your castoff couture gets 90 days on the rack here as well, with a 50/50 percentage split of the profits. You’ll want to go in to reclaim your unsolds at the end of the period promptly… Secondhand Rose is a small space and donates those duds to make more room. Personal Kate Note: Another reason you might want to consign here, you’ll get double exposure – Secondhand Rose is adding an Ebay Boutique to sell its wares outside of its Wisconsin Ave. walls.
Browsing to Buy: Ascending the staircase into Secondhand Rose is like walking into your uber-chic Grandmother’s attic. It’s cramped, hot and stuffy, but with some searching, it becomes a treasure trove! When I say brand names, I mean brand names. Timeless St. John, Michael Kors, Yves St. Laurent, and Gucci can be found, but it takes patience and purpose to find it.
Tari (BRAND NEW) (1525 Wisconsin Ave. NW)
A neighborhood recycling route – or maybe just a closet swap for the bold and beautiful. This recently remodeled Wisconsin Ave. store will having you swooning… in style.
Secrets of the Sell: At first impression, Tari seems more boutique chic than upscale resale, so you’ll want to be sure to follow the label guidelines as listed on the website to get in your goods. Make an appointment for first time drop-off of women’s and men’s new and almost new clothing and accessories (see that, men!!). Items stay for 90 days at a 50/50 split – sound familiar?!
Browsing to Buy: If you’re looking for a high-end heaven, this one is beautifully organized and may be your best bet. And after fawning over a new frock for that evening event, you won’t have far to go! Tari recently announced the opening of its courtyard and private soiree space… so you can just plan to primp and party on the premises.
Reality starlet Krista Johnson is creating a real fashion frenzy – collecting high-end finds from colleagues and all over the United Sates. Stop in to shop.. or visit Ella-Rue’s Ebay boutique.
Secrets of the Sell: Surprise, surprise…no appointment necessary (!!) Tuesday-Thursday when bringing in four items or less. Otherwise, call of e-mail for a time to bring your trendiest take-ins. Like Secondhand Rose and Tari nearby (I told you they clustered!), higher end labels are preferred. Ella-Rue holds items on the re-sale rack for 90 days and then asks you to come and get ’em, or they will be donated to the Salvation Army. Sold items earn you a 50/50 percentage split of the profits.
Browsing to Buy: Shopping at Ella-Rue is like shopping in the best city boutiques. Yes, it’s resale, but it literally just jumped off the pages of last month’s InStyle. This is where those party princess pieces bolt to escape the back of the closet forever. New and never worn trends from Intermix, Cusp, Wink and other local “List” dressers can be found for a fraction!