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Consignment shopping is a green way to save on fashion

Americans can help offset the 13.1 million tons of textile waste dumped in landfills each year by consignment shopping. Oklahoma City-area shops are among those helping out.
by Heather Warlick Modified: January 15, 2013 at 4:39 pm •  Published: January 15, 2013

4. It's not your grandma's hand-me-downs.

Consignment shopping is for anyone who likes a great deal, but it's more grown-up than its cousins, thrift and vintage shopping. Thrift stores receive donated items to which the previous owner attached little to no value. Consignment shops have higher standards for the items they have in stock, Santore said.

“What's more important than the bargain is the fashionability,” Santore said. “It doesn't do any good if you pay a dollar for something and you look like you stepped from the set of ‘Maud' or something.”

5. You'll find treasures from all around the world.

Many of Santore's upscale consignors are quite well-traveled, and items from their worldly travels often end up on the shelves of Nearly New.

“We serve two masters. It's very exciting. We never know what's going to come in that door,” Santore said. For example, one of Santore's estimated 18,000 consignors recently brought in a Hermes clutch with a retail value of $12,000. Within a few hours, Santore said, he sold the bag for $9,000 to someone he knew was in the market for such a piece. On a smaller scale, consider finding a Coach handbag in perfect condition for under $100.

6. Consignment shopping offers style flexibility.

For the woman who wears many hats, no pun intended, consignment shopping can be extra helpful.

Most women need a varied wardrobe appropriate for many activities — working woman by day, soccer mom by weekend, morning workout warrior, date night fashionista and social sophisticate for formal events, just to name a few possibilities.

7. You can make a little money.

If you haven't worn it in a year, it's time to get rid of it. Take an afternoon and go through your clothing, designating everything as either “keep,” “donate,” “consign” or “throw away.”

8. Your husband and kids can benefit, too.

Kids' and men's consignment stores are far rarer than women's. Kid's resale shops such as “Once Upon a Child,” with locations at 13801 N Pennsylvania Ave and 10400 South Western Avenue #13, pay cash for “gently used” children's clothing and accessories.

For the man in your life, Nearly New has an excellent men's department, but otherwise, the menswear consignment market is fairly untapped in Oklahoma City. To find quality used menswear, typical resale and thrift stores and online shopping options such as Craigslist and eBay are the only options.

9. You're supporting the local economy.

When you shop at a locally owned consignment store, not only are you helping provide jobs, you're also financially supporting the consignors and the local infrastructure through taxes. All while saving and making money yourself.

10. You can satisfy your urge to shop without breaking the bank.

Confession from this shopaholic: It's gratifying to leave a consignment store with a haul of high-end designer clothes that fits well and is logically priced. If you enjoy a little retail therapy from time to time, consignment shopping can be a mostly guilt-free way to indulge.

There's real joy in finding a great deal on something you love: a gorgeous, classic Harold's blazer; an alpaca wool sweater made in Peru; a handbag you never thought you could afford; or a pair of tall Italian leather boots. Thanks to someone else's respect for the environment and awareness that clothing does retain value, consignment shopping is a chance to break new fashion ground without breaking the bank.

by Heather Warlick
Life & Style Editor
Since graduating from University of Central Oklahoma with a Bachelor's Degree in Journalism, Staff Writer Heather Warlick has written stories for The Oklahoman's Life section. Her beats have included science, health, home and garden, family,...
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