(credit: Buffalo Exchange)I have had the most success with consigning my clothes through the chain Buffalo Exchange. When you sell back clothes you can get either 30% of their buy back value in cash or 50% of their buy back in value in credit for store merchandise. The latter is definitely the choice I would recommend. Even if you don't find anything to buy the day you sell back clothes, you can use the card they give you at any Buffalo Exchange store around the country! I consign my clothes both to maintain the size of my wardrobe (#cityclosetproblems) and to indulge in trends that correspond with my style but aren't necessarily something I'll keep forever. Other than investing in classic pieces, shoes, or jewelry that I'll hold onto for a while, I virtually do not spend any money on clothes yet always have new things in my closet that I'm excited to wear. Recent finds include an adorable orange silk scarf adorned with small white crossing guards, an indigo All Saints of Spetafield cardigan, a Loro Piano cashmere scarf (I gifted to my boyfriend), and a mink tails coat.
There is definitely a science to successfully managing thrift and consignment stores without achieving a 'thrifted look.' Despite super low prices, the philosophy of less is more is the way to go. Important questions to ask when considering an item is: do I really love it?, does it fit well?, if there are any damages does the cost of repair exceed how much it is priced? If you answer negatively to more than one of these questions, it is probably best to hold off and not purchase it. Outside of the frenzy of low prices and other thrifty shoppers, items that don't necessarily fit, have some sort of damage, or are a little too out of your comfort zone have a tendency to gather dust in your closet. This advice holds especially true in thrift stores. Thrift stores aren't curated at all and the prices really are bottom dollar. Just because its $3 doesn't mean you should buy it!
My personal bottom line of critique is this: unless an item is completely unique and perfect, I don't buy brands that I would not normally buy in retail stores. This rule ensures that I'm getting something that will have a long shelf life. Also, if I ever decide to sell it back, more lusted after brands consistently receive higher buyback value than more common brands (i.e., h&m, or forever21).
Below, I've listed my favorite thrift/consignment stores in DC, NYC, Brooklyn, and Boston. There are definitely more out there than this, but these are tried and true for awesome finds!
Buffalo Exchange- 1318 14th Street NW
Buffalor Exchange- 3279 M Street NW
Martha's Outfitters- 2114 14th St NW
New York City
Beacon's Closet- 10 West 13th Street
Housing Works- 143 West 17th St
Buffalo Exchange- 114 West 26th Street
Beacon's Closet- 88 North 11th Street
Buffalo Exchange- 180 Harvard Avenue
Urban Renewals- 122 Brighton Avenue
The Cosseted Pauper