Good Will Hunting

The search for resale fashion goes beyond thrift.



Amazing finds that you can get at a Consignment shop like My Sisters Closet

Once upon a time, people turned up their noses at resale fashion. But in this era of style- and eco-consciousness, the discerning have learned that prejudice against consignment is simply a crime against fashionistas.

Gently worn clothing and accessories are by no means done making statements after just one memorable wear. A vintage pink Chanel pleated skirt paired with a leather jacket and heels looks just as chic today as it did on the previous owner, who may have worn it with a white cashmere sweater and pearls. It’s a fun and affordable trend that has taken the runway by storm.

So, where does one discover such stylish savings? The National Association of Retail and Thrift Shops reports there are more than 25,000 resale and consignment stores across the United States, and more developing online. Consignment and resale boutiques have enjoyed growth over the economic recession, as stylish consumers seek creative means to stretch their spring wardrobe budget. Resale is a multi-billion dollar industry, and it’s easy to see why: Designer brands at enormous savings.

“There are two huge advantages to consignment,” said Marie Green, regional merchandise manager and director of training for The RealReal, an online consignment boutique. “People can easily gain room for their new fashions, while making money clearing out their closet.”

Since the therealreal.com opened in June 2011, it has seen tremendous growth, celebrating its first month of seven-figure sales last year. The secret to its success is its unique white-glove customer experience.

“Our clients here in San Diego have fabulous closets, great style and take advantage of our strict designer list,” Green said. “Some of our clients carry this list with them as they shop for new clothes, so later, the clothes can easily be consigned on The RealReal.”

Green’s clients are making money and keeping style pace by selling their gently-worn designer fashions with a level of customer service parallel to none in the industry. Not only does The RealReal provide home consultations to eligible consignees, it also handles all of the products and photography, and markets the goods with up to 70-percent cash return after the online sale.

It’s great for consigners, but it’s even better for bargain hunters. “Every Friday, women on the West Coast get up extra early to score great deals in our Friday handbag sale,” Green said. Since she began working for the company in early 2012, Green notes that the quantity and quality of items being sold online has greatly improved.

If shopping online isn’t your fancy, San Diego is home to an array of consignment and resale boutiques detailed to various tastes and budgets. But if we’re talking the crème de la crème of designer brand names, look no further than the showroom floor at My Sister’s Closet in Pacific Beach.

My-sisters-closet-FINE-magazine
[ My Sisters Closet ]

One of three original founding sisters, Tess Loo is both a devoted consignment shopper and the chief fashion stylist for My Sister’s Closet. Founded in Phoenix more than two decades ago, this consignment boutique specializes in designer fashion for men and women, as well as accessories and furniture.

“It’s a Cinderella experience,” said Loo, describing customers’ excitement about finding one-of-a-kind pieces at tremendous savings. “A decade ago, people had an attitude towards recycled fashion… People are more open-minded these days, and more conscious of their spending.”

My-sisters-closet-FINE-magazine
[ My Sisters Closet ]

My Sister’s Closet awards up to 50 percent on consigned pieces, and boasts two seasonal blowout sales with up to 70 percent savings. The store will also be cleaning out its closet this month, as it departs from winter wear and looks forward to new designer spring fashions.

Classic style is never defined by the amount of money it takes to get there. A mix of contemporary and vintage fashion requires intention and perhaps some luck, but it is always affordable. Men and women looking for great style know that a fabulous wardrobe doesn’t have to translate into full price. Discovering and hand selecting each piece transcends the typical department store convenience and replaces it with an exciting hunt for the perfect little black dress from Versace, Missoni or Chanel. It’s more than just an opportunity to save money—it’s a closet of endless possibility, worn with a unique confidence won only from the hunt.