Every woman I know has a fashion twist or style secret, and mine is that I shop luxury consignment stores. Serving as publisher of ELYSIAN has been the privilege of my lifetime, but with that comes extensive travel and an elevated scrutiny of my appearance. Though I am most comfortable in running clothes and a ponytail, with no makeup, I am keenly aware of the ELYSIAN brand and what the role requires. Fortunately, designer consignment shops offer an “elevated” inventory that has so often filled my wardrobe and accessory needs.
While many of my friends and colleagues have personal shoppers and/or they shop online, I need to see how the clothing fits, so that I can feel the texture against my skin and assess how my accessories might match. High-end consignment boutiques offer me an expanded array of options. Often, this takes me outside of my personal style comfort zone, opening my eyes to new design horizons. Paying a fraction of the cost for the plushest wardrobe staples also affords me the opportunity to “wear that one dress, that one time” before passing pieces on again.
Finally, I never know exactly what I will find at each boutique when I visit, which makes the experience fun. When I remember what I currently have in my closet, and what can be mixed and matched, I can expand my wardrobe exponentially, like plugging in different puzzle pieces.
If you want to try this, there are two key things to remember to successfully use luxury consignment shopping: curation and timing. Because luxury consignment stores are dependent on their buyers to curate the quality of their merchandise, it is critical that you find a shop whose worldview and design sense are compatible to your own — you’ll find that each store has its specialties. Also, anyone who shops high-end consignment stores is acutely aware that timing is important. One can hit the motherload or come back empty-handed from one day to the next.
All over the United States, I have favorite luxury consignment shops, aka my “watering holes.” I am offering my top picks, beginning with my first pick in Greenville South Carolina, Labels Designer Resale.
My No. 1 Choice
Image courtesy of labelsgreenville.com
LABELS DESIGNER RESALE
1922 Augusta St., Suite 112
Greenville, SC 29605
BENTLEY MITCHELL grew up combing discount and resale stores looking for bargains, but as her taste developed, she craved more upscale merchandise. In 2009, she realized her dream when she opened LABELS DESIGNER RESALE, an upscale resale shop for stylish, time-starved women like herself who love the top designer labels — Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Tibi, Rag & Bone, Theory, Vince, Prada, DVF and more. Over the years, Bentley has emerged as a Southern style fashionista. She curates nationwide and has influenced and expanded my comfort level with certain designers. When you are in her store, you feel the consistent attention to detail and her knowledge of the trending and timeless.
My No. 2 Choice
Image courtesy of fabandfunkyvintage.com
DINA C’S FAB AND FUNKY CONSIGNMENT BOUTIQU
Dina Capehart loves all things fab and funky, glamorous and cool — and classic. She owns and operates Dina C’s, an “emporium of vintage to current” that offers gently used, couture bags, shoes, jewelry accessories, dress-up and dress-down couture by designers from Pucci to Oscar, Halston, Givenchy, Courreges, Alaia, Alexander McQueen, Adolfo, Yves Saint Laurent, Cardin and many more. Dina’s access to West Palm Beach’s sophisticated palate and overages allows for a robust selection, second to none in my experience.
My No. 3 Choice
Image courtesy of unionsquareshop.com
THE DESIGNER CONSIGNER
3548 Sacramento St.
San Francisco, CA 94118
I recently revisited The Designer Consigner’s San Francisco store. Having first opened in 1994, founder Brenda Alessandria’s business has been on an upward trajectory, expanding into two stores. Three years ago, The Designer Consigner’s footprint grew so large that their flagship store was forced to relocate. Brenda is San Francisco born and raised, and her partner and daughter Bettina knows their merchandise and designers inside and out also. While the Sacramento Street store is a tad more casual (with top sellers Dolce & Gabbana, Veronica Beard, Vince, Prada, and Staud, among others), their second store is in the financial district and boasts a slightly more conservative variation with designers like Saint John. If you visit the Sacramento shop today, you will find Chanel overflowing on two long racks.
My No. 4 Choice
Image courtesy of laboutiqueresale.com
LA BOUTIQUE RESALE
1132 Madison Ave. at 84th Street, 2nd and 3rd Floor
New York, NY 10028
The go-to upscale designer consignment store in Manhattan for celebrities, models, fashionistas, and the rich and famous who love to shop for a bargain, La Boutique has offered some of the finest gently used couture since 1994. Their constantly changing inventory is acquired through an extensive network of consignors, auctioneers, estates, and designer boutiques, and their highly trained staff only accepts the highest quality and most pristine condition. Labels include Chanel, Hermès, Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Dior, Prada, Marc Jacobs, Roberto Cavalli, Burberry, Etro, Chloe, Stella McCartney, Issey Miyake, Yohji Yamamoto, Comme des Garcons, Vivienne Westwood, Dries Van Noten — and so many more from Italy, France, Japan, and the United States at a fraction of the original prices.
OTHER COUTURE CONSIGNMENT SHOPS TO TRY ON FOR SIZE
240 W 14th St. Parlor Floor
New York, NY 10011
WHAT GOES AROUND COMES AROUND
8520 Brighton Way
Beverly Hills, CA 90210
NEW YORK VINTAGE
117 W 25th St.
New York, NY 10001
1424 Grant Ave. on North Beach
San Francisco, CA 94133
By Karen Floyd