March 25, 2016

Dear Frannie Friday--Thrift vs. Consignment

It's time for another installment of my series with Denver Style Magazine--Savvy Secondhand.   When I first started thrifting, I didn't know it was a thing.  I started in the typical fashion--I was poor and needed something cheap for an interview/Halloween costume/school function.  When I first stepped into a consignment store and accidentally called it a thrift store to the owner (don't do that), I then knew there were very big differences between thrift stores and consignment shops.  Here's the showdown:  thrifting vs. consignment

Round #1: Price
Thrift stores are often non-profit or locally owned.  They get their clothes by donation and thus don't have a set retail price as the price set is the profit made.  Consignment stores take clothing by customers bringing in their merch and the consignment store acts as a third party sales person for the customer.  So there are two people that are making money when you buy consigned clothes--the owner of the store and the original owner of the merch.  So the prices will be higher so that they can both make a profit.   You can surely buy a sweater for a couple of dollars from a thrift store but you will likely pay clearance rack prices (depending on the brand, age of item and the style) at a consignment shop.

This round's winner is THRIFTING.

Round #2: Quality
Consignment stores have a long list of qualifications that your item must meet in order to be sold in their stores.  This may include the brand of the item, the condition of the item, the season of the item and how in style the item is.  Because of this, you are much more likely to find high quality, designer items in a consignment shop than a thrift store.  Don't get me wrong--I have found plenty of fun, perfect condition and even designer items in the thrift store, but you have to dig for them.  And your finding of such items is definitely not guaranteed because thrift stores will take anything and everything (used underwear anyone?).  When you go to a consignment shop, you are likely to find that the items are all in style, in good condition and possibly (depending on the shop) a designer or top quality brand.

This round's winner is CONSIGNMENT.

Round #3: Vintage
Again, you can find vintage at either consignment or thrift shops.  There are some consignment shops that are more for theater or costume and some that are specifically for vintage.  But for the most part, consignment shops will be carrying what is hot right now.  And therefore, you are much less likely to find vintage items at a consignment shop than a thrift shop.  Also, thrift shops take a multitude of items left over from estate sales, yard sales or people just cleaning out their closets.  For this reason, vintage is rampant in the thrift store.  This could mean that you will score an amazing buttery leather skirt from the 1970s . . . or that killer denim jumper that hits you mid-calf with the giant sunflowers on the bust.  You just never know.

This round's winner is THRIFTING.

Round #4: Style
The great thing about thrift stores is that you never know what you will find.  And that includes items that are vintage and items that are trendy.  That includes items from Forever 21 and items from Calvin Klein.  That includes items from summer 2012 and items from winter 1945.  With consignment shops, the owner will do the digging for you.  When you go to a consignment shop, there is not as much digging--everything there will be in style, in season and in good condition.  Either way, you are helping a small business or non-profit.  You are finding treasures that everyone won't already have.  You are saving money.  And you are coming out stylin'.

This round's winner is BOTH!!!

Green Shirt-gifted
Blazer-gifted by Patrick's grandmother
Houndstooth Skirt-thrifted
Mary Jane Pumps-Forever 21
Bag-Bebe, gifted
Diamond Stud Earrings-gifted

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