I stopped by SAX Consignment to grab my daughter Caitlin and take her to lunch one recent Saturday. She said, “Just a minute, Mom.”
No problem, I could wait. But I’m in my girls’ consignment store, I might as well look around while I’m waiting, right?
I was checking out the pants section when a Theory plaid pant jumped out at me. Do you know how long I’ve been searching for a pant in a menswear fabric? Years, really! Nothing I’ve tried on has worked.
Could I get lucky this time? I took them into the dressing room and tried them on.
Five minutes later Caitlin popped her head out of the back room. “Ready, Mom,” she said.
“Okay, me too,” I replied as I stepped out of the dressing room. “I’ll take these,” and I handed the pants to her so she could ring up the sale.
Breaking down my used clothing outfit
Monday rolled around and Erin and I were working with a client in SF, only blocks away from where Erin lives in Pacific Heights.
After work, I got my daughter to take some pics of my outfit, which is made up of head-to-toe consignment (used) pieces. I purchased the jewelry new that I’m wearing and the floral scarf was new and came from J.Jill.
Let me introduce you to my worn-by-others clothing items.
The white shirt is by Hugo Boss and has great detailing. Keep scrolling down at the pics and notice the details of the shirt. It’s way more than “just a white shirt” with its tucks and stitching and quality cotton. We’re talking comfort.
The it-belonged-to-someone-else-first-jacket is by Armani. I love several things about it besides the fact that it fits me well and was priced within my budget. It keeps me toasty and cozy. People familiar with San Francisco weather know that staying warm is a yearlong effort. I wouldn’t be wearing this jacket in Sonoma in June; it would be way too hot. But in SF? All I’d have to do for June weather is add another layer to it, throw on a cashmere wrap, and I’d be ready for sightseeing with out-of-state relatives!
Can you see the textured detail in the fabric of the Armani jacket? It’s kind of puckered. That texture could be what adds the insulation that protects me from the chill of the fog rolling in over the Golden Gate Bridge.
In this last picture, you can see a closeup of the pant. I love how it has a bright white background and those bright merlot colored lines. The bright white gives this fabric a modern kick. Who would have given this pant up to the consignment store? Maybe it wasn’t the right size or something. I’m the lucky recipient because it’s just right for me.
Used Rosa Mosa oxfords finish off this menswear outfit
I feel a little funny about wearing other people’s shoes unless they’ve hardly been worn; you can tell. These came from SAX Consignment as well. I think they caught Erin’s attention first when they came into the store, but lucky for me, they were a little big on her. She called me up, “Mom, we have these Rosa Mosa oxfords that came into the store. I think you’ll like them.”
I didn’t like them, I loved them! They are the most comfortable shoes ever and if you’ve been reading the blog, you know how hard it is for me to find comfortable shoes. When I post pics on Instagram wearing these shoes, everyone wants to know where they came from. Winner!
The white laces and the white lug soles give them a modern twist. I’ve very thankful for whoever wore these before me. I’m happy she got money for them when they weren’t right for her because someone else found lots of joy in them. Me! That’s the great thing about consignment stores: What doesn’t work for you could very well work for someone else.
When I’m working with a client and things aren’t looking great on her, it’s nice to be able to say, “You know, it doesn’t serve you anymore, but it could serve someone else.” Whether that means taking it to a consignment store or donating it to a charity, used clothing will turn into outfits for others.
Clients love getting a check for clothes that have sold in the store but mostly I think they relieved to not be contributing to landfills. Once we purchase a piece of clothing we’re responsible for it. If it doesn’t work, the responsible thing to do is find a better home for it.
Did you wear hand-me-down clothes when you were young?
I heard a colleague say that she had a bad association with used clothes—avoiding consignment stores or thrift stores—because she wore hand-me-downs growing up. I could respect her point of view. She wanted new clothes and that was certainly her prerogative.
I too wore hand-me-downs growing up. Dad had a cousin who lived in Valley City, ND when we lived on a farm 20-miles away. They had twins as well—Mike and Mary. Mary was older than me—and not that interested in playing with me, but as we’d be getting ready to go home, her mom would give my mom a bag of clothes that Mary had outgrown. Many of them worked for me and I loved wearing those clothes. They were store-bought clothes, which was different from the homemade clothes I mostly wore. Mother was the sewer, and I loved the clothes she made me but store-bought clothes had a sexy appeal—long before I knew what sexy meant.
Getting my daughters to do the shopping for me
I’ve never been much of a consignment shopper on my own, but Erin worked in the consignment store she and her sister now own since she was in high school. It was her first job. She went on to college but years later when her friend Jen owned the store, she went back to working there one day a week. That’s when I started to reap the benefits of consignment store prices. When she’d spot something she thought would work well for me, she’d set it aside and call me. Fast forward to two and a half years ago, my two girls bought and now run the store along with some great employees.
This all means that I benefit from consignment stores without actually spending much time shopping in them. I did go out on my own a couple of summers back and bought a jacket when I was in Santa Fe that always wins compliments.
My point? It works for me to wear other people’s clothes as long as they suit me, my lifestyle, and they put a smile on my face. I don’t feel squeamish about it at all.
What about you? Do you wear used clothing? Do you enjoy thrift shops? Or do you avoid them like crazy? I must, I must, I must know! Please comment and share your experiences!