- Saints fever is translating into big t-shirt sales atNew Orleans retailers.
- The Krewe of Muses is hosting a holiday market on Thursday, December 3rd from 5:30pm-8:30pm at Kingsley House. There will be a bevy of vendors offering up hats, jewelry, t-shirts, scarves, ties and more. Admission is $20 which includes parking, light food and wine.
- The Freret Market is this Saturday, December 5th from noon-5:00pm. The market offers homegrown food, fashion, and music every month.
- If you are looking for something more low key head toFlanagan’s Pub for Miss Malaprop’s handcrafted shopping party Thursday, December 3rd from 6:00pm-9:00pm. Mallory will be showcasing several crafter’s work with a focus on environmentally friendly products.
I am a veteran at selling and buying clothing at resale stores. I first discovered secondhand stores in college and I’ve been an avid shopper ever since. The difference between second hand and thrift store is selection, pricing, and atmosphere. Instead of having to spend hours sifting through racks of ratty, old items someone has done the work for you. It is also nice to walk into a store that is clean with sorted and sized racks.
Just like the mall there is a wide variety of secondhand stores that cater to a wide variety of customers. There are shops out there that specialize in every type of clothing, from designer to vintage, career wear to casual. The beauty of this system is that you can get rid of clothes you don’t wear and turn them into cash or new items that will actually see the light of day. Read on for my tips on how to successfully get those clothes out of your closet and into a store.
1. Know the store
Not all second hand stores are the same and one shop’s top seller is someone else’s sale rack. It is a good idea to drop by the store and take a gander at the racks or call and ask what they are looking for. If you have a stack of office appropriate suits one store might say no thanks but another might take them all. Don’t be discouraged, especially if you have several secondhand shops in your area.
2. Clean and presentable
You are presenting your items for someone to buy. Make sure you have recently laundered them ( last year doesn’t count) and an iron never hurt anything. If you have handbags make sure to clean up the insides especially if your makeup exploded. Items with stains, holes, extremely faded or pilly will never make the cut so don’t bother bringing in that blouse with the ketchup stain down the front.
3. Cash, clothes, and cars
Sure it sounds like a rap video but that isn’t my point. Clothes and cars are similar in that they lose value once you drive them off the lot. When people buy used clothing they are looking for a bargain. Just because you paid $200 for that pair of Rock & Republic jeans doesn’t mean the next buyer wants to! Even if you’ve only worn (or never wore) that cocktail dress from last year’s holiday party for a few hours it makes it now used.
4. Don’t expect miracles
If you aren’t wearing it chances are no one else is either. Those gaucho pants from 5 years ago? Yea everyone hates them and admit it you do too. That said buyers really do want your closet in their inventory! Don’t hesitate to ask a lot of questions so you can figure out what is selling for them. Someone’s old shirt could be your amazing vintage rock tee find.
5. Where does that percentage go?
Don’t be surprised when the shop takes a chunk of the profits. That money goes towards paying employees, the light bill, taxes, advertising, rent etc…. If you want more money either A. try to return the item or B. take a chance on Ebay or Craigslist.
6. Know the difference
You have two choices when it comes to selling your clothes. Consignment shops typically give you 40-50% cash since you don’t get your money until the piece sells. It really isn’t any sweat off their back- you just take the piece back if it doesn’t sell but your piece could sit in the store for months. A buy/sell/trade offers 30-40% in cash but you get your money that day. Therefore if your clothing doesn’t sell at full price (or not at all) then they lose money on that item. Don’t be surprised when these types of stores charge less for the same item that a consignment shop would charge more for. Some people prefer to wait it out while others just want to get the cash up front. However almost all stores offer 50% store credit so it is usually smart to take the store credit.
7. The more current the better
So you bought into that new acid wash denim trend and you are now questioning your sanity? Bring it in. The younger the trend the more covetable it is. Hate those big exposed zippers? Someone else will love it. Can’t walk in those thigh high boots? Let someone else try. Trust me.
8. Expensive doesn’t mean better
We all love designer pieces but they still have to be cute. Just because it says “Prada” across the chest doesn’t mean it is desirable! Most people would prefer something moderately priced with a modern cut vs. something outdated just because it was expensive.
9. It is good for the environment
Selling and buying used goods has a myriad of benefits aside from padding your wallet. Selling your clothing keeps things out of landfills and buying has an even bigger impact because you are not contributing to the manufacturing of new items. For example many vegetarians feel okay buying used leather goods since they aren’t directly supporting the leather industry.
10. Great! Where can I unload my goodies?
Check out my post on buying secondhand in the New orleans area or feel free to do some name dropping in the comments w/ your favorite places to shop. I’m including my top 4 places in the 504.
Shops to try:
*indicates multiple locations
I’m the first to admit that I avoid malls at all costs during peak shopping times. This means I will be nowhere near a food court or a parking garage come Friday and neither should you! There are a slew of deals to be found and with a little creativity you can find the perfect gift for everyone on your list.
- Tomato is offering 30-50% off sale items during Thanksgiving weekend.
- Francesca’s has 75% off sale items and you can shop online too.
- Jonesing for a big box store? Macy’s is offering free shipping on orders over $99.
- Miss Malaprop wrote a great piece on handmade shops that are offering sales as well.
I’m going to take a break from the Gulf Coast today to talk about the southwest. After Katrina I relocated to Phoenix, AZ for 3.5 years. While I wasn’t satisfied with my adopted city I did get in a lot of hiking, particularly in the Grand Canyon. I took more trips to the canyon than I can count and I hiked to the bottom 3-4 times a year. In less than a month I will be making a trek to Phantom Ranch for the 10th time.
Feeling stylish on the trail but not looking like a fashion victim is a tough mountain, err canyon to climb. When you are covered in sweat, snow, dirt, mule poop, or whatever else you want to feel somewhat cute but can’t run the risk of looking like a fashion freak by sacrificing comfort and mobility. Having the proper gear and clothing is crucial not only to your comfort but for your safety as well.
These silk cargo pants from Da-Nang are easy on the eyes. Silk is also very insulating but I’d throw a pair of thermal leggings underneath for an added layer. The side pockets are perfect for throwing a camera or a mid trail snack in.
- Stop in Feet First now through Sunday, November 29th at receive discounts if you bring in canned or non-perishable food items. Bring in 2 or more items and receive 20% off your total purchase. Bring in 3 or more items and receive 30% off your purchase. All food will be donated to Second Harvest Food Bank of Greater New Orleans and Acadiana.
- Stop by Buffalo Exchange for 75% off sale merchandise now until the end of the month.
- Local clothing line LiaMolly will be having trunk shows on Wednesday, November 25th from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at Loa in the International House Hoteland on December 16th same time, same place.
- Ruby is giving away a free gift with any purchase now through November 30 for all of their Facebook fans. Also stop by tonight for Hammond’s Starry November night from 5pm-10pm. There will be food, cocktails, music and of course shopping! Pick up a game day tee or a great pair of jeans from their latest shipment of James, Ringspun, Blaque Label and Rock Revival.
- Tomato is opening their second store in Baton Rouge this weekend. Visit them 2353 Perkins Road in the Southdowns Village. Store hours are Monday-Saturday 11:00am-6:00pm.
- Buffalo Exchange is having its annual Coats for Cubs drive. From now until April 22 drop off your unwanted fur coats to your local Buffalo Exchange and they will be shipped to the Humane Society of the United States for use in rehabilitating wildlife. The fur is used as bedding to comfort injured or orphaned wildlife and since 2006 Buffalo has collected 3,885 furs for Coats for Cubs.
Meet Alison and her nifty little vintage and handmade shop.
Tell us a little about yourself and how you got into metal smithing.
My father was a silversmith as a hobby and had a workshop in the basement. I began experimenting with his tools and supplies as a teenager. I then spent many years exploring other mediums and art techniques, coming back to metalsmithing after inheriting his tools. I have made my living as a jeweler for the last 6 years.
To me jewelry should be a personal representation of oneself vs. a fashion item. How are your interests and personality showcased in your work?
I embrace hand-made, especially when it comes to jewelry. My very favorite designs come about when I try to make what I want to wear -not just make something because I think that it will sell. Many of my designs reflect collections that I have, my most cherished being a wall of heart milagros that I have collected over the years. I want my pieces to feel like they’ve been around for awhile, have soul, or a story to tell.
How does living in New Orleans inspire your work?
New Orleanians have an attachment to their town and all things New Orleans that I don’t think exists in many other places. It is very inspiring. It is a town so steeped in history and ritual that it can be a little intimidating to try to reflect that.
New Orleans is very lucky to have several great art markets. I love our creative and very supportive community. Being a regular vendor at a few of these helps me strive to always improve my creations.
Define southern style.