mysterious woman and resale shoppingAccording to the Association of Resale Professionals, resale, consignment and thrift shopping are one of the fastest growing retail segments. Fueled by value-conscious consumers, the industry has grown around seven percent each year over the past few years. Although consignment shopping is trending, it can be a little confusing if you’re not familiar with the world of resale.

Here are a few tips to help you demystify the world of consignment shopping:

When to shop: Inventory in these shops changes almost daily so shop frequently. Like it? Buy it because it probably won’t be there the next time you go shopping. Rule of thumb is to shop earlier in the week since most sellers come in during the week to unload their goods. To avoid crowds, try shopping during the weekday; just make sure the shop is open before you go. Seasonal shopping is key; this is when most sellers are unloading last season’s items from their closets to make room for the new one. Another thing to remember is that most shop owners are more than happy to hold items for you is you let them know what you’re looking for in advance.

Snatch that bargain: If you know what you’re looking for, search online for the current value of the piece you’re looking to purchase. Take time to browse because most stores randomly organize their merchandise. If you don’t take time to look, you might miss out on a great discovery tucked away in the corner of the store. Be open minded; if you’re only searching for one item, you will probably miss out on some great bargains.

Turn a good find into a great one: Watch for sales! A lot of consignment stores offer sales during the week and during football season to help attract customers. Does your favorite store have a newsletter? Sign up for it so you don’t miss out on the sales and to check up on that item you’ve wanted, to see if it’s been marked down even further. Locate your fave stores on social media since most of them offer special deals and discount codes for liking their Facebook or Twitter page.

Only wear once and designer items: Shop consignment for things you will only wear once and can’t afford to spend a lot of money on; items like wedding gowns, formalwear, maternity clothes and cruise wear. Designer items and unique pieces are always a great find at consignment stores. You will find all those unique pieces, designer handbags and shoes you’ve yearned for but could never fit into your budget.

Avoid these: If you do not have a great tailor, pass over the items that fit poorly. The best items to have altered are those that are too big or a jacket that might need buttons reattached an inch or two over. Always avoid those pieces that need to be reconstructed completely. It’s better to pass up an item than to purchase an ill-fitting piece that you will never wear.

Try it on: Always, always, always try it on! If you wear a size six in certain brands, you cannot depend on how the same size will fit in a consignment store because you do not know if it has been altered by the previous owner. Make sure to check for faulty zippers, missing buttons (especially if they are one of a kind), tears or ripped seams. Check out the stores return policy before you purchase just in case you have to bring an item back.

Full figured: Some stores have a plus-size section and others cater specifically to the full-figured woman. Go for fit instead of size especially when it comes to clothing that has some stretch or flexibility to it. Even if you don’t consider it your size, try it on. Again, check for loose buttons, faulty zippers etc., but also check for stress areas in the thighs and seats of jeans and pants as well as worn seams.

The beauty of these stores is that they offer great deals and guilt-free shopping whether you’re looking for Alfani or Armani. No longer are consignment stores viewed as D class shopping; they are rapidly becoming the latest in chic while saving money!

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