Thursday, November 5, 2009

Consignment Shopping

by Robin Donovan

Filling your closet with clothes you’re not sick of wearing on a tight budget can be tough. And with the economy recovering almost imperceptibly, it might be a while before many of us revisit the mall.

If you have a favorite local Goodwill or thrift shop, that can work. But whipping through racks filled with stained, damaged or hole-filled clothing gets old. Especially when holes don’t make themselves known until you’re out the door with non-refundable merchandise. Consignment shops offer a different experience. Unlike thrift shops that take donated duds, consignment shops allow sellers to receive a percentage of the sale price on each garment provided.

Lucky folks near Lancaster can hit up the Dresscode instead. Located north of Meijer on business route 33 through Lancaster, the shop accepts and sells clothing for teens and adults. Like many resale outlets, the Dresscode is heavy on ladies’ wear, but it’s no thrift shop.

First clue? The $1,199 fur coat hanging in the front room. I don’t know about you, but the last time I spent a thousand bucks on clothing was, well, never! The $5.99 multi-colored scarves hanging next to the coat are more my style. But that’s the point of consignment – you can find items that you’d never see at a thrift shop. An afternoon spent browsing the racks last week revealed more designer items and certainly a consistently higher level of quality than I expect from thrift shops.

According to a cashier I spoke with, $1.99 is about the lowest price offered by the store. Women’s shirts and pants range from about $6 to $10. Prom dresses, of course, are available in abundance (I think most women have one hanging in a closet somewhere) and range from $15-$350.

Ready to clean out your closet? The Dresscode has a $5 annual account fee and sets merchandise prices. Items are allowed on the floor for four to six weeks, and may be donated after that time unless they’re valuable—they’re not going to let that fur coat go to Salvation Army! The consignor receives 50 percent of the sale price.

Careful, now—don’t bring anything that has visible wear, is out of season, or is even rumpled. Anything you’re ready to sell needs to be pressed, on a hanger (you can pick up free ones from the store), and no more than two years old. Your excellent quality items will put cash back in your pocket that you’re free to spend on (you guessed it) new clothes!

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