A Case for Consignment

September 04, 2018

A Case for Consignment

It all started when I read a few books on minimalism. I began going through my wardrobe and getting rid of clothes that didn’t “bring me joy.” Even writing it sounds so ridiculous to me, as I can see myself rolling my eyes while reading the book. I never thought twice about the objects I brought into my  home and life, but now it’s as if I’m a completely different consumer.

If you’ve ever considered a capsule wardrobe, now is the time to begin as Spring is just beginning, but on top of creating a capsule wardrobe consider consignment as well. As soon as I focused my personal style, I realized there were a few staple items I had always wanted, but never could bring myself to purchase as they were pretty expensive. The two items were a black leather jacket and brown leather booties. I didn’t care so much on the brand, but I wanted them both to be quality. Both items could be dressed up or dressed down and were a bit edgy, very versatile pieces. I first began my hunt briefly at Macy’s. I soon realized to buy a quality leather jacket new I would be spending at least 400$. This struck me as a huge investment for an item of clothing. If I really wanted it, I’d have to grapple with the cost.

But then, consignment crossed my mind, and I found Poshmark, and online consignment store! What’s great about Poshmark is that you can send back your item if you deem it not what was described and you rate the sellers based on your experience. You also can propose a price to the seller or bundle items together to save on shipping. I have yet to be disappointed on an item I have purchased. After a couple months of searching through different leather jackets and booties, I struck a deal with two different sellers and scored a great leather jacket, and rustic/edgy brown leather booties. I was ecstatic about the quality of the products I bought, because it was quite honestly above the quality I could afford new. Among capsule wardrobe connoisseurs the term “price per wear” takes into account how many times you actually wear an item vs. just the original price. For example, if I buy tennis shoes for 100$ and I wear them 100 times during the year, the cost per wear is relatively low since I wore it so much. However, if I buy a pair of black heels for 100$, but only wear them 10 times a year, the price per wear is much higher. I wear that leather jacket and those brown booties at least once a week if not more, and I will have them probably for the next 10 years, as a result the price per wear is extremely low. They both were an excellent investment and great use of consignment.

My other case for consignment comes with the dreaded purchases that go with being a bridesmaid. According to wedding, on average bridesmaids pay 1,695$ in wedding related expenses including travel, dresses, accessories, shoes etc. That seems like an astronomical price, but expenses do add up, especially when there is travel involved. I was excited to find out for my friend’s wedding last summer that I could pick any type of dress in Sangria. I immediately thought of buying a dress online. Bridesmaid dresses online are of plenty! Nobody finds a time to wear it again, nobody. I luckily am a size that is pretty average and so I purchased a knee-length strapless dress in Sangria. I made sure to ask the bride, and checked the color with the local store branch just to make sure. I probably saved about 120$ and then after the wedding I sold it again, basically striking even on my initial purchase. Obviously, I was extremely lucky to have a bride that was so chill about the dresses and my purchases, but I would say more and more brides are offering style choices to their bridesmaids. I certainly wish I would have done this courtesy with my wedding, sorry ladies!

My last case for consignment involves all the “stuff” that comes with babies. Buying consignment for children’s clothing and toys will save you money. I luckily have been extremely blessed to receive a lot of “hand-me-downs” from family members for my 2 year old daughter. I literally have not had to buy a single item of clothing, well except cloth diapers and underwear! I realize I’m sitting on a bit of privilege here, but we also have only bought her one toy and it was from a consignment store. Shocking, I know! If you entered our home you would notice plenty of toys given to her as “hand-me-downs,” borrowed, or new from family members, but she doesn’t need anymore. This way, our family can be grateful for the gifts that are given to her. She uses and loves what family members have provided, and that balance has been just right. When we do have to buy clothes for her though, I am definitely seeking out consignment. When you think “price per wear” for children it can get high when a baby grows out of a onesie in one month! Lower the initial price by buying consignment and then your “price per wear” will be relatively low.  I also like the idea of paying another mom for clothing that her children have grown out of. I like to think that the money I’ve saved by not buying excess clothes and toys, or buying consignment items will go to my daughter’s investment college fund.

Not only will buying consignment help you save money and time, it’s also a form of ethical consumption. In the last couple years I’ve changed my perspective on buying. When I buy something new I’m stating to the company and the world that I need more of this product. I’m voting by purchasing it. I mean look around, do we really need more stuff? Not only am I not sending that message to product manufacturers, but I’m not falling for “sales” or cheaply made clothing that was probably manufactured unethically. Buying consignment allows me to completely bypass participation in media schemes to get me to buy more, and the unethical practices of cheaply made clothing. It’s really a win for your finances, time, and conscious.

For major events like weddings, where you’re not a bridesmaid, consider consignment as well. You might be able to purchase a much higher quality, and you’ll only be wearing the dress maybe once or twice a year. As mentioned, buying consignment for staple items in your wardrobe could save you hundreds and also provide you higher quality within your price range. Kids consignment clothing and toys saves money, and could be invested for even more growth potential. Consignment offers some freedom in price range and with online consignment so convenient, you don’t even have to leave your house. You will save money, time and you will be ethically consuming.

Maria Halcumb is an educator who likes to spend her days writing, reading, teaching, “mothering,” and any activity outside. She is on a path to Be More, Want Less, and Gain Quality. You can check out more of her writing at She lives with her husband and two year old daughter in Vancouver, WA.

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