Forget everything you’ve ever heard about consignment shopping. There’s a new wave of online retailers that have taken the old-farty concept of shopping resale and packed it away like your great-grandma’s wedding dress. They’ve combined designer fashion and accessories, budget-friendly prices, and a thumb’s-up approval from tastemakers.
We scoured the web for the best designer resale sites and found 5 noteworthy contenders. They’ll let you virtually browse the closets of some of the most stylish women in the country, and buy what you like for a lot less than you’d spend in the stores in a few simple clicks.
Before You Buy...
Before you click to buy, consider:
-There are often no returns, so make sure you really want the item you’re purchasing and that you’ve read the measurements and condition of the item closely. You don’t want to be stuck with any surprises.
-Do a little research while you’re browsing to see how certain designers are regularly priced and how old an item might be to make sure you’re getting the best deal.
-If you’re going to indulge in a luxury brand, look for big-ticket pieces that will have lasting power (and re-resale value) like a Chanel handbag, not the trendy stuff.
-See something you love, but aren’t quite ready to click buy? Go back in few days or a week. If it’s still there, you might be rewarded with an additional percentage off for your patience.
Walk In My Closet
Walk In My Closet, founded by Joe’s Jean’s Creative Director Ambre Dahan and Amandine Rohmer in 2013, does shopping re-sale right and goes beyond. To dive directly into the shopping experience, click Shop Recycled. You’ll find clear, colorful shots of each item, full descriptions and the consignment price.
If you’re looking for more, join in on the ‘social wardrobing’ by cataloguing your own personal closet to organize outfits, create style mood boards and share with your friends. You can also find style information from their 50+ style influencers whom you can follow by joining their individual Cliques. They also have a feature called “My Trips,” which helps you organize your looks, create a packing list and even get guidance from their editors on how to pull it all together for an upcoming trip.
(At left: A sampling of what you may find at Walk In My Closet. First row: Jenni Kayne neon silk shirt dress, $168, Chloe pleated silk skirt, $177.74, Marni leather handbag, $148. Second row: Alexander Wang leather sandals, $268 and Louis Vuitton bucket tote, $300.)
Want to feel like a fashion insider? Shopping on Vaunte gives you a peek into the who’s who of trendsetters and their lives, with one major point of difference. Not only can you gain insight into what makes these ladies tick (what inspires them, what they can’t live without, etc…), but you’re also looking right into their closets with the option of shopping directly from their covetable wardrobes.
Founded by former Gilt Groupe’s founding VPs, Leah Park and Christian Leone, late last year, Vaunte combines luxury online shopping in an interactive community with an editorial spin ideal for the fashion-obsessed. And in many cases an original retail price is included, so you have the satisfaction of seeing your savings in bold black and white.
(At left: A sampling of what you may find at Vaunte. First row: Fendi grey shoulder bag, $235, Carolina Herrera black and blue dress, $215, Burberry black chain bracelet, $155. Second row: Dries Van Noten blue print silk dress, $255 and Lela Rose black and grey top, $135.)
If you love shopping with a full-service retailer, whether it’s online or a brick and mortar, then you’ll love The RealReal and their attention to customer satisfaction. Launched in 2011 by Julie Wainwright, this luxury resale e-tailer prides itself on the highest quality offerings of the best fashion brands, and in authenticating each item with their specialized team. (If you’re shelling out big bucks for that Chanel purse, you’ll probably want to make sure it’s the real deal.)
The RealReal offers daily flash sale emails with curated collections. Plus, knowing that you have the option to return an item if it’s not everything you dreamed of is a big plus.
(At left: A sampling of what you may find at The RealReal, starting from the left and going clockwise: Thakoon print silk dress, $225, Balenciaga jacket, $175, Chanel canvas ballet flats, $275 and Derek Lam multicolor print top, $125.)
One of the trickiest parts of purchasing a pre-owned garment is the fit. Typically you can choose between two sizes, but because there is only one available, then you’re faced with the dreaded ‘should I or shouldn’t I?’ Created and founded in 2012 by former model Jaclyn Shanfield and her team of experts, Shop Hers allows the shopper to connect with sellers who share similar taste (are you boho, minimal or classic?) and size. With this unique feature, called Style Soul Mates, the site allows you to create a profile of all your measurements (don’t worry, it’s totally confidential) so that each item you’re considering can be checked against your sizing. Pretty genius.
(At left: A sampling of what you may find at ShopHers. First row: DKNY silk scarf vest, $98, Jimmy Choo patent leather booties, $255, Milly silver embossed leather skirt, $130. Second row: Marc Jacobs quilted denim hobo bag, $350 and Prada flower mules, $150.)
If sisters and co-founders of SnobSwap, Elise Whang and Emily Dang, had their way, the tired old adage, shop ‘til you drop would become swap ‘til you drop. Created out of a long sisterly tradition of sharing closets (there are actually three sisters in the family) these siblings had an even bigger challenge when their adult lives took them to different parts of the country. Originally thinking that building a virtual closet would only be of interest to them, the idea evolved into what you see today--giving users the ability to share their wardrobes online and swap pre-owned designer items with others.
And of course, you can join the site without swapping your things for someone else’s, if that’s what you prefer. Similar to Ebay, SnobSwap also allows shoppers to covet an item and offer instant bids to sellers that might not be the list price but gives you the opportunity to score a better deal.
(At left: A sampling of what you may find at SnobSwap. First row: Parker zip-front geo print dress, $89.95, Gucci suede knot platform sandals, $229.50, Temperley London dress, $228. Second row: Red Valentino leather bow purse, $107.10 and Versace neon print silk scarf, $238.)