Conquering the Consignment Sale

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Earlier today, I had the opportunity to check out Divine Consign – a huge designer consignment sale that comes to the Milwaukee area roughly six times a year. I’ve been a longtime shopper at this sale and, of course, had plenty of luck finding items at this event. As I was driving home, I thought that for today’s blog, I would share with you my tips and tricks to navigating large-scale consignment sales (such as Divine Consign). Fortunately, these suggestions can also be applied to general thrift shopping as well!

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(yes, it is the largest women’s shopping event in Milwaukee)

Dress Appropriately

I’ve learned over the years that when you attend events like these, you want to have the experience go as efficiently as possible. Which means you need to plan ahead in what you’re going to be wearing. My suggestion is an outfit that is both easy to change in and out of, and also consists of items that fit you well. While the first part is obvious – the reasoning behind the later is if you’re unsure if an item you’re considering is flattering in terms of size, you want to have something available to compare it to. Also – unless weather conditions prevent this – never wear tennis shoes. It’s a huge pain to be putting those on and off… wear shoes that you can easily slide on instead.

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Today, I kept it casual in a tank top, one of my favorite pairs of jeans and a pair of Birkenstock sandals.

Avoid Wearing Jewelry

On the subject of what to wear, here’s one thing you really should avoid: wearing jewelry. Designer consignment sales often contain items that are rather delicate and you don’t want to accidentally snag something on the fabric. Out of respect to the consigner (who technically owns the item still until someone decides to purchase it) and other customers, leave your jewelry at home – or at least tuck it away in your purse while you are at the sale.

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This gorgeous Missoni blouse (which I debated purchasing) is a perfect example – the material was very thin, in classic Missoni fashion, and could very easily be damaged by a piece of jewelry. You don’t want to be that person, make sure you’re not a risk for accidentally ruining a garment.

Review Your Closet and Determine What You Need

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It’s really tempting to show up at a large clothing sale without a plan and start grabbing everything, but you will regret it once you get home and realize you should have focused on purchasing specific items. If possible, take a look at what you already own prior to attending – then, review what you may need to replace and any events coming up. This is a good time to take inventory on everyday wear too. Think about if you’re running out of clothes for work or casual outfits on the weekends.

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Pictured above were three temptations I had – turquoise golf shoes (do I play golf? No, but look at that color!), a St. John color block dress and a Theory leather jacket. Practicality won out on all these and I decided to pass.

 

Additionally, consider seasonal wear as you’re likely to find it at a great price – at this particular sale, I made sure to look for clothing that would be appropriate in winter (even though that is still months away).

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Even though it was in 80s yesterday, I still made sure to look at coats because yes, winter is coming.

Know Your Numbers

I stress all the time that you need to know your personal measurements but large consignment sales like this make it a necessity. You need to have an idea of what size you are if you want to efficiently navigate this kind of event. Additionally, keep in mind that various brands use different sizing – so knowing your measurements makes looking up the size charts way easier. If you’re going to be focusing on a few specific brands, consider saving those size charts on your phone for quick reference while shopping. While you still should try things on, it can help you narrow down items faster.

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Jeans are a prime example of where you need to know your measurements – especially your inseam! Divine Consign had an amazing selection of designer denim available, knowing what size I need in various brands helped tremendously!

Use Common Sense

The vast majority of the time (I’m honestly confident in saying 99% of the time), consigners are honest about the authenticity of their items. That being said, you may encounter knockoffs. If it seems like it’s too good to be true, it probably is.

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(don’t worry, this was labeled as “Louis Vuitton inspired”)

Also – know what retail value is an item. If you’re unsure, a simple Google or eBay should be able to tell you. I am not suggesting you try to haggle (often you’re unable to anyways because the consigner set the price and is likely not on site) but if you’re undecided if you want to purchase something, this can help determine if you’re getting a really good deal or not.

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Here is a down jacket by Maison Margiela that I found for $78…which is quite the markdown from its original price of $860! I would have snagged it for myself but it was too short for me unfortunately.

Invest in Classics

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Whenever I attend a huge consignment sale, I take the opportunity to look for items that are going to be investment pieces. This is a time where you can snag something like a Burberry trench or a classic Diane von Furstenberg dress at an amazing price and enjoy it literally for decades to come.

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Relaxing after the sale in a Lululemon crew and leggings that I bought today

Like I said, I had a lot of luck (as usual) at the sale today and am looking forward to attending the next two events this season. If you are in the Milwaukee area, Divine Consign is being held at the Zoofari Conference Center between now and Saturday. You should note that Friday and Saturday are 50% off days on select items!

 

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Freelance writer. Equestrian. Fueled by coffee. Lover of luxury fashion, college football and used bookstores.

2 thoughts on “Conquering the Consignment Sale

    1. It runs through Saturday morning if you’re free! Otherwise I’ll let you know once the schedule is released for next spring.

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