Red Shoe Zone Style Expert Micolle Canido shares her passion for consignment shopping with tips and how-to’s to score awesome fashion finds.
Cheryl: Micolle you love consignment shopping and the things you find are t-o-t-a-l-l-y amazing. Before we get into the thrill-of-the-hunt tell us how you got started.
MICOLLE: From the moment my parents trusted me to venture out on my own as a kid in Toronto, I remember going to places like Courage My Love in Kensington Market. Running my hands through rows and rows of pre-loved jeans and bohemian garb to my hearts content. I think the “thrill of the hunt” began right then and there. I can still smell the thick scent of burning incense throughout the little shops and to this day it brings back fond memories.
The army surplus stores along Toronto’s iconic Yonge Street were another stomping ground where I scoured through piles of army fatigues to find the perfect pair. My taste for gently used things has since been refined, but I’ve always loved searching for beautiful, unique one-of-a-kind pieces.
I’ve always taken great care of my clothing. I take pride in pulling out pieces from 20+ years ago that still wear well, look great and remain in style season after season. When boredom strikes or my style and tastes change, that’s when I will give them to away to family or friends or head to my favorite consignment stores to resell. The thought of throwing out my clothes has never been an option. Growing up with a younger sister my clothing went a long way. I think it’s fair to say she really enjoyed my hand-me downs.
Cheryl: Micolle…walk us through consignment shopping…what’s the first step?
MICOLLE: Before I ever purchase a piece of clothing, I will always have a look to see where it’s made, how well it’s made (i.e. stitching, buttons, fabric content). I look at clothes the same way I look at my food. I want to know where it’s from, are the vegetables organic? are the animals ethically raised? I consider myself an educated buyer so I tend to stay away from “fast fashion” and consign when I can.
Cheryl: Fast fashion being relatively low priced, very current, stylish designs (many designer knock offs) made in factories in third world countries by workers receiving very small wages.
Cheryl: Consignment for you represents ethical shopping. That’s a great perspective. I know a lot of us would follow suit if it wasn’t so overwhelming to walk into a consignment store. Yikes! Honestly Micolle it’s a sea of racks…where to start? What to look for? Can you give us your top 10 tips to shop consignment like a pro?
MICOLLE: It all depends on where you go. Is it an Army Surplus store? Is it a Thrift store? Is it a designer luxury consignment boutique? Consignment stores come in many forms, they are all very different, in what they carry and the shape of their goods.
- First thing you really need to be aware of is time. I never like to rush when I’m consignment shopping. It takes time to go through racks, look things over, justify the pieces, debate over the prices etc. When I’m in Toronto, I dedicate a whole day to going to my favorite consignment stores.
- It’s not going home with me unless I love it.
- It must be in great condition.
- Is it a need versus a want?
- Will I get great wear out of it or is it going to sit and collect dust.
- Get to know the buyers/owners of the shop…the places I visit call me when they think they have something that I may be interested in.
- If you are looking for designer purses, especially high-end…do your homework. In Canada, the places I visit, it is illegal for them to carry counterfeit designer purses/items.
- Personally, I’m not a fan of consignment shopping on-line, I need to feel and see the item at all times.
- Most consignment stores that I visit are FINAL SALE/NO REFUNDS.
- Accept the fact you may walk out with absolutely nothing.
Cheryl: Can you show us some of your recent consignment finds?
MICOLLE: Happy to!
Here’s some classic examples of Micolle’s Fabulous finds
Cheryl: You don’t just shop consignment you also take things you no longer wear into consignment shops to sell. What are some tips for figuring out what is consignment worthy vs what can be given away?
MICOLLE: The consignment places I take my stuff to are specialty shops. They follow strict guidelines on what they can and can’t accept and I appreciate that as I shop there as well. By them being this way my items usually sell quickly, putting money in my pocket and I can either cash out or use my credit to find something in the store.
Here are 3 simple tips to keep in mind when figuring out what is consign worthy:
- Is the piece of clothing current? Does it have staying power?
- Is it in good shape? That means no snags, no rips, no piling, no stains
- Is it a good brand? Is the brand still around?
Consignment shopping may not be for everyone, but it has always worked for me. I guess it’s one of my hobbies and I honestly have fun doing it. Each city carries a wide variety of consignment shops. Often when I travel, I always do my homework and hunt down a few specialty shops…sometimes I get lucky…and sometimes I don’t. It’s the thrill of the hunt I enjoy and the people I meet along the way.
Cheryl: I scour through thrift and consignment shops with my daughter. She’s committed to buying only thrift for one year. She has some awesome stuff! I on the other hand look at ‘thrift-ing’ as an opportunity to pick up fun things that I normally wouldn’t buy but when they are under 10.00…what the heck??!!
So Micolle here’s a challenge for you I recently picked up a gauzy little shift for 8.00 that I thought I might be able to do ‘something’ with and an over sized white shirt. Can you make ’em great?
Are you a consignment shopper? A thrift-er? What are your greatest finds?
To readers – I love to watch Micolle work her magic as she puts a look together. It reminds me that, when it comes to style there are no rules. It’s all boils down to what feels good, how much fun you’re willing to have and OWNING whatever you decide.
Micolle Canido is an independent stylist living in Vancouver, British Columbia.