Is your closet craving Lulu, Lilly and Louis — but your wallet saying no?
You’ve got options besides stalking sales racks and scouring eBay and designer resale sites like The RealReal. Head to one of Charlotte’s upscale consignment clothing stores, where the area’s best-heeled women sell their designer cast-offs in like-new condition.
Here are seven places where we’ve found quality designer goods at steeply discounted prices. Yes, most of the clothing, shoes and accessories are pre-worn, but most shops only sell items in excellent condition, in-season and purchased within the last two to three years. (Some consignment stores get new items from high-end boutiques clearing out inventory.)
So if a pair of Hunter boots or a Tory Burch handbag are what you’re after, you’re bound to find them at half to two-thirds of retail at one of these spots. (Most have very active Instagram accounts where they post new items, usually including price and size information. And most won’t hold items you see online — but you can usually call and buy over the phone if you’re itching for an item.)
Check price tags when you shop consignment; prices often drop after certain dates, typically every three to four weeks. If you really want a steal, you can play the price-tag chicken game, where you make note of the date an item will drop in price and then stop in on that date to see if it’s still there.
Most stores have all-sales-final policies, and consignors typically get 40-50 percent of sale prices.
Got a favorite local consignment store that’s not on our list? Tell us in the comments or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Nouveaux: This Ballantyne Village shop has a luxury boutique vibe and carries everything from J. Crew to Gucci. There’s usually an ample supply of St. John, Lilly Pulitzer and lots of high-end bags from brands like Stella McCartney, Chanel and Tory Burch. You’ll find watches and jewelry as well (some of the jewelry is new, at modest prices), and owner Carly Edmiston will help you put together outfits if you ask. (She styles several looks a day for the store’s Instagram.)
JT Posh: You’ll find everything from weekend rompers for 20-somethings to more business-appropriate outfits at this Park Road store, which has such a big Instagram following (more than 9,700 followers) that many items get purchased almost as soon as they hit social media. Much of the store is displayed by color, which makes browsing easier if you have a hue in mind.
Divine Consign: With two locations (one in the Fountains shopping center off Ardrey Kell Road in South Charlotte and a newer one in Fort Mill’s Baxter Village), there’s a vast diversity of brands and styles here, from Prada bags and Lilly Pulitzer dresses to Banana Republic separates.
Sweet Repeats Upscale Consignment Boutique: One of Charlotte’s veteran consignment retailers (it’s been around 22 years), this Dilworth shop boasts lots for young shoppers dressing for a night on the town, and plenty for more mature women seeking conservative St. John pieces. You can shop right off the store’s website.
Great Things Consigned & Boutique: You’ll find furniture and housewares in addition to clothing, shoes and accessories in this store in the Arboretum Shopping Center in South Charlotte.
FlairTrade Consign: Formerly known as Fifi’s Fine Resale, this Cornelius shop serves both men and women. For men, expect names like Joseph A. Banks and Brooks Brothers; women will find mall brands like Ann Taylor, Banana Republic and Gap, in addition to high-end handbags and shoes.
Jilson’s Men’s Consignment: Fine menswear is the focus at this Myers Park shop, with names like Burberry, Billy Reid, Peter Millar and more.
If second hand — but not strictly consignment — is what you’re after, here’s a list of resale shops that sell clothing, accessories and shoes at steep discounts. Many offer lower-end brands than you’ll find in consignment boutiques in addition to the hot brands (think names you’d find at Kohl’s or JC Penney in addition to Vineyard Vines and Michael Kors), so shoppers looking to spend less will have more choices. (But plan to spend some time combing the racks at most of these; inventory is often ample.)
House of LeMond: This vintage gentleman’s boutique in the heart of uptown is a fun place to browse and pick up items you won’t find elsewhere. Be sure to strike up a conversation with owner LeMond Crayton-Hart, who is passionate about dressing the dapper man.
Clothes Mentor: This national reseller has two large locations in Charlotte (one on Kings Drive, the other in the Arboretum) and another in Rock Hill, where you’ll find a wide range of clothing, shoes, handbags, belts, jewelry and accessories, including a nice selection of plus sizes.
Buffalo Exchange: This national chain’s Charlotte location is on Central Avenue in Plaza Midwood, and shoppers with eclectic tastes will appreciate the offerings for both men and women. You’ll find both vintage and brand-new items here.
Uptown Cheapskate: The three Charlotte-area locations (two in Charlotte and one in Huntersville) have items you’d find in mall stores, thrift stores and high-end boutiques.