The new school year means new books, new supplies and best of all, new clothes. Unfortunately, shopping for deals at the start of the new school year can be frustrating — the racks are filled with gorgeous plaid flannel, cozy sweaters and freshly dyed blue jeans, all at full price.
The clearance department has good deals if you don’t mind wearing summer clothing into fall, although come October, you begin to feel the chill. Luckily, even on a budget, you can have a new wardrobe thanks to a resale or consignment shop.
Resale and consignment shops are similar, with a few key differences. Resale shops are exactly as they sound, reselling used or sometimes new donated items. Since they cost the store nothing to acquire, the clothes are typically very cheap, although they are often hit-or-miss for styles. A still-has-the-tags Candie’s top will sit on a rack next to a 1980s Halloween sweater.
Consignment shops are typically more upscale, giving cash back to the individual sellers for items with high resale value. This is the place to score a Coach bag or a J. Crew sweater for a fraction of the original price. It might cost more than a full-priced item at Target or Forever 21, but if you’re a brand lover, it’s still a good deal.
Nu2U, a recently opened resale store in Saline at 1311 E. Michigan Ave., features an impressively large and organized selection of tops, jeans, dresses, shoes, purses and even workout clothes, perfect never-worn condition and home goods like furniture and dishes, most priced easily by item type. One of the great features is a selection of evening gowns such as from David’s Bridal for $15.
Another resale shop that also acts a consignment store is Born Thrifty, at 2757 E. Michigan Ave. in Ypsilanti. They only sell clothing in perfect condition with no stains, holes or missing buttons from the previous two seasons at one-third of the item’s value. The best part is they give you cash – 50 percent of the resale value – for your items that match these requirements. Clean out your old wardrobe, get cash and buy new clothes all at the same time.
Plato’s Closet, like the one in Ann Arbor on Eisenhower Parkway, is probably one of the more well-known consignment stores, being a franchise with several locations throughout the state. Take in gently worn items like clothes, but also bags, belts, shoes, jewelry and accessories from within the past two years and get up to 40 percent of the item’s value in cash.
The store is jam-packed with inventory, reasonably well organized by style and size with end aisle racks featuring brands like Hollister and Aeropostale. If you happen to catch $1 day, anything from tops, shoes and dresses on a particular rack can be scored for less than a pack of gum. A downside of Plato’s is they tend to only stock up to sizes 13-14, making it difficult for larger sizes to find pieces that fit.
Resale and consignment stores allow you to have new stuff at cheap prices and to be socially responsible. Often the money from resale shop benefits schools and charities, with the employees working as volunteers. The clothing and other items stay out of landfills, and the demand for new items goes down, using fewer production resources. What’s my favorite part? Finding a piece you saw once and regretted not buying, only to have it show up at a humble little shop for $5. Let the treasure hunt begin.
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