Less is more at Plato's Closet

As college students generally need to afford food, rent and expensive textbooks on a small budget – purchasing the latest fashion trends isn't high on a lot of students’ priority lists.

With the growing popularity of consignment shops, students might just be able to revamp their wardrobe for an affordable price.

Consignment shops don’t just sell second-hand clothes like other thrift stores; they will actually buy your gently worn clothing too.

“We always encourage people to bring things in because it’s a great way to change your style,” said Emily Koprowski, buyer/key holder at Plato’s Closet, Ann Arbor and student at Eastern Michigan University.

Not only is the idea of trading in old clothes for something different becoming a trend for young fashion go-getters, but it is also an environmentally conscious thing to do. Instead of throwing away clothes that are still in good condition, those clothes are being recycled for someone else’s use.

“Bringing in your clothes is very environmentally friendly and just really good ethically,” said Ashleigh Johnson, store manager of Plato’s Closet, Ann Arbor.

If the store isn’t able to buy everything you bring them, then they will still accept a certain amount for donations, explained Johnson.

If you don’t think Plato’s Closet is a good fit for getting rid of your gently used items that are in good condition, then there are other options as well.

“Within this area, I love Plato’s Closet, but back at home, we had multiple stores very similar to Plato’s,” said EMU junior, Elizabeth Lang.

Once Upon A Child, located in Ann Arbor on Washtenaw Avenue, buys and sells gently used kids’ clothing, shoes, toys and baby gear. According to their website, “Once Upon A Child is the largest kids’ resale franchise in North America.”

If you are still holding on to old prom, homecoming or pageant dresses that you know you will never wear again, then you can also take those to shops like Cinderella in Kimball, Mich. or Rags to Riches in Flat Rock, Mich.

“You might not want it anymore, but someone else is going to love it,” said Koprowski.

Selling gently used clothes and accessories and then buying new ones at low prices is gaining popularity amongst consumers, because you are essentially able to rework your wardrobe for almost nothing.

“I love the idea of getting a lot more for my buck,” said Lang. “Besides, I get bored very quickly with my clothes so I tend to not wear something more than a couple times, so I don’t like spending a lot on clothes that I won’t wear over and over again.”

Consumers are not forced to shop at the store after you sell to them because they give you cash, not store credit. However, some Plato’s Closet and Once Upon A Child locations do offer 20 percent off incentives if you shop right after you have sold a certain amount.

“It’s really hit or miss when you go to these stores so you have to be prepared for the fact that you may not find anything one day but another day might be better,” said Lang.

If you’re interested in selling to a consignment shop, but you are not sure if they will accept your stuff then you can also call them, or look online for what is selling well for them at the current time.

Athletic wear, dresses, boots and purses are a few of Plato’s Closet’s top-sellers right now, according to platoscloset.com. You can also visit your local Plato’s to find out what brands or products do especially well for that location, as it is oftentimes posted right on the door.

Lang said that she would encourage those who like a good deal to try out a consignment shop.

“If you spend a lot on clothes, I wouldn't recommend selling because you're not going to get enough [money] back, but if you are looking to shop, then yes,” said Lang. “You would be surprised how many items you can find with the tags still attached.”

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