Bonjour mes amies! Once upon a time, I hosted in-person shopping experiences. I would organize a group of mes amies, and we would go shopping at vintage and consignment stores. Upon arrival, one of the most popular questions I received was, “why is this consignment shop so expensive?”
There is a common misconception that vintage, thrifting, and consignment are synonymous; they are not. Let’s break down the trois entities from the (potentially) lowest price to highest.
A thrift shop is a store selling secondhand clothes, household goods, and any other products that are donated. While thrift stores are now becoming a bit more organized and structured for the most part, thrift stores were once free-for-alls. Click here to read my blog on donation etiquette.
Since items are donated to a thrift store without a cash payment being received by the donor (tax deductions are sometimes available), the merchandise may not be in the best condition. Typically clothes are not laundered before being placed on the sales floor. Many thrift stores are affiliated with charitable associations, such as hospitals and nonprofits. There was a time when thrift stores were extremely inexpensive, but depending on the city you live in, that is not the case. If you have watched any of my recent weekly vlogs on YouTube, you will hear me complain about just how expensive thrift stores have gotten.
Vintage refers to a space in time. While there are stores that sell only vintage items, vintage items can be found at thrift stores. The most common definition for vintage is any item from twenty years ago. Oui mes amies that Forever 21 dress from 2000 is now vintage. Vintage items are sometimes quite expensive. I am partial to vintage outerwear, and I spend upwards of $150 for a coat. Can I find vintage coats at thrift stores? Oui, but many times since thrift stores are in the market of receiving donations, there can be costly repairs associated with the purchase. Vintage shops tend to merchandise and clean garments before putting them on the sales floor. That accounts for the upcharge.
If the name of my blog and brand alone did not reveal that these are my favorite shops, this post confirms it. Consignment shops are a third-party method of selling designer and contemporary brands (just as thrift stores but continue reading); most commonly, you would go to a local consignment shop to sell items that you no longer want. Not because they’re damaged or out of season, simply because you don’t want it anyone.
Depending on the consignment shop you will receive payment at the time of exchange, or once the item sells. Fun fact, consignment shops were once a point of shame. Many women did not want to be seen, going into consignment shops, because it gave off the impression that they could not afford to maintain the lifestyle that they were living. Now consignment shops are all the rage. There are even big brands that now offer consignment.
This blog post is an extremely birdseye view of the trois separate entities: Thrift, Vintage, and Consignment. I could go on forever about this because all trois are my passion, but in the interest of keeping your attention, I will end here.
If you have any questions about Thrifting, Vintage, or Consignment, s’il vous plaît, leave me a comment below.
Ciao for now 💋