Right before the holidays, I spent two days shopping in Los Angeles with Jslow and writer/stylist/stylish Rhianna, whom we met while shopping at Acne Studios during one of our Fashion Week shopping excursions. She recently started work at the highly anticipated Dover Street Market that just debuted in New York.
Rhianna is a consignment junkie. Jslow and I are just plain junkies. We need retail rehab to ween ourselves off the quick full-price fix.
Balenciaga booties at left, Decades. Original price: $1,200. Scored for $250.
When I was young, like Rhianna (depressingly, she is less than half my age) I too was resourceful and scrappy as my tastes far outpaced my secretarial salary; I lived at Marshall's and Ross (the horror!) and thrift shops, waited for year-end clearance sales, and when I did pay full price, relied on lay-a-way. This strategy provided me a very fun, very chic, and very affordable wardrobe that produced promotions and boyfriends.
Through the years and better paying jobs, I started to gorge on more full-price apparel. My closet became obese, and my hangers sagged, full of expensive dead weight. I'd suffer fashion hangovers the mornings after evening trips to "Overpriced and Expensive.com".
And so off we went in Jslow's mom-mobile to scour consignment shops in tony Santa Monica, West Hollywood and Brentwood, where the rich and famous "suffer" retail bulimia, purging their designer cast-offs after a few wearings before they move onto their next fancy fashion plate.
In Santa Monica, we got lost in Great Labels, a nondescript storefront on a nondescript stretch of Wilshire. At first I found this small, cramped store overwhelming, as I dug deep through the packed racks, hoping to unearth fashion gold. Thankfully my efforts were rewarded with a Moschino Cheap and Chic Floral Coat, Norma Kamali cobalt blue trench, and an Emanuel Ungaro velvet evening duster, which at full price would have totaled over $3,000. I paid $422. Andrea Waters, the owner, could not have been nicer and more helpful, making me feel even better about my purchases.
We then hit 3020 Designer Resale, in the charming hamlet of Brentwood Village, which looks and feels more like a boutique than a typical consigner. They carried a finely edited selection of top labels including some very pricey gems (Including a Shearling Chanel bag for $12,000.) Here too the ladies behind the register were warm and welcoming. I scored a $50 Alexander Wang skirt and Y-3 track jacket, full price $1,500, here, $225.
Our last stop was Decades on Melrose, co-owned by Cameron Silver and Christos Garkinos, who starred in "The Dukes of Melrose" on Bravo. Cameron himself sashayed through sporting a giant suede poncho, price tags fluttering in his wake. And these price tags are steep, as Decades peddles in high-end vintage couture. But boy what fun. I walked out with a beautiful pair of Balenciagas pictured above. The heels were a steal.
I was exhilarated by our day of bargain hunting, and still facing sticker shock of the best kind. I woke up the next day without a fashion hangover (well, I did have a champagne hangover, but that's another story), but with a bounce in my step and a vow to make consignment a large part of my shopping life. Although I'm angry at myself for wasting so much money over the years, I'm happy to learn a much better way to afford and enjoy style in a much more meaningful way, especially at a time of such excess and waste.
Jslow, pictured below, knows all in her Alexander McQueen consignment top, sipping champagne at the Chateau Marmont.
I can't wait to dive into the world of consignment here in my hometown of San Francisco. Cris and SuiGeneris, here I come. Watch this space to follow my journey.
And in case you missed it, Jslow posted on the consignment scene in New York and online, which I highly recommend you revisit. While you're at it, you may want to ask Jslow to share some of her Los Angeles finds, which include an extraordinary Alexander McQueen floral blouse and Lanvin dress.
Rhianna, thanks for the retail rehab. I'm really hoping not to relapse. And my closet? Day one of it's diet is underway. It's determined to loose 25 pounds of fashion fat, and replace it with 5 pounds of high-quality consignment muscle. Wish us luck.
For more style musings where we give father time the finger, please visit our blog at Blankstareblink.com.