Finding Holiday Dresses
Between occasions hosted at work, and by family and friends, your party wardrobe can be stretched thin during the holiday season. Buying a new designer dress or two can give your holiday cheer a boost, but can also put a dent into your bank account if you shop only at high end department stores or tony boutiques. But there is another way to get your fashion fix and still have money left over for an eggnog or two: shopping for “gently used” garments. More than ever, it is possible to find quality fashion, such as designer rompers, jumpsuits, and swimwear, at reasonable prices as the recent economic doldrums have prompted many people to sell clothes that they have rarely used.
It is important, though, to spend time researching in order to identify the various places that specialize in high quality designer clothes. For example, not all secondhand stores are created equal. Places like Goodwill or Salvation Army or a local church’s thrift store will rarely have good quality designer dresses. But there are shops that specialize in designer clothes and usually market themselves as such.
Yard sales are also a hit or miss proposition. Every now and then you might find a designer dress or two but you are more likely to find casual wear.
While most estate sales primarily consist of furniture, some jewelry, fixtures, and artwork, they can also be a treasure trove of well-kept designer dresses, suits, and accessories. Even if the dresses are older, some classic designs never go out of style so these types of sales are worth checking out. Estate sales are often advertised in the newspapers and can take place at the residence—kind of a “five star” yard sale—or at an auction house.
Estate items and high end goods and clothes can also end up at consignment stores, where the owner gets a percentage of the sale price. Most designer dresses at consignment houses are top quality and you’ll likely find a mix of vintage clothing and garments from more recent collections. Consignment stores are typically more expensive than secondhand stores, but they also typically offer garments of excellent quality.
Craig’s List and other online want ads are also good places to look for used designer dresses, and to post a listing for the style of dress or designer you are looking for. Similarly, auction sites like eBay and others can have some great deals if you have the patience to peruse the offerings and stay on top of the bidding.
Whenever buying anything secondhand, especially older designer dresses, assume the piece may need to be altered to fit your height and weight. Also, if you buy online make sure to find out what the return policy is.