By: Revanche

Clearing out the closet: say yes to my dress(es)!

February 18, 2010

Reading Benjamin’s tale of sending his wife’s clothes to consignment from the Carnival of Money Stories triggered a brainstorm. 

My regular decluttered clothing gets donated because it’s serviceable everyday stuff, but I’ve usually got nothing of Name Brand status that would hold up in a consignment shop except … all those bridesmaid dresses!  At least six gowns of varying lengths and styles are in great condition and deserve to be worn again. (Well, one or two are of questionable style, but I know there’s someone out there to love it anyway.)

I may keep one or two just in case I have to attend anything formal again

I searched for a good consignment shop either locally or somewhere not too far a lope in California, any recommendations would be quite welcome, but all the semi-local shops have closed up and gone online. I’d be 100% for the virtual consignment experience if I weren’t awkwardly sized.

Y’see, my bridesmaid dresses were all ordered in Junior Bridesmaid sizes, and frequently tailored to fit.  That means it’d take a fairly small person to wear my clothes without passing out. I’d rather sell them in a place where the customer has a chance to try on the dress. Still, returns (if allowed) aren’t really my problem, right? So that’s one option.

Another possibility would be to look into Asian-centric shops to see if they would carry the dresses.  My concerns with that method are twofold: most shops want to carry their own inventory, not used and tailored pieces; and (don’t hate me they’re my people and I know how they are!) I don’t like the way Asians do business in that town.  Unless they were vouched for by one of the very few people I trust, I wouldn’t trust them. Heck, I don’t trust a lot of my blood relatives, their morals are too “what’s-in-it-for-me?”
From bitter experience as a consumer – much less in a business transaction where they give me the money – many of the folks who live and work immersed in this particular predominantly Asian community surrounded by their native kinfolk are stubborn and the idea of “customer service” is completely foreign to them.  It’s not unusual for them to decide to completely change your order, be it housewares, gifts, or flowers for your wedding because “I thought this was better.”  No, no, you found something cheaper!

*This actually happened several times to my bride-friend.  She was far too nice, I would have lost my temper the second time that crazy shop owner thought to pass off an inferior product as a better choice for the same price. 

But I digress.

The last option I’m considering is taking the pile to one of the resale shops on Melrose. Something like Plato’s Closet or Buffalo Exchange, but more upscale since those two chains specialize in casual wear.  Not too upscale like the designer/new-only shops, but an eclectic shop that accepts formalwear.  The very helpful young lady at Buffalo Exchange suggested a shop near her own: Wasteland

Their recording describes year-round purchasing, seasonally, and an upfront pricing of your clothing with an immediate cash payment at  35% of their retail price.  This sounds like the standard pricing policy across all the consignment shops I canvassed.  If I sell with them, I’d be best served waiting until near prom season since I’m pretty sure I’ve missed Homecoming. 

I briefly considered selling them on the blog, but …. dresses are so much more difficult than bags, shoes, or jewelry, aren’t they?

None of these options will be more than a pittance of the original money spent, but it’ll open up at least a foot of closet space and these pieces should go to good homes which is another version of repurposing.


My guest post at The Digerati Life: Wedding Invitation Etiquette: Should Kids Be Invited to Weddings? was included in WiseBread’s Personal Finance Roundup: What If I Can’t Afford to Make My Mortgage Payment?


Remember to enter to win the PearBudget and Uprinting Giveaways: You can enter to win either one or both, make it clear if you’re entering just for one or for both. I’m keeping track of entries separately so you have equal chances for either prize. 

7 Responses to “Clearing out the closet: say yes to my dress(es)!”

  1. If you’re unable to find a consignment shop or other buyer for them, consider donating them to a charity like The Glass Slipper Project or The Cinderella Project, which helps underprivileged girls get lovely formal dresses for prom and the like.

  2. eemusings says:

    Hmm, I second LMM’s idea, unless you really wanted to make some of your money back. Are those two pictures of your real dresses? I love the colour of the second one.

  3. I was going to suggest the charities that help girls w/ prom dresses. Wasteland is even more picky than Buf. Be prepared for rejection! Good luck.

    These activities end up being extremely time-consuming. And dispiriting. Ask me how I know.

  4. I like the purple chiffon dress… beautiful.

  5. I donate all of my “old” clothes; old meaning that I no longer use them. Well, first the sister and the mom go through the stuff to see if they like anything and anything else that is left over gets shipped to family members in Haiti.

  6. A friend of mine used to sell her stuff to the Hadassah shop here in Phoenix–apparently they would pay for some clothing that was in good shape. As I recall, she would start with Buffalo Exchange and then take whatever she couldn’t sell there to Hadassah.

    B.E. wants things that a) are in season; b) are reasonably stylish, and c) are in good condition. Size doesn’t seem to matter…if anything, the thrift shops in this part of the country seem to carry more smaller sizes than larger.

    Is there a store called “My Sister’s Closet” there? They buy clothing on consignment, too.

  7. Revanche says:

    @Little Miss Moneybags: I have a couple charities in mind, should these not sell for actual money.

    @eemusings: Yes, those are the actual dresses; the second photo is kind of grainy.

    @Frugal Scholar: I’m trying to find one that’s local, I can’t afford to ship these big dresses across the country.

    @WellHeeled: Now if you had a reason to wear it … 😀

    @Investing Newbie: That’s great. These aren’t useful to family members OR friends, again because there’s no one who follows me in size/shape. But I’d like to find good homes for them, money or not.

    @Funny About Money: My sister’s closet would be just the ticket, but it appears they’re only in AZ. Our local B.E. won’t take formalwear or businesswear.

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