Save a Bundle: Consignment Stores Worth Traveling For

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These are the best consignment stores across the U.S. (Photo: Getty Images)

I admit to a love affair with fashion. But a taste for the finer threads doesn’t exactly fit with my freelance writer’s budget. Imagine my thrill when I discovered the world of consignment. “Pre-owned” bags, clothes, and shoes that cost way less than full-priced designer duds.

Consignment is not Goodwill. These are places that are highly curated or come with a theme — L.A. might showcase fashion from recent TV shows or movies, say, while Manhattan’s Upper East Side is full-on Chanel crazy. Nor is it necessarily vintage. You can find last season’s Diane von Furstenberg’s wrap dresses or cast-off Louis Vuitton handbags. The sellers, who may suffer from a shopping addiction, supply these stores with gently used and relatively new clothes, bags, and accessories, and receive a portion of the retail price.

Those closet clean-outs are your gain. And what better souvenir of a city than something completely unique? If you time it right, you can get some serious end-of-season mark-downs, too. Here are some worthy of a visit.

Designer Resale, New York City

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I’ll take Manhattan — and a good deal. (Photo: Designer Resale)

New York, New York, it’s a wonderful — and expensive — town. But it’s possible to find some serious deals from high-end designers at the Designer Resale shop — which caters to men and women. Located on a quiet street on the Upper East Side, the boutique has expanded into six store fronts in connecting brownstones over the last 25 years.

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The homey feel and friendly sales associates can easily turn a quick visit into hours of browsing. But if you like something, grab it. Chances are if you don’t, it will be hanging in someone else’s dressing room. Finds include racks of shoes from Jimmy Choo, Prada, and Gucci. Expect to see fashions from brands including Vince, Theory, and Anne Fontaine, and an haute couture section with Chanel, Herve Leger, and Prada.

Buffalo Exchange Boerum Hill, Brooklyn, N.Y.

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Brooklyn bargains galore. (Photo: Buffalo Exchange)

Fashionistas may work in Manhattan, but they live in Brooklyn. And, apparently, they bring in their unwanted but very chic threads to Buffalo Exchange Boerum Hill, a Brooklyn hot spot. “The fashionable inventory we carry is a full reflection of the neighborhood since our inventory is from our customers,” says store manager Kathleen Brown.

The affordable and trendy selections for men and women change daily. High-end pieces include Alexander Wang, Fendi, and Rebecca Minkoff, along with staples from J. Crew, TopShop, Anthropologie, Zara, and the Gap.

Kiki D. Design & Consign, Newton, Mass.

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Baubles for peanuts. (Photo: @kikiddesign/Instagram)

Along with consigned fashions, shoes, and handbags, Kiki D. Design & Consign owner Beth Kurson also offers up her one-of-a-kind jewelry for sale at the store. And it’s worth a stop just to see her creations. The line, which incorporates vintage and new pieces, are covered in rose-cut diamonds and baroque and Tahitian pearls, and hang from oxidized silver chains. Prices range from $200-$1,500.

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Clearly, accessories are a standout at the store, which seems to be well stocked with Chanel bags of all shapes and sizes, along with Louis Vuitton, Bottega Veneta, and YSL.

Elliott Consignment, Chicago

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Smart style in Chicago. (Photo: Elliott Consignment/Facebook)

Elliott Consignment, which opened its doors in 1996, offers “two floors of eclectic designer brands,” for men and women, according to local travel and lifestyle writer Rosalind Cummings-Yeates. “I never know what I’ll find, which is part of the appeal,” she added. Designer labels include Diane Von Furstenberg, Michael Kors, and Marc Jacobs.

It’s a Wrap, Los Angeles

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Star quality in L.A. (Photos: Yelp)

What’s better than spotting a star in L.A.? Wearing something you viewed on a TV show or movie. It’s a Wrap promises an endless supply of outfits that have come straight from a set, often still with the tags on and barely used, at a fraction of the original price. Each piece is marked with a code, so you know its previous life as a star in front of the camera.

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Closet 1951, San Francisco

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(Photos: Closet 1951/Facebook)

The tiny Closet 1951 boutique in the Cow Hollow retail mecca along Union Street will draw you in with its stylish merchandising displayed in the windows. Inside, the place is stacked floor to ceiling with fun finds from brands like Elizabeth and James, Stuart Weitzman, and Phillip Lim. It also boasts an extensive collection of LBDs from Milly, Moschino, D & G, and See by Chloe.

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