Where to Consign Your Old Clothes in NYC
This sparks joy, this sparks joy not.
Many of us fall into toxic cycles with our closets. We develop an inexplicable attachment to the dress we bought for that trip to the Bahamas but only wore to one dinner, or those pair of jeans that used to be our go-to’s but now don’t seem to go with anything. And because we don’t reach for these items anymore, our instinctive solution is to buy even more and hide away our shameful purchase history under the dark corners of our bed in an attempt at “spring cleaning.” The greener solution (both for your wallet and for the planet) is to consign.
1. What is consignment?
The basic idea of consignment is selling your goods through a third party. In return, you receive either a commission or a set payment.
2. Who should consign?
Everyone! New, fleeting trends each season has been the mainstay of fast fashion, which unfortunately results in cluttered closets—and worse—disappearing natural resources and habitats.
3. Why should I consider consignment?
Chances are, there’s something in your wardrobe that you haven’t touched in years; why not make some space? And money! If not so someone else can enjoy the garment, for the planet.
4. How can I consign my clothes?
First thing’s first: analyze the closet situation. A good rule of thumb is to flag anything you haven’t worn in the last year. If you’re really trying to downsize (and weather isn’t a factor) – anything you haven’t worn in the last 6 months. Bring all the goods to a consignment store near you, or do it online! Each organization will work a little differently, but in person they will usually sort through everything right in front of you and let you know what they can and cannot accept. Keep on reading until the end of the article to find out what to do with the items you can’t consign!
5. Where can I consign in New York City?
We’re glad you asked:
SOHO and UES: The RealReal
In recent years, TheRealReal has steadily established itself as the go-to for luxury consignment. We’re talking vintage Louis Vuitton bags, Jimmy Choo pumps, Cartier watches and the likes. Whether you went through a Carrie Bradshaw phase and bought a few too many Manolos, or you inherited a family heirloom that you just can’t really see yourself wearing – TheRealReal can get you up to 85% on your treasure (sometimes within the month!). The company even offers in-home pickups and free shipping to sing to the luxury tune.
UNION SQUARE: Beacon’s Closet
Part of the L Train Vintage family, Beacon’s Closet is only increasing in popularity among New York’s thrifters and treasure-hunters. If you’re not there to buy vintage Levis or a suede jacket from the 70s, you might be there to take advantage of the store’s 35% cash or 55% store credit consignment deal. They’ll sort through your clothes right in front of you – or, you can opt to drop off and come back later if time is tight.
WILLIAMSBURG: Crossroads Trading
With locations all over the world, the New York Crossroads Trading is conveniently located just off the Bedford Ave L train for Williamsburg’s trendy minimalists. This store will also sort right in front of you, but the queue may take a while – grab a cappuccino from Partners Cafe or an indulgent slice of the famed Artichoke Pizza just across the street to kill the time. Keep in mind, Crossroads tends to lean on the pickier side; check out their website to get an idea of what exactly they are looking for and will buy from you.
Consign luxury in the comfort of your own sweatpants. You have two options with Vestiaire: You can either sell it yourself or have the company do it for you. If you’re a DIY-kinda gal, all it takes is downloading the app, listing the item with a description and photos, sending to Vestiaire (complimentary) once someone has purchased it, and then you can earn up to 80% back on the purchase price! Otherwise, Vestiaire can do all of the above for you. Easy-peasy.
If You Can’t Consign… Donate to Housing Works
Consignment can be tricky if what you’re trying to sell is something you purchased years ago. If a store isn’t accepting a few of your pieces, the next best thing would be to donate to someone who needs it most. Housing Works is one of our favorites here at BWB because of its mission, which is to confront both the homelessness and HIV/AIDS crises. With locations all throughout Manhattan and Brooklyn, there is no shortage of ways your donations can help: Clothing, furniture, books and so forth. The impact of your donation can be as practical as giving someone the necessary apparel for a job interview, or as life-changing as contributing to someone’s healthcare.
If You Still Have A Shopping Itch… Rent the Runway
#RentReduceReuse is the way things work at RTR. After all that consignment and downsizing, you may still find yourself craving something shiny and new. RTR offers a sustainable solution to that – perfect for special events where you only plan on wearing that shiny new thing once, maybe twice. Based on a membership plan, you can choose among three different monthly subscription options, varying in item quantity, price limit and designers. When it’s time to return, dry cleaning and shipping is on them. Not sure if you’re ready for the commitment? RTR also offers one-time rentals. Whatever you choose, rest assured your transaction prioritizes sustainable measures wherever possible, whether through reusable garment bags or recycling the plastic covers into wood-alternative building materials. Shopping doesn’t have to be wasteful!
Feature image credit: @moomooi
Originally from Los Angeles, Alicia lived in Shanghai for 11 years before moving back to the states to attend the University of Miami, where she graduated with a bachelor’s degree in public relations and minors in art and philosophy. Currently residing in New York City, Alicia applies her knowledge of strategic communication and design in her career. She enjoys painting, rugby, exploring, and more often than not, you’ll find her petting someone’s dog.