Friday, June 04, 2010

Consignment Shop Virgin: Report From the Front - Michael's Consignment Shop

Don't be intimidated by the steps leading to this high-end consignment shop nestled along the ladies-who-lunch brand flagship stores on Madison Avenue. With labels like Hermes and Chanel, I expected to see a few older women hauling heavy purses, with brand names so expensive, that I had only admired them at Bergdorf as if visiting an exhibit at the Met.

Michael's is a bustling interactive high-end, cool-girl exhibit with sparkly St. John, Milly, and Balenciaga in the mix. All ages and social strata have discovered the joys of cash for clothes that were using up valuable NYC closet space - the solution to an instant Gilt-gone-wrong finale sale purchase, or sample sale finds that seemed too cheap to pass on. There are many regulars here who are both buying and selling. One lamented the Prada coat that was there only a few days before - and "walked away." Her tip: if it's a beauty, buy it - it's unlikely you'll spot it twice. Fingering a Missoni, she said, "what's there to think about? A Missoni speaks for itself." Another regular suggests googling consignment shops in upper-crust neighborhoods for best selections and noted there were several nearby.

If you own any designer names - from the big leagues like Chanel to Louboutin, or the the Bergdorf 5F ones like Milly, Diane von Furstenberg, Shoshanna or Nanette, this may be your sample sale salvation. Tips for consignment shop virgins: Call in advance to determine which brands they accept. Bring in current season only. Make sure to mothball or store your winter goods and bring them back in the Fall. Prepare yourself for rejection. Cute or crazy? The ladies at the shop will decide. That oh so hot Louboutin color that you waited five hours to buy at the sample sale, but can't stand in for more than a nanosecond may not make their carefully curated cut. Merchandise is typically priced at 1/3 of retail, and then you can expect half of the profits - although prices are marked down if they do not sell. One source so far has discovered $300 this season from a recent closet cleaning.

If you're in buying mode, check out their eveningwear upstairs- for this category of merchandise it's unlikely you'll find better prices, unless you're married to a Saks sales associate. Pause before blowing multiple c-notes for Blahniks as some seem more shop-worn than gently. Happy Hunting!
1041 Madison Avenue @ 79th Street

~nancy brenner

1 comment:

vivi said...

I've visited this store a few times and it is wonderful!

Come check out our new online vintage and higher end designer items: