Why I Love That One-of-a-Kind Look of Vintage

Optimized-P1050876When I found this dress, I knew I had found a treasure. Unlike anything I have seen this season; the subtle nuances, the draping, and the special touches in this Eva Franco dress remind me why I love shopping in consignment stores and vintage shops … for that one-of-a-kind look that you simply can’t find anywhere else! These days, when clothing starts to look like the same thing I see over and over,  I find myself wanting something all my own. I turn to consignment and vintage shopping to give me that unique edge that enables me to express my personal style. And I feel even better, knowing that I am also helping to preserve the planet.

Dress, Eva Franco; Shoes, Talbots. Photos by Abrina Hyatt

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Weighing in on the pros of consignment shopping

Marci Kessler

Marci Kessler

Marci Kessler is the CEO of DoubleTake Consignment Boutiques: four stores throughout New Jersey; Short Hills, Ridgewood, Englewood and Red Bank. She has over 21 years experience in the fashion industry and has been involved in managing and maintaining the unique world of quality, designer consignment since launching her first boutique in May, 1992. What a role model for her two teenage sons, who have watched each of their parents run their own businesses and work hard every day to maintain them. But, of course, she had no idea this would be her future when she got her first job in high school, working in the changing room at Loehmann’s

MKG: Marci, what did you learn from that early experience at Loehmann’s?

Marci: Ultimately, I learned much more than I thought at the time. I remember my manager would go through the racks at the end of the day and make sure that every piece of clothing looked perfect. I needed to check that before I could leave the store; I think that is why I am a stickler today. Working in Loehmann’s I developed skills in merchandising, display, and customer service. In those days, Loehmann’s had impeccable customer service; it was their top priority. And today, quality customer service is the key for me. I want customers to feel like they are being taken care of when they shop: doors opened for them, help with moving their clothing to consign from the cars to the store, going above and beyond with every detail. This is very important to me. Continue reading

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This Devil Wears Prada

IMGP0401In honor of President’s Day and the spirit-of-the-sale, I purchased my first pair of Prada boots at my favorite local consignment shop. These boots are like-new … and the final price? $50 (reduced from the already reduced price of $260). In any other universe, I would never be able to own a pair of Prada boots, so this is a dream come true for me. Continue reading

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Five days of denim: Day One

Day One - wearing my Mavi jeans

Day One – wearing my Mavi jeans

I love denim. It is by far my favorite way to dress – a pair of jeans with a tee or a blazer or  sweater feels most like me. Considering how much joy I experience when I try on a cowboy hat or cowboy boots I would have to say that in my heart I am a cowboy. I own five pairs of jeans. Crazy? Well, yes. But I rationalize it by telling myself that I wear different styles for my lifestyle and wardrobe needs. One pair for every day of the week, in fact. So I decided it was time for me to do an experiment: five days of denim. Over the next five days I will wear a different pair of my jeans – and if you pick up a styling tip or two during the week my efforts will have been worth it.

Day One: My favorite jeans are my Mavi distressed boot-leg jean for their ease, comfort and fit. I think boot-leg are the most flattering. Continue reading

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Consignment treasures

My consignment treasures: a Hazel sundress and Tory Burch gladiator-style sandals with gold detail

My consignment treasures: a Hazel sundress and Tory Burch gladiator-style sandals with gold detail

Change is here – welcome to Turning Fashion Inside Out! New name, new weekly podcast (launching soon). I made the name change because … fashion is not always for those on the inside. Many of us feel left out of the fashion industry if we don’t look a certain way or purchase certain clothes or travel in the fashion circles … what’s inside is expressed by our fashion choices on the outside … and because some feedback from participants have noted that “your blog is really helpful to understand that fashion and confidence go together and always involve change.” What will never change, however, are my guiding principles and who I am. On to consignment treasures …

For my birthday, my mom treated me to some treasures from a new consignment shop in her town. I was reminded once again of the value of consignment shopping. In today’s world of ‘cookie-cutter’ department store fashions where so many stores carry the same look, adding a consignment shop to your shopping repertoire is a must. You can find one-of-a-kind things that simply aren’t available anywhere else and if you happen to love labels this is the most cost-effective way to buy a specific brand. You can get luxury goods at a fraction of their original cost. In the past I have purchased beautiful handbags that I could never have afforded otherwise, including a classic black Prada, shoes, and several high-end designer brand named items, including Dolce & Gabbana, Valentino (seen here), Carolina Herrera, Marc Jacobs, and Theory. Continue reading

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Prom: Now/Samantha …

Samantha's original dress choices

Samantha’s original dress choices  – black and silver vintage and mint green contemporary

Samantha's second choice/second dress - strapless, deep purple with silver embellishment

Samantha’s second choice/second dress – strapless, deep purple with silver embellishment

Samantha is a junior in high school and she is my friend Karen’s daughter. I have known her for her entire life. In fact, I have known her since she was in her mother’s womb. After speaking with Samantha today I find it hard to believe that she is the same age that her mom and I were when we met. Here is Samantha on prepping for the prom …

I will be going to two proms this year: my boyfriend’s school prom is this Thursday and my school prom is May 17th. Almost from the minute I was invited, I started to feel pressure to find a dress, about two months ago. I began my search at the malls but found nothing and then searched on-line and didn’t find anything there either. Fortunately, I finally discovered two dresses at a local consignment shop, each for under $50! I know some girls who are spending up to $600 for just one dress, so two for $100 is quite a find for me. One is a mint green, contemporary style; the other is a black and silver vintage dress. They both fit well which is important to me. I needed to make a few slight adjustments to the mint green and I took it to a tailor. I have a pair of silver shoes that are a fine back up but I am hoping to find another pair before the proms. Recently, I wasn’t as sure about the black dress (I think because I’m not as comfortable wearing black in the spring). My boyfriend took me to the mall where I found a deep purple strapless dress with silver embellishment. I love it! I used gift cards to purchase the dress, so again, I was lucky …

I did feel pressure to purchase two dresses, partly because of the pictures that we will be taking, but mostly because my friends will be wearing two dresses. If they were wearing one dress for both of their proms I would probably do the same …

I decided to post my dresses to a Facebook page made for my school that exhibits every girls’ dresses. But I didn’t do the same for my boyfriend’s school. I found out that someone else will be wearing my dress at his prom but I’m okay with that because there will be many people. I will be getting a mani-pedi this week as well as having a spray-tan. I had an appointment to do my hair professionally at a salon but I think I will do it myself and save the money …

I think the biggest differences between going to the prom then, when you and my mom went, and today, are: the dresses are more outrageously priced, the preparation for the prom is more intense, and there is much more pressure from your friends to prepare in a certain way …

I am excited to go to the prom. Right now, though, I am thinking more about the preparation than the actual prom. I think that many girls feel the way I do and enjoy the preparation more than anything else.” ~ Samantha

I think that Samantha shows us that pressure from friends continues to be a big deal in high school. And no one should underestimate the power of the image in today’s world.

What do you think?

to be continued …

 

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Shop your closet first …

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I want to put on the clothes and let them do their job … you shouldn’t have to work too hard for clothes.” Kim, fashion stylist

How well do you know your clothes? When was the last time you checked what was in your closet? I thought I knew my clothes and I thought I knew what was in my closet. I am often telling people to shop their closets first before heading to the store to make a new purchase. But what did I really know about my own closet? It turns out, not as much as I thought, and today was the moment when I put my money where my mouth is! My new friend, Kim, a professional stylist with Style for Hire, a company co-founded by Stacy London and Cindy McLaughlin, came to my house where we spent a few hours editing my clothing and performing a closet audit.

I was nervous and I didn’t know what to expect. First, I worried about how I was dressed. Would Kim think I was dressed appropriately for a closet audit? What is appropriate anyway? (in turns out that it didn’t matter because I was dressing and undressing the entire time!) And what would happen if Kim removed clothing to which I was still attached? I had too many questions, but fortunately for me, Kim was delightful and warm and funny and kept the mood light, which really helped. What also helped was that she knew what she was doing. Here is what we did: we pulled out everything in my closet and Kim looked it over. And if it was a ‘no go’ I said a quick good bye and didn’t look back. If it was a ‘yes,’ I tried it on. But here is where the magic came … Kim showed me surprising and unexpected ways to wear my own clothes. She styled everything with a twist and by the end of my time with her I had new outfits and was seeing my clothing in a completely new light. It was exhausting and draining and uplifting and fulfilling and emotional at the same time. Kim took pictures too, so that I could recreate the looks on my own. Continue reading

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Spring dream

My white lace Valentino blazer

My white Valentino blazer

In the midst of more dreary winter weather ready to drag me down I found a moment to Spring dream! My new favorite stylist, Stacy London (co-host of TLC’s What Not to Wear, now in its 10th season!), revealed the spring style trends. Illuminating! So let’s talk! …

white and lace. Flirty and feminine, the combination of white and lace will be big. I have this one covered with my Valentino blazer (it’s white eyelet, actually) that I snatched at my local high-end consignment shop. Find a consignment shop for yourself, if you haven’t already! Go!

gladiator sandals and ankle-strap sandals. Watch for gladiator sandals, especially, with the designs reaching every length, even up to the knee! Continue reading

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Consignment for a cause …

The Association of Junior Leagues International Inc. (AJLI) is an organization of women committed to promoting voluntarism, developing the potential of women and improving communities through the effective action and leadership of trained volunteers. Its purpose is exclusively educational and charitable.”  AJLI Mission Statement

Mary Harriman - Founder of The Junior League Photo courtesy of The Junior League New York City

Mary Harriman – Founder of The Junior League

Almost 120 years ago, a wealthy 19-year old New York socialite named Mary Harriman, daughter of railroad tycoon Edward R. Harriman, did something momentous: she decided to help those living in squalor in tenements on the Lower East Side of her city. In 1901 Miss Harriman formed the Junior League for the Promotion of the Settlement Movement and rallied women to help her help others less fortunate. That was the first step in creating the now global and far-reaching Association of Junior Leagues International Inc., which today serves to help millions of people in need. And 100 years ago, the second Junior League was formed in New Jersey, what is now known as The Junior League of The Oranges and Short Hills, or JLOSH.

My friend Myriam is a member of JLOSH which helps women and children in the area who are in need. One of many fundraisers for JLOSH was tonight’s exciting event, Girls Night In. Myriam, who hosted the event, had the idea to create a consignment boutique in her own house. Women consigned their gently-used gowns, clothes, shoes, handbags and accessories as Myriam opened her home to a shopping event for a cause. In the words of Kate Lee, the current President of JLOSH: “This is a great time of year to empty closets of the evening gowns we’ll never wear again, and make those beautiful clothes someone else’s treasure, but it’s even better knowing that the money raised will go directly to funding JLOSH’s mission and especially to helping children in need.”

I love this idea: that well-worn clothes can become others’ treasures, passing on the joy of dressing up. Recycling is about appreciating what we already have and Myriam and JLOSH found a way to share the outfits and the goodwill. Well done! I think Mary Harriman is smiling!

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Myriam hosting Girls Night Inconsignment for a cause

Myriam hosting Girls Night In
consignment for a cause

 

 

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