Balenciaga Bound!

I was reminded of the magic of consignment shopping last week when I attended the launch of Gabrielle’s boutique, The Collective: the joy in finding the unexpected. And even more joy in bringing it to your home and closet. This whimsical Balenciaga Paris knit dress caught the corner of my eye and I knew it was special – but something I never imagined owning. The minute I tried it on I knew that we were meant to be together! Go to a consignment shop looking for something specific and you will never find it. But go to a consignment shop with an open mind and you may find a treasure of your own!

Dress, Balenciaga Paris; boots, Sigerson Morrison; tights, Wolford

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Gabrielle is Forever the Collector

With a background in psychology, art, and philosophy, Gabrielle Newkirk, left her full-time job for a retail position as Manager of Anthropologie. But that wasn’t enough for Gabrielle – she wanted to be closer to the customer, closer to the connection between customer and clothing. And closer to the shopper who wants to shop without expectation, but to shop with purpose to find unique, one-of-a-kind pieces that will reflect her personality. With inspiration from watching her Aunt Margie, who had a strong sense of style and never listened to body type rules of fashion, Gabrielle became a collector of beautiful things for herself. And eventually, Gabrielle was drawn to the world of consignment shopping.

This week, Gabrielle’s dreams of sharing her collections and owning and running her own consignment shop come true, as she launches her own boutique – The Collective. The Collective will be a place for designer and on-trend pieces – clothing and accessories – from established stores like Bloomingdale’s and Saks Fifth Avenue, to smaller, modern stores like Madewell. Gabrielle wants to build a community of women – consignors and customers – with the hopes of building relationships and providing them with options they will not see anywhere else. Gabrielle’s own style is eclectic with a touch of bohemian. Someone once described Gabrielle’s look as if she rolled out of bed looking great, without giving it too much thought. Don’t we all want that, to be our own collectors, too??

Gabrielle Newkirk

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Fall is the Time to Accessorize

Fall is time to accessorize!

Fall is the time to accessorize!

Fall is the time to accessorize and elevate your look. Seasonal outfits look better with plush accessories and heavier fabrics of the season like fringe and suede work well as added touches. I like to pull out my chocolate brown bead necklace in the fall for added texture to any and all of my outfits – from jeans and a sweater to a printed dress or skirt. I found this at my favorite consignment shop, where I often find one-of-a-kind treasures. Pull out your accessories and add lift to whatever you are wearing this fall.

Photo by Lauren Hagerstrom

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The Banana Shirt Goes on Summer Vacation

Optimized-P1050668Today my banana shirt is in Richmond, Virginia enjoying the hospitality of family and the charm of this beautiful city and surrounding areas. This unique tee is Dolce & Gabbana, purchased several years ago at my favorite consignment shop. It is a summer favorite and travels with me on vacations. The very same camo banana shirt and cut-offs took a snooze with me on a lazy afternoon and shopped at a local Lilly Pulitzer store at the beach in the Outer Banks of North Carolina. I am definitely going bananas!P1030938

P1030970

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Do I really have to shop for it?

My podcast returns! Photo credit, Patricia Saxton

Photo credit, Patricia Saxton

I really dislike shopping for clothes. Huh? You mean, you write about fashion and you don’t like to shop? Absolutely, don’t. like. to. shop. Department stores make me dizzy, the lights bring out my claustrophobia and I can’t see the clothes clearly after a while. In fact, I have developed an attitude of just get in, get out every time I go to a department store. Online shopping is easier but filled with uncertainty because you aren’t able to touch and feel and see the clothes until they show up at your door, and frankly – half of everything I purchase online has to go back. The most bearable way for me to shop is at consignment or vintage stores because that is less about feeling the anxiety and pressure to find something, and more about discovering new treasures. That is perhaps why I loved Loehmann’s so much; shopping there was more like a treasure-hunt. And there was something so wonderful about the large, dressing rooms filled with women encouraging you and supporting you. Everyone deserves to hear: “Honey, you should really buy that. It looks nice on you!” But sadly, the original Loehmann’s is gone and you know how I feel about the online version of Loehmann’s

No, I love how the right clothes make you feel and love expressing myself through clothes and color and texture, but I do not love to shop for them. And therein lies the problem. In fact, every time I need to buy something, I kind of break out in a sweat, and ask myself, ‘do I really have to shop for it?’

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What’s Black and White and Ghoul All Over?

IMG_8154My skull sweater! I couldn’t be happier that it’s October, and I am pulling out my skull sweater! I love my skulls, and although I wear this sweater the entire fall and winter, nothing feels better than wearing it this month. Today, I pair the sweater with black pants, and my first-ever Manolo Blahnik’s that I purchased … where else? At my favorite consignment boutique; on sale, no less. It was a good day. Are you pleased with me, Carrie Bradshaw?

Do you have a favorite October item to get you in the mood for Halloween? Do tell …

Photos by Lisa ReznikIMG_8147IMG_8152IMG_8160

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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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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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