There’s a new trend in town… wearing used clothes. Wait, you say – that’s not new! Thrift stores and consignment shops have been around forever! True. But the trend is going high-end and becoming more widely used with shoppers who aren’t trying to get dressed on a dime. Don’t expect to find $5 blazers in any of these spots… but you might find something wonderful at a deep discount. (Think of it as going to the sale rack, not the Salvation Army).
- Rented Special Occasion clothing (eg Rent-the-Runway)
- Shared clothing exchange (eg Gwynnie Bee)
- High-End Consignment shops (eg Luxury Garage Sale)
Why is this getting popular?
- There is a huge divide in price between high-end and mid-range ready-to-wear clothing. High-end resale fills that niche.
- There is a huge divide in quality between high-end and mid-range RTW. Wearing used clothing allows the consumer to access the higher end materials without breaking the bank. As much. It’s still pricey!
- Social norms have changed – once it was only the extremely rich who expected not to repeat a look. Now social media has spread that policy around, and more people are uncomfortable with keeping a look too long. Renting a dress is smart if you’re only going to wear it once.
- Makes having a larger wardrobe more affordable – if you’re not in love with a garment, you don’t have to keep it.
- Because of social media, people hear about certain brands or looks and want to have them for themselves, but can’t afford the new-car price of some of those items. Luxury consignment fills the niche.
Is this trend for you?
- Are you a standard or small size? Most luxury consignment is in the smaller size ranges. (Shared clothing runs a full size range – Gwynnie Bee has lots of choices in the plus-size category).
- Are you someone who needs (or wants) a wide array of clothing choices, either because of your industry or social demands? If you’re expected to hit a gala event once a month – this might be a good choice.
- Are you madly in love with a certain designer or certain look, and can’t pay retail?
Doesn’t really sound like you…
- You always have your clothing tailored to fit properly. You have a hard time finding clothing that fits well.
- You like a minimalist/capsule wardrobe.
- You love to wear signature pieces and prefer to keep your clothing as long as possible.
The fashion industry has changed a great deal in the last ten years, and it behooves all of us who have to wear clothing to keep abreast of the possibilities. The shared/used clothing marketplace is expanding rapidly, and if this sounds like something you’d be interested in, it’s worth giving it a try.