As the city blooms into spring and we begin to retire our down jackets and boots it's hard not to contemplate storage issues with the changing over of the closet. After all, this is New York. Each season we face the dilemma of either paying for storage or parting with clothes that have gone unloved for the past year (or more). Luckily, Manhattan is a hotspot for designer and couture consignment with numerous establishments along Madison Avenue.
Strolling up Madison Avenue in the 80s, there is one of the greatest concentrations of consignment stores in the city. Nearly every store follows a 50/50 split for items, meaning the final sale price will be split equally between the consignor and the store.
Before you load up all your unwanted fashion valuables, it's best to make an appointment with your desired destination. Most stores will not review merchandise unless prior arrangements are made. most require appointments to assess the value of your goods. Currently, most stores are only accepting spring and summer merchandise. So all those unwanted jackets and seaters will not be accepted until the end of summer.
Some stores are known for specializing in certain items and brands – earlier this month Madison Avenue Spy reported on how Fisch For the Hip, in Chelsea, has the best selection of Hermes Birken bags in the city.
Below is a guide of local consignment stores that all have a consistent track records for excellent merchandise and great reputations. In grand Madison Avenue Spy style, we surveyed the stores and are bringing you the highlights. We just ask that you don't blame any temptation on us!
Michael’s The Consignment Shop for Women
1041 Madison Avenue (between 79th and 80)
Michael’s consistently has a great selection of various designer handbags and shoes that may tempt you during your consignment appointment. While there was a lone olive Chanel Reissue flap and no Birkens to speak of, their online sale site has a YSL white leather Muse for $595, and a black patent classic Chanel for $1500. In store, there is a great selection of rare Hermes Collier de Chien belts. Black and Brown crocodile versions are $2500 each and the regular chestnut leather version is $1500 (the black leather version is available online). Since 30% markdowns begin after merchandise has been there for 30 days, savvy shoppers may want to wait until the beginning of May to score any of these gorgeous belts. While shopping, we couldn't resist a brand new pair of Balmain suede studded gladiator sandals for $125 that retailed for over $1000 new.
La Boutique Resale
1045 Madison Avenue (near 80th)
A few steps away from Michaels, La Boutique’s main store boasts lots of racks of designer clothing, with jackets and boots currently marked down 20%. Some items that caught our attention were a lovely Chanel metallic reissue medium flap bag for $2500, a Stella McCartney pastel plum colored Falabella tote for $575, and classic Hermes H belts for $400 to$450. Lots of Jimmy Choos currently dominate their modest shoe section.
1132 Madison Avenue (between 84/85th)
For a wider selection of clothing, Encore should definitely be on your re-sale shopping list, especially since their claim to fame as the first consignment store in the US. Encore has a good selection of high end couture and designer items, like a fabulous vintage Lanvin pink and black polka dot dress for $200 and a sheer silk Prada geometric dress for $180.
A Second Chance Designer Resale
1109 Lexington Avenue (between 77-78th)
A stone’s throw away from Madison Avenue is one of the best places to find vintage and contemporary Chanel handbags and accessories in the city. A gently used patent black 226 classic flap will set you back $2700, while a lovely chestnut leather Hermes Evelyn bag is $999. They also have a great selection of Louis Vuitton handbags, and even a number of large red Goyard travel pieces (at about $2999). They do not have a lot of retail space for clothing, so if you are looking to unload a significant amount of your closet, other stores may be a better bet.
208 East 73rd St (between 2nd and 3rd)
A bit further off the beaten path you can find the Upper East Side outpost of Ina. (They have four other stores downtown). While their Prince Street location is renowned for high end couture, the plethora of designer shoes for smaller footed (6-7.5) fashionistas was remarkable. Gently used Blahniks, Choos, and Louboutins don’t break the bank at just around $150.