N icole Curtis started consignment shopping as a college student trying to reconcile her high-quality taste with her Ramen noodle budget.
“You don’t have any money in college,” Curtis said. “I always liked nice things, but on a college dime you have to be creative.”
Curtis, of Lexington, frequently shopped with her mother at thrift, consignment and antique stores when she was growing up, so she was no stranger to the treasure hunt of resale shopping, in which one can find high-end designer clothes and accessories for low (or at least lower) prices. True thrift stores like Goodwill can have a range of items from ratty old T-shirts to the rare designer handbag, while consignment shops are higher-priced and have wide selections of used upscale clothing, shoes and accessories.
Though she’s no longer on a college budget, Curtis still does about 95 percent of her clothing and furniture shopping at resale shops.
“I never walk down the street and have the same outfit as someone else,” Curtis said. “It makes my closet more interesting and conversational.”
Curtis goes to Midlands consignment shops such as Revente in Five Points and Curious Couture in Lexington for clothing about three or four times each week to scope out new arrivals and scoop up great deals and unique pieces. She gets furniture and housewares from thrift shops like His House in West Columbia and puts her own do-it-yourself twist on it to create distinctive pieces for her home.
Shoppers can find anything from casual and business attire to formal wear at resale shops. Curtis once found an Oscar De La Renta gown from the 1950s for $7, and often purchases business and evening wear that sets her apart. If something strange or interesting catches her eye, Curtis still tries it, because “someone bought it because it made them feel good when they put it on.”
Curtis said she feels less guilt when shopping resale because she knows she’s getting a better deal than if she were to buy a similar item new. Since almost every item in a resale shop is the only one of its kind there, she may be more inclined to snap it up. To keep her closet from overflowing, Curtis also consigns and donates clothing that she hasn’t worn in at least a year.
“It keeps you fresh,” Curtis said. “You’re not stuck and dated.”