One might naturally assume that anyone who works closely within the fashion industry can be trusted to know where to shop for the coolest brands, the most hard-to-come-by pieces, and how to get the best deals. But we’d be remiss not to ask them where to sell (or, in some cases, donate) clothing as well. As any style-savvy New Yorker knows, streamlining a small space, or perhaps nonexistent closet, is just as important as determining what to add to it. So we asked eight experts.
The biggest takeaway is that not every fashion insider is keen on schlepping their unwanted pieces to a consignment shop. In many cases, they preferred to use a combination of old fashion resale shops with online consignment services as well as hand-selected donation organizations to make sure their pieces went to a good new home.
Ahead, take notes on how eight New Yorkers (although technically one L.A. resident with a 17-year history in NYC) sell, consign, and pass on their loved but no-longer-worn clothing.
“I donate all work-appropriate clothing to Dress for Success. For any higher-end designer items that are too casual or too extravagant, I’ll schedule an appointment with TheRealReal to consign. Whatever is left I’ll drop off at Housing Works, where I usually peruse the men’s pants section and woman's shoes for vintage gems.”
— Rachael Wang, brand consultant and stylist
“I live in SoHo/NoLIta now, so typically I’ll take things I’d just like to donate to Housing Works in SoHo and drop them off there. If I have some special pieces that I’d like to sell back, I typically go up to Beacons Closet on 13th Street because it’s also a great excuse to go shopping, and I almost always find something there.”
—Jenny Walton, illustrator
“My favorite places to drop of clothes are Beacon’s Closet in Greenpoint and Buffalo Exchange in Queens. I have amassed a lot of clothes that I’m working on purging, so it’s instant cash on the spot, and you don’t have to deal with selling items slowly.
“I never leave, though, without having a general glance through any specific things that I’m looking for. Currently, that’s pretty summer tops, and I’m somehow obsessed with retro style sunglasses.”
— Karen Blanchard, founder of Where Did U Get That?
“At Ina, I would sometimes stop in to look at dresses, my go-to. Same for Vestiare, a cute designer dress that’s a great find is always worth digging for.”
— Natalie Joos, creator of JoosTricot and author of Tales of Endearment (and former New Yorker)
“Since I live in a tiny Williamsburg apartment, I try to do a purge every spring and fall. I tend to hoard clothes for sentimental reasons, even though I’ve literally never worn some items in close to a decade. In my most recent batch, I finally said goodbye to an A.P.C. green shirt dress circa 2006, a black Opening Ceremony pinafore circa 2008, and a black Hussein Chalayan silk dress circa 2005 (that never actually fit me).
“As a matter of convenience, I head toward my nearest consignment shop: Buffalo Exchange on Driggs Avenue. While I’m there, I’m pretty strict about not shopping, as I’m forever fighting a losing battle with my minuscule closet. But when I do want to rummage through vintage, I head to my favorite spot (also in Williamsburg, do you see a trend here?) called About Glamour. The tiny Japanese-owned shop has reasonably priced finds from the likes of Comme des Garçons, Junya Watanabe, and more, all in immaculate condition.”
— Diana Tsui, senior market editor at New York Magazine’s The Cut
“I usually find that Crossroads is the most effective in terms of ROI—I don’t often have a ton of luxury brands, but they’ll take mostly everything (even Zara!) so long as it’s on trend and in season. Plus, you get 50% of everything under $200, which is pretty decent! Outside of consignment, my friend Alyssa and I like to host a clothing sale with all proceeds benefitting Planned Parenthood. We use our social networks to announce and promote the sale. Then, after, we often drop off anything that didn’t sell at Bowery Mission, which is pretty painless.
“& Other Stories also gives you a small discount for trading in old clothes, which the store then donates to its recycling partners as raw material, so I’ve done that a couple times.
“And lastly, the first thing I dig through when dropping off my clothes is the denim. I absolutely hate stretch denim, so vintage/thrift stores are some of the best places for super-stiff vintage Levi’s or Wranglers. Sometimes I’ll head over to the men’s or kids’ section to search too because they’re often priced less than women’s jeans, especially in NYC. If I have the time, I’ll take a peek at blazers too; I love a more vintage, boxy silhouette with shoulder pads, and they’re everywhere now!”
— Lauren Caruso, managing editor of The Zoe Report
“When I clean out my closet, I usually have three phases:
“1) I have two sisters, so I always let them raid first.
“2) Send most of my designer/gently used clothing to TheRealReal, where I am definitely guilting of spending too much money.
“While I love a vintage shop and flea market, that’s usually a different trip—I’m usually in purge mode when I drop off clothes, trying to clear out my closet (and mind). I’m usually back to shopping a few weeks later.”
— Chloe King, digital director of The Webster
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Now that you’ve learned the ropes, go ahead and make some room in your closet.