Answering All Your Questions About Consignment Shopping

Everything You Want to Know About Consignment Shopping

Consignment is a different way of shopping than many women are used to, but it’s becoming increasingly popular, particularly with the increasing movement towards more sustainable fashion. Maybe you’re curious about shopping consignment clothes but not sure where to start, or maybe you’re interested in selling your preloved clothes to a consignment store but have some questions. So, today, we’re answering all your questions about buying and selling consignment!

Since 2007, Current Boutique has been bringing quality consignment to women across the U.S. Our goal is to provide a fun, inviting environment that allows our customers and consignors to truly love their experience. We want to make you feel comfortable about the consignment process from start to finish. So, let’s start answering the questions that might be on your mind.

What is “consignment”?

Consignment refers to a business model that focuses on recycling merchandise through the buying and selling of used clothes or goods. This is when a business, like Current Boutique, pays sellers for their used merchandise, like your preloved designer clothes. Then, customers can purchase that merchandise through the consignment shop. This keeps products in circulation rather than manufacturing new materials and creating additional waste.

Common items that can be purchased on consignment are clothes, shoes, accessories, furniture, antiques, toys, musical instruments, athletic gear, home items, and more. Most high-quality consignment stores will specialize in a type of merchandise, like Current Boutique specializes in designer clothes and accessories.

How is a consignment shop different from a thrift store?  

The consignment concept is similar to that of a thrift store, but there are some key differences. Most thrift stores are not-for-profit, accepting clothing donations. You donate your goods and then receive a receipt for your donation that can be used for personal tax deductions. Often, those donated clothes are then immediately sent to the sales floor of the thrift shop without considering the condition of the item.

Consignment stores are typically for-profit shops that pay individual clothing sellers for the merchandise. They will also often only accept and resell those items they believe their target audience would want, so often the condition of these items is higher quality than those in thrift stores. These stores then often wash, sanitize, and revitalize the clothes before they hit the shelves.

Learn more about the difference between a thrift shop and a consignment store here.

Buying from a consignment store

What are the benefits of buying clothes from a consignment store?

  • You can find high-quality designer items at a fraction of their original ticket price, sometimes up to 70 or even 90% off!

  • Searching consignment racks is like a treasure hunt. No two racks or pieces are alike, and that makes the “find” of your new favorite piece even more exciting and fun!

  • You can discover genuine vintage and designer pieces that are guaranteed authentic.

  • Consignment shopping helps you unlock your unique style, rather than having to conform to what big box stores tell you your style is.

  • You can find more timeless pieces and cyclical trendy pieces, rather than ultra-trending pieces like in fast fashion stores.

  • Designer pieces are made with fit and finish in mind, so you’ll instantly elevate your wardrobe and

  • Buying and selling secondhand items is more sustainable than fast fashion because you’re contributing to cyclical fashion and redirecting textiles away from landfills. Learn more about sustainable fashion and consignment stores here.

  • You’re supporting the community. Most consignment stores are run by entrepreneurs, charities, and small business owners, so you’re helping make their dream come true with every purchase!

Check out these 10 smart reasons to shop secondhand to learn more about the benefits of buying clothes from a consignment store.

Are clothes from consignment stores sanitary?

Absolutely! Most consignment stores, like Current Boutique, will only accept those items that are in great condition. We also clean and sanitize all our merchandise before it hits the racks, so you can step into a fresh, clean item without worry. 

How do I know if a piece I’m buying on consignment is authentic?

The best consigners like Current Boutique offer an authenticity promise. This guarantees that the item is from a specific designer, the material is of a certain quality, the gems are authentic, and more. At Current Boutique, we train our buyers to be experts in quality and condition. Our authenticity promise states that every item we sell is guaranteed authentic or you get your money back.

Feel even more confident shopping on consignment by learning how to buy quality clothing like an expert designer.

How do I know if I’m getting a good deal on consignment?

Everything on consignment is a percentage of the original price because that item has been used and purchased before. So, you can feel confident you’re getting the best price for the item! If you want to make a comparison, you can try to look up the original price tag of that item on Google or you can compare that item with other comparable items on the designers’ website. 

When you’re shopping on consignment, you can almost always be certain you’re getting a great deal!

How can I find clothes I’ll like from a consignment store?

Consignment shopping is like treasure hunting. Some days you’ll come home filled with bags and bags of gorgeous goodies that speak to your soul, and other days you might come home empty-handed. For so many women, it’s this “hunt” that’s such an addicting and fun addition to the consignment experience!

If you want more assistance finding clothes that you’ll like, ask an in-store associate for help. Tell them what your style is, your size, and a general sense of what you might be looking for. They’ll have a good idea of the hottest pieces that might suit your style!

When shopping online, try browsing by size, brand, or designer. A lot of our customers also love shopping the Trends section on our site to find pieces that are both timeless and trendy… and that match their unique vibe!

How do I style new purchases?

We get this question a lot in store: how should I wear my new clothes from a consignment store? It can sometimes be a challenge to figure out how to style your new goodies because they’re unique pieces that may not be styled on a mannequin or in a magazine. Here are some of my favorite ways to figure out how to style pieces from my wardrobe, whether they’re new or I’ve had them for years:

  • Browse social media and follow fashion bloggers who have a similar style to you.
  • Keep up with the Current Boutique blog, Craving Current. We are always putting out articles with upcoming trends, style pieces, and outfit inspo.
  • Use Pinterest. Pick a clothing piece, like a white tee, and type in “white tee outfit ideas” into Pinterest’s search bar and see hundreds of ways to play around with it!
  • Have a fashion show with your girlfriends. This is a fun excuse to get together with your friends and see your wardrobe through new eyes.
  • Notice what other women are wearing. When you see an outfit you like, take notes and try it out yourself when you get home!

How can I find a consignment store near me?

The easiest way to find a consignment store near you is to Google “consignment store in (your town here)”. Consignment stores are becoming more and more popular, so you’ll likely find one in your area. If not, lots of consignment stores like Current Boutique have moved online too, so you have access to gorgeous preloved goodies from across the country!

Are you in the Virginia/DC area? Swing by and see us at one of our Current Boutique locations! We’d love to have you. Or, shop our online selection to unlock hidden fashion gems, no matter where you live!

Can I return items to a consignment store?

Rules for returns vary based on the consignment store and what you are purchasing. At Current Boutique, we accept returns on our website because we want you to have the option to buy clothes online without worrying about size and fit. You deserve to love every single piece of clothing in your closet! See our returns policy here. All sales are final for in-store purchases. 

Selling to a consignment store

What are the benefits of selling to a consignment store?

Selling your clothes is great for the environment, for society, and for your closet and wallet! When you sell your clothes, you’re not just getting money back on your investment (cha-ching!), but you’re also preventing those products from ending up in landfills and further damaging the environment. You’re also allowing other women to enjoy your pre-loved goods, keeping quality goods in circulation while providing others the potential to have their dream wardrobe at a lower cost. Oh, and did we mention you’re getting paid for your clothes?

Check out the one and only guide you need for selling your used clothes online to learn more benefits and tricks of the trade for selling on consignment.

Do consignment shops pay cash upfront?

It depends on the store. Some consignment shops will pay you a cash lump sum upfront for your pieces. However, this usually is a much lower payout, because the store is assuming the risk of purchasing merchandise without the certainty it will sell. Other consignment shops will pay you a percentage of the profit for your goods after they are sold. Although you have to wait to get paid, you’ll generally get a larger percentage than if you were to accept cash upfront.

A lot of consignment stores will offer you either cash/check or store credit. You may receive a slightly larger payout if you take store credit instead of cash, but that depends on the consignor.

Read: 7 Easy Tips to Sell Used Clothes Online

What is a fair consignment percentage?  

Different consignment shops will offer different payout percentages. A reasonable consignment percentage (the amount the seller receives of the final sale price) is about 30 to 60%. You’ll find most fashion consignment stores will pay around the 30% mark for items under $200.

Current Boutique is unique in that we always split the selling price 50-50 for all items sold. A consistent 50% commission to the seller is rare in the consignment world, but we want to build a community of fashionistas who love buying and selling with Current Boutique!

What kinds of clothing pieces do consignment stores accept?

Some consignment stores will accept any and all items, while others are looking solely for on-trend pieces or designer items. Some will accept everything from apparel and accessories to toys and furniture, while others specialize in certain items like high-end handbags for example.

So, if you’re looking to sell a Chanel purse, you might want to go to a specialized consigner who focuses on selling designer bags. Compared to a “general store” consigner, one that specializes in designer bags and clothes will know how to effectively price, sell, and handle your bag.

At Current Boutique, our inventory is highly curated, and we focus particularly on branded, designer clothing, accessories, and shoes. We consider the quality, fabric, style, and condition of each item. We ensure all our items (especially our jewelry pieces) are authentic, and our buyers are experts at detecting imperfections. While we don’t automatically say no to synthetic materials, we particularly like selling sustainable and natural materials like cotton, linen, silk, cashmere, and wool. We believe our customers deserve the best, so we tend to be more selective with the pieces we put on our shelves.

What items don’t consignment stores accept?

Most consignment stores will not accept:

  • Undergarments, socks, or bathing suits
  • Damaged, ripped, torn, or dirty items
  • Fast fashion pieces that are low-quality or ultra-trendy
  • Knock-off designer pieces

Each store will have its own guidelines and rules, so make sure you check the consignor’s selling agreement to see what items they accept and which they will get rid of or donate if you send them in.

Have clothes that a consignment store won’t take? Check out more options for recycling your fashion here.

Which clothing brands make the most money on consignment?

Designers and well-known brands tend to make the most money when reselling on consignment. Some of the most popular brands we sell include Kate Spade, Rebecca Minkoff, Tory Burch, and Marc Jacobs. That’s because these designers are high-end, but they’re also accessible to the fashionista who wants to look and feel good in her clothes.

Here are some resources to help you figure out which brands resell the best:

How can I get started selling my clothes?

Sell your pre-loved pieces with Current Boutique or check out one of these 5 best websites to sell designer clothes online. At Current Boutique, our competitive commission means you earn more while also doing good for the environment and your community! We also make it easy to sell. You can either drop your pieces off in-storm, send in a bag of your clothes with a prepaid shipping label, or request a pickup if you have at least 50 high-end items. Learn more about selling with Current Boutique here!

Next read… 11 Things You Probably Don’t Know About Consignment Stores.

Have more questions about buying and selling with consignment stores? Contact us and we’ll be happy to answer any questions you have!

Carmen Lopez, President & CEO


Hello Fashion Lovers! I've been in the fashion industry for over 15 years. I started Current Boutique with the desire to recycle amazing pre-loved designer gems for others to enjoy! I value quality, unique craftsmanship, sustainability & saving money. I am a fashion lover who is energized by the challenges and rewards of being an entrepreneur. I'm here to share tips on fashion, style, bargain shopping and business. I hope you enjoy!
XOXO, Carmen