Pradas for Pennies? Great Bargains at the County's Consignment Shops

Adopt others' Armanis and antiques, and pick up some gently pre-owned Pucci and porcelain for way less than their original price.


Published:

Shop Like Royalty

                   

Yes, you can buy a Judith Leiber baguette for only $225! The secret?

Consignment shops.

 

By Deborah A. Wilburn  

Photography by John O’Donnell

 

Have you ever lusted for a new Gucci handbag, only to be stopped by the four-figure price tag? If so, you are shopping in the wrong places. I scoured the county for Westchester’s best consignment shops, just so you can have your Gucci and eat, too. And if you’re a little confused about exactly what a consignment store is, allow me to call in the experts from the National Association of Resale & Thrift Shops to explain. A thrift must be run by a nonprofit organization to raise money for a charitable cause (think Salvation Army), accepting mostly donated merchandise, the condition of which can range from excellent to you-must-be-kidding. Consignment shops are for-profit and only accept consigned merchandise, which means they pay the owner a percentage of the sale price—usually between 40 and 60 percent—once it is sold. The most reputable consignment shops only accept merchandise that is in perfect condition.

 

If you’ve never set foot in a consignment store, you truly don’t know what you’re missing. From Prada and Armani to Dolce & Gabbana and Roberto Cavelli, these places have more Italians than a Roman espresso bar at high noon. And the prices can’t be beat. As my best shopping pal, consignment store veteran Paulette Cooper of Rye and Palm Beach, the one who scored the Judith Leiber bag (retail: $2,200), says, “If I’m going to spend $100, I’d better look like a million.” Enough said. Let the shopping begin! Here, in alphabetical order, are the best consignment stores Westchester and the surrounding areas have to offer.

 

Accents on Antiques

125 Wolfs Lane, Pelham

(914) 637-1195; www.ssmc.org

Hours: Mon., Fri., and Sat. 10 am to 5 pm.

Tues. through Thurs. 10 am

to 7:30 pm.

Years in business: 12

Celeb drop-off: No

Claim to fame: Upscale antiques and collectibles

 

Want to find a bargain and do good? Head to Accents on Antiques, where you’re apt to find something special for your home with the added bonus that your purchase will benefit the Sound Shore Medical Center (Accents is a hybrid thrift and consignment shop). Staffed entirely by volunteers, this 4,800-square-foot retail shop offers a fresh mix of consigned, donated, and dealer merchandise. Here you’ll find attractively displayed sofas, dining room sets, chairs, and tables and lamps, as well as sterling silver, Depression-era glass, high-end crystal (think Waterford), and china. A few recent finds: an antique, reupholstered sofa ($875) with matching chair ($325), an antique side table for $175, and unframed engravings of European scenes dating from the early 1800s for a mere $25 apiece.

 

Affordables

10 Main St., Dobbs Ferry

(914) 693-3610;

www.affordablechild.com

Hours: Mon. through Sat. 10 am to 5 pm.; Thurs. 10 am to 6 pm. Closed Mon. in July and August.

Years in business: 25

Claim to fame: High-quality children’s clothing

Celeb drop-off: No

Private dressing room: Yes

Sizes: Newborn to 14

 

If your mother doesn’t like the idea of your dressing the kids in clothes from a consignment shop, she’s not likely to know (unless you tell her!) that that adorable size-2 Burberry kilt came from Affordables and cost only $16. This one-of-a-kind shop is crammed, not only with kids’ clothes but with games, books, and baby equipment, such as an Instep Elite jogger with 16-inch wheels for $80. And don’t worry that the kids will look scruffy: everything must be in excellent condition before it’s accepted by the shop. There is no bargaining on the already reasonable prices, but the store does have an automatic mark-down policy that is reflected on the tags. If you’re looking for something specific, such as a boy’s suit in size 8, feel free to call ahead and the friendly staff will take a look before you schlep. Get on the mailing list for the newsletter with coupons and notification of end-of-season sales, when everything costs a buck. It’s worth noting that this is literally the only consignment shop dedicated to kids’ clothes and furnishings in Westchester.

 

Consigned Couture

134 E. Putnam Ave.

Greenwich, CT

(203) 869-7795

Hours: Mon. to Sat. 10 am to 5 pm

Years in business: 1

Celeb drop off: Communal dressing room only

Claim to fame: Designer men’s and women’s clothing and accessories, including a wide selection of furs and shearlings.

Private dressing room: Yes

Sizes: 0 to 16

 

A ladies’ room! Yes, that is one unique—and welcome—feature of this new kid on the consignment block. However, the clothes are arranged by style, then size, which is a little annoying. Still, if you’re doing a tour of the Greenwich stores—and why not?—Consigned Couture is worth a stop. My shopping buddy confided that this store has the “largest collection of shoes around.” The usual Italian suspects, including Prada and Gucci, as well as other designers, are here. Recent finds included a like-new vintage Hermès peach linen skirt for $250 and a long, sheared size-14 mink coat for $2,500. Owner Dolly Ledingham-Savage also consigns vintage clothing and 14k and 18k jewelry.

 

Dejà Vu

107 N. Broadway, Tarrytown, NY

(914) 366-4657

64 Main St., Irvington, NY

(914) 591-1300

Hours: Mon. to Wed., Fri. and Sat.—11 am to 6 pm; Thurs.—11 am to 7 pm; Sun.—12 pm to 5 pm. (Check for ex-

tended summer hours.)

Years in business: Since February, 2005

Celeb drop-off: No

Claim to fame: Women’s designer clothing and accessories

Private dressing room: Yes

Sizes: 0 to 26W

 

Owner and self-avowed fashionista Regina Murray, A former social-work director, says she opened her two shops because she is “passionate about fashion and wanted to offer women the opportunity to purchase designer items at drastically reduced prices.” And does she ever! How about a new pair of Manolo’s (retail: $485) for $160? Or a fabulous chocolate-brown cashmere Prada frock for $320 (retail: $2,250)? The two shops are small, but the selection, with every major designer represented, is impressive. Murray also offers in-home consinging. Clothing styles vary from casual and formal to vintage, and some of the merchandise is brand new, arriving from the shopping bags of wealthy women who just never got around to wearing that $500 cashmere sweater. Go for it, baby.

 

Double Exposure

1090 Post Rd., Darien, CT

(203) 655-8799

Hours: Mon. to Sat.—10 am to 5 pm; Sun.—12 pm to 4 pm.

Years in business: 7 with the current owners; 23 years total.

Celeb drop-off: Yes, though we can’t name the famous soap-opera star or Met opera singer who unloads goodies here.

Claim to fame: Women’s clothing, accessories, and gift items at a wide range of prices in a warm and friendly atmosphere.

Private dressing rooms: Yes

Sizes: 2 to 20

 

There is something wonderfully different about Double Exposure, and it’s all about the vibe set by owner Mern Palmer-Smith. Women love checking out the shop, in part because, from the fab Baby-Boomer tunes emanating from the stereo system (when’s the last time you played your Leonard Cohen?) to the cheerful chirp of Mern’s pet birds, it’s just plain fun. And the shopping’s not bad, either. Mern offers a mix of affordable and designer merchandise. “I like a broader palette,” she explains. “It makes it more interesting for me and the customers.” My shopping partner, who turned me on to Double Exposure, scored a long-sleeved, velour Burberry top with its distinctive plaid design for $58. Also to be had was a pair of size-6 1/2 wool pumps with grosgrain bows, in perfect condition, for $36. Add $100 to that and you could get the same thing at J.Crew. A Fendi gray wool jacket with black embroidery accents, size medium, was only $64. Mern, a former model and social worker, continues to do good: besides offering great clothes at terrific prices, she holds fundraisers for, and donates clothing to, Dress for Success.

 

Elegance II

75 S. Greeley Ave., Chappaqua

(914) 238-3341

Hours: Tues. to Sat.—10 am to 5 pm (11 am to 4 pm in the summer).

Years in business: 6

Celeb drop off? Yes

Claim to fame: Fabulous handbags

Private dressing room: Yes

Sizes: 2 to 12

 

It’s all about the designer bags at Elegance II. These must-haves for the status-conscious come and go quickly, and it’s little wonder why. The day I visited, you could have snagged a brand-new Gucci cloth logo bag from the 2005 collection with leather accents and a bamboo handle with the Neiman’s price tag still on it ($790) for $474. Owner Babette Saotto takes 50 percent off the retail price. When we last checked in with her, she was nearly having heart palpitations: someone brought in a leather Hermès Birkin bag to consign. (You would swoon, too, at this catch; try to buy one new and, not only will you pay considerably more than the $7,135 Babette sold it for, you’ll be put on a four-year waiting list.) This small, elegant shop also stocks lots of great clothes, both new and consigned—little tops, cashmere sweaters, shoes, suits by Chanel, Max Mara, and Jean-Paul Gautier. A classic Escada cotton suit, size 8, could be had for $375. Buy it new and the blazer alone would be $1,000. The skirt, with the tag still on it, was $450. Things really heat up in the fall when the Maxmillian furs (only mink) start marching in, with prices that range from $450 to $2,500. People tend not to own up to their consignment finds, preferring to keep the natives guessing about how much they spend to look fabulous. One expensive-looking blonde of a certain age who had just bought a new cashmere sweater ($78) refused to give her name, but allowed that “it’s just fun shopping here, especially if I see something I like at a better price.”

 

On Consignment

117 Pondfield Rd., Bronxville

(914) 337-6668

 

Consign It

115 Mason St., Greenwich, CT

(203) 869-9836; www.consignitinc.com

Hours: Mon. through Sat.—10 am to 5 pm (both stores)

Years in business: 28

Celeb drop-off: Yes

Claim to fame: Antiques, good reproduction furniture, and home accessories.

 

Let’s not mince words: this is the place to go for Chippendale, Hepplewhite, and Sheridan-style furniture, or very good high country-French antique and pine pieces. Also, sterling silver (trust me, you don’t know who that picture frame belonged to), and framed oil paintings, botanicals, and upper-end prints. Not to be overlooked are the chandeliers, carpets, oriental lamps, bronzes, and porcelain figurines from Dresden and Tiffany. Owner Randi Conway makes it look easy, but after years in the business, she knows quality, recognizes authenticity, and understands fair pricing. Recent buys: a selection of mahogany double pedestal dining room tables (from $650 to $6,500), a library desk with leather top ($850), and an 18th-century French carved armoire ($3,500). With more than 12,000 consignors between both stores, there is constant turnover so, if you see something you like, it’s best to grab it. Most prices go down by 10 percent every 30 days for the first two months, if they last that long. If you still think consignment shopping is beneath you, would it help to know that Diana Ross and Martha Stewart are buying customers in the Greenwich store? Check out the website to sign up for the store’s mailing list and to learn about upcoming estate sales.

 

One More Time

410 Mamaroneck Ave., Mamaroneck

(914) 698-8775

Hours: Tues., Thurs. to Sat.—11 am to 5:45 pm; Wed—11 am to 5 pm.

Years in business: 10

Celeb drop-off: Yes, “a couple of

soap-opera stars.”

Claim to fame: Designer samples and

close-outs

Private dressing room: Yes

Sizes: Women’s 0 to 2X

 

One More Time is small, but it packs a big punch with loads of brand-new, private label close-outs. What does that mean, exactly? Pay attention, class: you know that dress or jacket or pair of jeans you might buy at Neiman’s or Nordstrom sporting the store’s very own label? Well, sometimes if there is inventory to unload, the manufacturer drops them off right here with owner Judy Serra, who prices the merchandise at 25 to 75 percent off retail. In fact, Serra says that she’s shifted away from consigned pieces so that 90 percent of the women’s clothing she now sells is new. On a recent visit, you could have snagged a Barneys, size-10P cotton striped jacket and jeans ensemble for—are you ready for this?—$21. I couldn’t make this up! A pretty, size-2 silk floral halter dress with a flouncy hem was $79. The store also has a nice selection of costume jewelry and accessories, including scarves and Chanel eyewear. Get on the mailing list to find out about vendor parties and special sales.

 

Penny Pincher

184 Rte. 117, Bypass Rd. at the Harris Road Shopping Plaza, Bedford Hills

(914) 241-2134

Hours: Mon. to Wed.—10 am to 6 pm. Thurs.—10 am to 7 pm. Sun.—12 pm to 5 pm (Closed Sun. in August).

Years in business: 17

Celeb drop off? Yes, but if only they would say who pre-owned the Valentino evening bag ($390).

Claim to fame: “A little Neiman Marcus” with designer clothing and accessories, home furnishings, and jewelry.

Private dressing room: Yes

Sizes: Women’s 2 to 16, plus children’s clothing from infant to size 8, and specialty and formalwear in sizes 2 to 14.

 

This 4,000-square-foot shop, which owner Melinda Arkin says is one of the largest in Westchester, recently doubled in size after moving into its new digs, featuring tile floors and a 30-foot ceiling. From antiques to designer home furnishings, including crystal, china, lamps, framed prints, rugs, and mirrors, it’s worth stopping in to see what you might find to fill that empty wall or lonely corner that’s begging for an occasional chair. Designers, including Armani, Gucci, and Prada, are well-represented as well. Chanel bags come and go fast, and the store gets a lot of Manolos. It’s also possible to occasionally find the Holy Grail of consignment shopping: Hermès. Or how about a never-used Louis Vuitton bag (retail: $1,750) for $1,250? Still, Arkin sensibly acknowledges that we can’t all wear Chanel every day, so she includes bridge clothing from the likes of 7 for All Mankind and Juicy Couture. You may not be able to bargain on price, but there’s always a sale (be sure to ask which color ticket indicates an additional discount). And don’t forget

to get on the mailing list for word on storewide sales.

 

Roundabout

2 Chase Rd., Scarsdale

(914) 472-4580

Hours: Mon. through Sat.—10 am to 5 pm.

(Additional locations in Greenwich, Darien, and Westport, CT.) In the fall, the Connecticut stores are open Sun—12 pm to 5 pm.

Years in business: 17

Celeb drop off? Yes.

Claim to fame: Women’s clothing, handbags, and shoes.

Private dressing room: Group only

Sizes: Mostly 2-10; some 12 and 14, and a small section of children’s clothing in the Connecticut stores.

 

If the sign outside didn’t say “consignments,” you wouldn’t know that this local chain of beautifully appointed stores is offering anything at a discount. And boy, are they. At the front of the store you’ll find close-outs—brand-new merchandise that owner Laurie Perren picks up from boutiques and showrooms across the country. And no one store gets all the booty. Perren explains that when, for example, a shipment of Dolce & Gabbana arrives, one quarter goes to each store. On a recent visit, you could have picked up a stylish black Cynthia Steffe cropped jacket for $119 (retails for $309), or, just for fun, an adorable mandarin-collared silk print jacket with faux fur for $85. If you must have couture, head back to the consigned area and you’ll find mint-condition Stella McCartney, Celine, and Chloé, to name a few. A size-6 Guiliana Teso shearling coat (retail: $3,600) could be had for $895, enough to keep the chill off without freezing your bank account. If that’s not enough, each store has an entire rack of consigned Chanel suits. A size 4 from the 2002 collection was $895 (head to Neiman’s and you won’t be able to touch a Chanel blazer for less than $4,000). A perfect pair of size-5 Gucci leather boots with oh-so-pointy toes and 3-inch heels were on display in the window for $345; I briefly considered binding my toes to get my size-7 1/2 feet into them.

 

Suburban Renewal

1 Main St., Hastings-on-Hudson

(914) 478-9421

Hours: Tues. to Sat.—10:30 am to 6 pm and             by appointment

Years in business: 4

Celeb drop-off: No

Claim to fame: Quality home furnishings, antiques, and collectibles without the    

high-end prices.

 

 

What To Read Next

 
Edit Module