The new season is a good time to clean out your closet. If you have designer duds, consigning them for resale can help pay for new purchases. Or, buy somebody else’s gently worn designer clothing, shoes and accessories at one of New York City’s top consignment and reseale shops.
According to eBay, nearly half of Americans don’t have available space in which to stash the new stuff they get. That’s a number that could be even higher in NYC, where most of us don’t have garages or attics.
These resale and consignment shops pay the best, buy the most, have the best policies, and the best inventory for you to shop if you want to buy or trade instead of sell, as recommended by New York Magazine.
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Michael’s Consignment: This Upper East Side store only accepts the best of the best. Consigned merchandise must have a top designer label and not a second or third tier label—so for example, they take Donna Karan but not DKNY, Chloé but not SEE by Chloé, etc. Items must be in pristine condition, and no more than two years old (with the exception of Chanel, Hermes, and Pucci). You’ll receive 50% of the selling price, which is reduced approximately 20% every 30 days. After 90 days, the item gets discounted 50% off the original selling price. If you’re outside of New York, you can ship your stuff to them. 1041 Madison Avenue.
Crossroads Trading Co.: Rather than consignment, Crossroads Trading Co. is a buy-sell-trade store, which means when you bring your clothes in, you get cash (or a check) on the spot. No appointments are necessary, so just drop in. Weekdays offer the least amount of waiting time. The store buyers are friendly and quick, and if you’re in a rush, you can drop off your goods and return in 24 hours to collect your payment. Crossroads accepts both high-end or fast fashion, such as from H&M and Zara, but it has to be in good (clean) condition, stylish, and in season. If you decide to trade, you get credit worth 50% of what your items will sell for. The racks are plentiful but well organized, and you’ll find everything from Anna Sui, Elizabeth and James, and Free People to Badgley Mischka and Gap—and the occasional Miu Miu bag. 24 West 26th Street and 135 N. 7th Street.
INA: INA operates six locations throughout the city, three of which include men’s merchandise. Appointments can be made with store buyers, or you can choose to ship them your merchandise by filing out an Online Consignment Form (they reimburse your shipping costs on the first sales check). They accept merchandise from the last five years from a bevy of high-end and contemporary designers, and the new Union Square store is accepting such brands as Anthropologie, J.Crew, Banana Republic and Express.
Buffalo Exchange: Another buy-sell-trade outlet, and a go-to for college students and fashion folks. Among the endless racks of tweedy blazers, oversized flannels, soft tees with oddball slogans and chunky-knit sweaters, you can find Milly dresses, Marc by Marc Jacobs blouses, Vince tops, and Jeffrey Campbell shoes. The prices are almost too good to be true. No appointment is necessary to sell, but prepared to wait on a sizable line if you go on the weekend. The store recommends you call before going if it’s your first time, so they can give you an idea of what they’re looking for at the moment and save you some time. You’ll get 30% of what they plan to sell the item for, or 50% store credit. Various locations in Astoria, Williamsburg, Park Slope, the East Village and Chelsea.
Trunk Show Consignment: This Harlem shop’s inventory will remind you of an eclectic, fashion-forward site like Net-a-Porter. Labels range from timeless luxury lines like YSL to newer, more directional brands like Surface to Air, plus trend of-the-moment finds like those ubiquitous designer pun t-shirts. Note that Trunk Show operates on appointment only. The consignment options are especially appealing if your item is in excellent condition and is a desirable piece: the store may price it at just 25% or 30% off retail instead of their usual 50% off. And Trunk Show splits the price they sell it for with you 50/50. You can consign with them for one, two, or three months, with the price dropping 20% after one month and 50% after two. 275-277 West 113th Street.
Beacon’s Closet: One of the most well-known buy-sell-trade stores in New York, scouted by TV stylists, dug through by the fashion-conscious, and thoroughly searched by students and those on a budget. This means you’ll find some real gems since so many people make this their go-to for selling cast-offs, and you’ll also always find it crowded. Beacon’s buys everything from Topshop to Thakoon, so the racks can get overwhelmingly full. They see what’s selling at other fast fashion and high-end stores every season, so that determines how well you’ll do with your items that you hope to sell. Your items must be stylish, in good condition, and be something that’s selling well that season. If all those standards are met, you get 35% cash or 55% store credit. Various Street near Sixth Avenue; 135 North 7th Street near Bedford Avenue in locations in Williamsburg, Park Slope and Union Square.
Eleven: Don’t let the typo-ridden website fool you: this is a haven for the discerning label aficionado. The window display of Chanel bags and YSL shoes tells you what’s inside. The team is friendly and personable, making it the kind of place you can build a relationship with and take your items after every closet clean-out. Appointments to sell aren’t necessary but you can make one if you’d like a longer, more focused meeting with the buyer’s undivided attention. The unique aspect here is that you can choose between selling on the spot or consignment. Store credit is tempting, since there are Prada sandals to be had, but you can also decide to receive 10% of the item’s retail price on the spot, or consign it and get 50% of the price Eleven sells it for. 180 First Avenue.
The Dressing Room: A buy-sell-trade shop with a bar sounds too good to be true, but the Dressing Room has been making that dream come true for about six years. The ground floor of this Lower East Side store is stocked with finds from indie designers and features a full bar, while the lower level is a secondhand treasure trove, so you can really make an afternoon out of selling your items. Dressing Room operates on a walk-in basis everyday from 1pm to 9pm (they’re closed Mondays). They offer 30% cash and 50% store credit. Making them unique from other buy-sell-trades is that they accept vintage as well as contemporary items.75A Orchard Street.
Fisch for the Hip: A favorite of New York’s celebrity contingent, this isn’t the most affordable consignment shop, but might boast one of the best selections of dreamy designer finds. Chanel jackets and Gucci bags await, and the popularity of consigning there means the inventory is updated frequently. You can meet to consign with them by appointment at the store’s Goldinfisch location. According to the staff, they accept in-season designer merchandise in pristine condition, and you get 50% of the item’s selling price. 90 Seventh Avenue.
Cadillac’s Castle: This boutique ditches the secondhand vibe—everything is pretty recent and kept in pristine condition, so you feel like you’re shopping new. That’s good to keep in mind if you want to sell there (so make sure your items are in great shape). You can try out-of-season, as sometimes Cadillac’s caters to tourists. You’ll get 50% of what they sell your item for, and hopefully it will sell in the first month: after a month it will be marked down 20% off and after two months, it goes to 50% off. 333 9th Street.
Encore: Open since 1954 and boasting customers like Jackie O, this shop will make you feel like you’re participating in fashion history whether you shop or sell. The cream of the crop fills its two Madison Avenue floors: Encore sells only high-end designers such as Chanel, Prada, Hermes, and Oscar de la Renta, and rarely sells anything more than a few years old. You can bring in-season clothes, bags, shoes, accessories, and they will also buy menswear and childrenswear. The buyer will let you know what they plan on selling your items for, and you sign a contract for three months with the option of a fourth. You’ll get 50% of the selling price, but items less than $400 will get marked down 20% after a month, and items more than $400 will get marked down after two months. If you choose that fourth month, another 50% will come off the selling price. 1132 Madison Avenue.
Second Time Around: For more than 35 years ago, this mini-chain, with outposts throughout the USA, was a solid fixture of the secondhand scene, offering a curated inventory 30% to 50% off original prices, and sharing 40% to 50% with theoriginal owner. No more. Second Time Around closed abruptly in June 2017, citing “online competition”.
There also are charity resale shops, such as Housing Works and the Memorial Sloan-Kettering shop. But that’s a whole other list.
For a step-by-step guide on how to declutter your closet, see this New York Magazine article.
This article was published originally January 2017, and updated August 2017.