I've said it before and I'll say it again- a second hand shop is only as good as the neighborhood it's in. It seems like common sense, and yet every now and then you'll find an incredible one-of-a-kind item at the most out-of-the-way, rinky-dink little shops and realize that there truly is an exception for every rule. But until that unbelievable, rare opportunity presents itself, you can follow this rule: the better the neighborhood, the better the goods. Want high-end, designer stuff cheap? Then head on down to Newbury Street in Boston and shop at any of the half dozen high-end consignment shops there. Just a few doors down from any of the designer store fronts (Betsey Johnson, Aldo, Neiman Marcus, etc.), you can find gently worn pieces that were probably purchased in those designer stores!
Start at The Closet. This shop has just about as many Manolo's as Carrie Bradshaw's closet. Too bad for me, none of them were my size. Chanel, Gucci, Prada- they were all there, waiting to be purchased by their next loving owner. I left with a black cashmere cardigan that I scored for $33! It is in excellent shape and aside from a bit of residual perfume that I need to get out, it's basically brand new. It is going to be an excellent basic item to have in my closet for years to come. (P.S. When buying second hand knits, especially wools, hold the garment up to the light to look for signs of moth damage. Moths don't always leave a hole, sometimes they nibble only halfway through the garment, leaving a much lighter spot that shows up in the light, but doesn't necessarily show a hole.)
After you hit up The Closet, move along to one of the THREE separate storefronts of Second Time Around located along Newbury Street. I purchased something from two out of the three shops and I'm pretty sure my mom bought something at the third one. I scored a fabulous wiggle dress for $12.50 that I can't wait to wear. It is SO Joan Holloway, you won't even be able to stand it! I just may have to dye my hair red and wear my pen on a chain around my neck all day. At the second shop, I struck gold, scoring two fabulous skirts and a super cool flower necklace all for just $51! In total, I spent less than $100 and got two skirts, a dress, a cashmere sweater and a necklace. Not a bad haul, right?
The only shop I where I didn't purchase anything was called Rescue. I loved how hipster-esque the vibe felt in that shop, but unfortunately, there wasn't anything for me on the racks that day. Ah, well. Maybe next time.
Have you ever shopped on Newbury Street in Boston? It's really fun because of the fabulous mix of high-end and second hand, and even some moderate stores mixed in. In the summer be sure to stop at JP Licks for some delicious ice cream and in the winter you can warm up at any of the adorable bistros that dot the street between all the boutiques. After our long day of shopping, my mom and I had a nice, relaxing dinner at the Top of the Hub. Haven't been there? Go immediately. Delicious food and you just can't beat the view. The scallops were great.
If you live in the Boston area and you would like me to review a second hand store for you, please let me know! Let me know what you are looking for, what you like/dislike about consignment shopping, etc. In the meantime, have a Happy New Year!