KUSA - Designer clothes are a luxury for most. Even on sale at retail stores - brand names can take a big bite out of your budget.
But there is a way to save a lot of money and still get the designer labels. You really don't have to buy new.
Consignment stores take your gently used clothes and sell them to someone else.
"If someone brings their garments into the shop - clean, pressed, on hangers - so that they're all ready to be tagged and put out on the floor. We look through them," Your Best Friend's Closet owner Elizabeth Reinig said. "[We] know [and] have a good instinct about what we can sell to our customer."
Consignment isn't the same as thrift shops or Good Will. They prescreen what they take from their consigners.
"I don't want to fill the shop with inventory that I can't sell," Reinig said.
The store pays the seller a percentage of what the item sells for.
If you know your luxury brands, you can get some deals. And the treasure hunt is one of the best parts of the experience.
A Dolce & Gabbana dress can retail for around $1000. I paid a little over $100 for one.
A pair of Theory pants retails for well over $100. I paid $33 and they looked brand new.
A Robert Rodriguez dress for $67! Compare that to $275. It still had the original tags.
I even found a pair of jeans on the $5 rack.
My total bill for 9 items came out to a little over $300. Retail would have been well over $1000.
But for some it's still hard to beat the convenience of retail.
"If you're looking for a different size, a different color -[and] if we don't have it handy for you - we can track it down for you," Nordstrom spokesperson Kelly Skahan said.
Many retailers also have good return policies. Some retailers, like Nordstrom, go out of their way.
"We can send it to you for free," Skahah said.
If you change your mind, Nordstrom offers free returns too.
There are several good consignment shops throughout the metro area.
And remember, you can also sell your gently worn clothing.
The stores' policies differ on how much of a percentage they will give you.
Wednesday night on 9NEWS I'll go head to head with 9NEWS consumer reporter Mark Koebrich in our next consumer debate: Consignment vs. Retail.
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