- Corvaya Jeffries Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
For warm-hearted shopaholics everywhere, holiday shopping season is our Super Bowl. Nothing excites us quite like being able to find the perfect, hand-picked gifts for our tribe — that is, our melting pot of friends, relatives, maybe even a few baes.
But shopping for people who have such different personalities and tastes isn't easy. It certainly isn’t a one-stop-on-Saturday outing. No. It's weeks of online searching. It's going in and out of retail stores. It's dropping hints to get clues for the perfect gift. It's personalizing items and sometimes even crafting them with our own hands.
And we know we are the real MVP when we gift bae with not just any fur robe, but one including his last name embroidered in gold. Because he’s a boss with a thing for luxury.
We're the real MVP when we stumble across a vintage satin Gucci scarf that has our BFFs name all over it. She’s our favorite unicorn. The one who makes sure she looks and feels like a million bucks on every occasion. The one who loves that we know her so well to gift her with something she’d treat herself to.
We're the real MVP when we find, fix and clean a beautiful bracelet for Mom because she’s a classy woman who loves and deserves the thought behind it.
Personal gift giving is fun for us. And to be successful at it, we have to know two things: how to love and how to shop.
Online shopping helps. You can google anything nowadays and someone somewhere is trying to sell it. Stopping by a few major retailers works at times, too. That is if you know exactly what you’re looking for and if what you're looking for is, no offense but, basic.
But most of us, myself included, are really sleeping on consignment boutiques.
These high fashion boutiques are for people who want exclusive, quality finds that have a history, that are attached to a memory. If you’ve scrolled this far down, then those “people” probably includes you.
Here are four reasons you should consider hitting up a few local consignment shops while holiday shopping this year.
1. Most pieces have a story
The stories you’re told or the ones you create make it easier for you to pinpoint which person in your life the item will be perfect for.
Like the suit above, for example. According to Claudette Cerro, the original owner of A Star’s Closet in Jupiter, a local woman owned the suit. But not just any woman. Based on the inseam and stitching (Cerro’s mother was a seamstress), she could tell it was made in the early-to-mid 80s.
“How daring of the owner to wear this in the 80s. It showed a little bit of her stomach, and it’s an egg turned high fashion,” Cerro said during an in-store chat.
I don’t know about you, but as soon as she painted the picture for me, I had a bombass diva friend pop into my mind.
2. You will save money
Sure, that secondhand designer silk scarf for Sis is $124, but in a retail store today, it would sell for $470. And is it even still sold in stores? Is it from a vintage collection? How many people will have one?
People love being the only one, having the only one.
It’s likely you’ll find deadstock designer pieces for a fraction of the retail cost at consignment boutiques. This is especially true at A Star’s Closet.
Claudette, who recently asked her sister Lynn Bouthillette to move from Pittsburgh to takeover the shop, taught her how to sort through garments and accessories. Together, they handpick every piece, size it and sometimes categorize racks by designer. We're talking Emilio Pucci, Dolce & Gabbana, Diane Von Festenburg, Tory Burch and Anthropologie.
I recently purchased a trendy, pastel striped Rachel Zoe pant set valued at $495 for $25. Crazy. Believe it, honey.
3. Trading is also huge.
Try putting up for consignment some items you don’t wear anymore. If they sell, you’ll get a check or cash — or even better, in-store credit. This is another real MVP move. It's a perfect way to not break the bank while shopping for the fashionistas in your tribe.
(Side note: Whatever the boutique doesn’t agree to sell can be donated, which the ladies at A Star’s Closet take care of for you.)
4. You want someone to be thinking about you
The sisters at A Star’s Closet are not in the business of sales. They say they are in the business of making people feel good.
“This store is not aggressive. If you don't like something, we say, well let's try something else. If you don't find anything, that’s okay. We will get more pieces and you may like one of those,” Cerro said.
Bouthillette, who you’ll likely see when you walk into the charming shop, keeps a little black book of her shoppers' names, contact information and brands they love. This is so she can call her shoppers when an item comes in they will love. It’s a gesture you'll rarely get in a major retailer and one the sisters are particularly proud of.
(And naturally, I took advantage. I told Lynn to keep me in mind when a Chanel comes in. Totally for me but back to the topic at hand: shopping for others.)
Consignment shops are not just for the fashion-crazed bloggers, rich girls and elder women, ya know?
If you can afford to shower your tribe this year, do so with gifts that suit their personality and style. Don’t go for the toiletry gift baskets, the tin box of cookies or the Visa gift cards. You’d be surprised how much fun you’ll have walking through a carefully-curated consignment boutique.
Go in with an open mind. Interact with the owner or the employees. Tell them what your friends are like, what they’d love and what you’re hoping to find. Your holiday shopping experience doesn't have to be a solo show this year. There are fashionistas all over Palm Beach County willing to help.
A couple of my favorite consignment boutiques around town: