April 20, 2014

Closet Cleanout: Top San Francisco Consignment Shops

Cece's Closet is a gem of a consignment option in Noe Valley.

The New Year is always a time that leaves me itching to root through my closet, hanger by hanger, to remove any space-hogging garments that I either can’t – or simply don’t – wear. And since having my son 16 months ago ushered in a very necessary wardrobe revamp, I have more clothes that deserve better homes than ever before. Had-it tossers go in the giveaway bag, but items in decent, great or brand new shape are ones I try to sell, trade or consign first.

San Francisco has a wealth of options for consigning new and used apparel and accessories for women, men and children that not only offer a way to bring in a little money on things you no longer need or use, but also are also great places to hunt down new clothes for less. Another reason to love consignment? You’ll often find apparel and accessories that are of-the-moment and in style, as many of the people who run consignment stores keep a close eye on what’s popular and take in items accordingly, but they won’t be what’s on the racks in every store right now – and that can make for a more interesting, unique wardrobe. Last but not least, buying secondhand is, plain and simple, a greener way to shop.

When you’re about to do your next closet clean out or want new wearables for less, consider these San Francisco consignment shops. With any luck, you’ll get more space at home, some cool new pieces and a little money out of your efforts. In most cases, you’ll need to contact the store for an appointment if you’d like to consign.

  • High-End, Designer Consignment

If you’ve got luxury brands that you’d like to unload, try these shops:

Sui Generis: Head to these twin Castro shops for men and women if you have items on hand by major designer labels that are in pristine condition. Rare vintage and couture are among the gems the stores’ buyers frequently manage to obtain from their roster of consignors. While Chanel, Versace, Prada and Oscar de la Renta grace the racks, you will also find lower-priced items from labels such as Banana Republic and Zara in the women’s shop and a solid selection of men’s denim, men’s sneakers, sunglasses and belts among the finds.

The Real Real: This online consignment site specializes in selling women’s apparel and accessories by high-end, designer brands in a flash-sale format that’s reminiscent of Gilt Groupe or Rue La La. If you’d like to consign items, you call them and speak to a styling consultant to start the process. They’ll determine what items are a match for their shoppers, and you can either ship them in for free or schedule a pick-up if you live in the Bay Area, Los Angeles or New York and have over 10 items. Another perk for consignors: the site offers 60 percent back on the sale price, compared to the usual 50 percent or less that many consignment shops offer.

Cris: This Russian hill shop has long been a go-to for those seeking to consign designer brand women’s apparel, as well as those looking for a good deal on labels such as Marc Jacobs, Prada and others. The setting is much more like that of a high-end boutique than a consignment, re-sale shop, and the owner – Cris – is known for being knowledgeable about brands, current pricing and fashion.

Simply Chic: High-end handbags are the focus at this Cow Hollow shop and online store. If you’ve got handbags (they specialize in Chanel and Louis Vuitton), women’s accessories or shoes by designer labels, this store will either allow you to consign them or will buy them outright. A consignor perk: your items will be listed for free in both the shop’s eBay site and its online boutique, as well as offered for sale in the store.

  • General Consignment

Not everyone has perfect-condition Prada hiding out in their closets. The shops below accept and sell a wide variety of brands, labels and apparel.

Cece’s Closet: This small shop in Noe Valley is a neighborhood gem of a consignment store. Run by Cece, the store never fails to turn up a great deal on something during my visits. She’s especially welcoming to new consignors and accepts both vintage and contemporary pieces in good condition in a variety of sizes.

Designer Consigner: Located on Sacramento in Laurel/Presidio Heights, this shop is known for frequently having upscale labels and great condition accessories brought in by the well-heeled folks who live in the surrounding neighborhood. Because of that, people from around the City head here to shop and that makes it a great place to bring your no-longer-needed apparel and accessories.

Good Byes: Another solid Laurel/Presidio Heights consignment shop, this one stands out for have a separate men’s shop that can make it a two-birds-one-stone option if you’re interested in consigning both men’s and women’s clothing and accessories. The shops also offer a 50-50 split, so consignors make the same amount that the store does on every sale.

Jane Consignment: Outer Richmond residents are known to head to this eclectic consignment shop to find both luxury and affordable labels in vintage, retro and contemporary styles. A consignor perk: in addition to women’s apparel and accessories, the shop takes small household items such as pottery and home accessories, allowing you to unload more items in one fell swoop.

  • Children’s Clothing, Accessories and Toys

The shops below are San Francisco consignment destinations for children’s clothing and gear.

Chloe’s Closet: Locations in the Inner Sunset and Bernal Heights regularly draw parents seeking to recycle their kid’s clothing, toys, shoes and gear. Both shops are great places to find gently worn children’s apparel and almost-new toys. A perk for busy parents: the shops accept consignment items seven days a week and without an appointment. That said, if you have large items or more than four bags of clothing to drop-off, they ask that you call ahead.

Peekaboutique: This Noe Valley children’s store sells new and used kids’ clothing, toys and gear, including many items from local labels and companies (something I’m a big fan of, obviously). Set buying times on different days throughout the week and most of the day on Saturday make this a convenient place for busy parents to sell. For shoppers, the tidy arrangement of items and kids’ toys to occupy little folks in tow make this a pleasant place to browse.

This list is focused on consignment shops I’ve personally visited, sold at, shopped in and written about for SF Indie Fashion and other media outlets. It’s by no means exhaustive, and there are plenty of additional places around town to sell and consign apparel and accessories. For straight selling, you’ll find Crossroads and Buffalo Exchange, as well as vintage shops such as Painted Bird, to be great spots. For a look at all the consignment options in town, a good place to start is checking out the consignment store listings on Yelp.

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In Pane Sight: Goodbyes

An ideal-for-Autumn trench stands out at Sacramento Street shop Goodbyes.

Colorful scarves and chunky knits on display at Goodbyes

In the window at Goodbyes: bright fall fashion pretty much perfect for year-round San Francisco weather is on display at this Laurel Heights consignment shop. The neighborhood is filled with top-tier boutiques, but wallet-conscious shoppers in search of quality clothing at discounted prices regularly head here for women’s and men’s attire.

Photography by Lindsay Harte

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