Thrift store vs. Consignment store

Thrift vs. Consignment -Thrifting Diva Let’s talk about the difference between thrift stores and consignment stores.  I shop at both thrift stores and consignment shops and find equally impressive items each and every time at both.  I honestly don’t have a favorite type of store, as I know that each offers its own unique fashion pieces that I can easily style.  But, let’s be honest.  There are some notable differences that you should know if you are not too familiar with the different types of stores.

Thrift vs. Consignment -Thrifting Diva In this outfit, I am rocking items from a consignment store, and two thrift stores.  Can you tell which piece is from which type of store?  I am sure you can’t and that is exactly the point.  Many people have some misconceptions of what items you can find at thrift or consignment stores and often don’t give either a chance.

Thrift vs. Consignment -Thrifting Diva So let’s talk about the differences between thrift and consignment stores.

Consignment Stores

  • Fashionistas bring in gently used items for evaluation, and the consignment store will determine if they likely to sell well from that particular shop.  If the items are deemed a good risk, the shop sells them on behalf of the original owner, takes a percentage of the sale price, and gives the remainder to the original owner.  Some consignment shops will take the items, price them, sell them, and then pay out the consignee’s portion. Some will pay up front.
  • The styles of clothing in a consignment store is typically much more current than what you would find in a thrift store.  Thus you can much more easily find the current trends at consignment stores.
  • You will also find a lot more higher end labels than you would typically find in a thrift store.
  • Items in consignment stores are typically in very good condition.
  • Expect the price points of the items at a consignment store to be much higher than most thrift stores.
  • The consignment store will more than likely be organized like that of a retail store, with items very organized and much more easier to shop.

Thrift vs. Consignment -Thrifting Diva Thrift vs. Consignment -Thrifting Diva Here, I am wearing this beautiful Lush lace skirt from My Sister’s Closet, one of my absolute favorite consignment stores here in San Diego.   At My Sister’s Closet you can easily find high end designers such as Louis Vuitton, St. John, Prada, Pucci, Chanel, Armani, Gucci, Hermes, and the list goes on and on.  I love this store particularly because their prices are definitely reasonable even when it’s a designer label.  For example, this Lush lace skirt carried by Nordstroms retails at $89.  I purchased it at My Sister’s Closet for $12.  Can you say SCORE!

Thrift vs. Consignment -Thrifting Diva Now, what about those thrift stores.  I am a huge fan of thrift stores and definitely find some of my best items in thrift stores such as Goodwill, Salvation Army, AMVETs and so many more.

Thrift Stores

  • Are ran by a Not For Profit organization to raise money to fund their charitable causes. These range from the large Salvation Army / Goodwill chains to individual school, church or hospital thrift shops.
  • Clothes in thrift stores are donated by the community and can range from any era or period or even style as thrift stores are not picky when it comes to in trend or not.
  • Thrift stores are not always neatly organized and you may have to do a lot of digging to find your gems.
  • The price points are much lower than those at a consignment or retail store.
  • You may find high end designer labels at a thrift store, but they are not in abundance like at a consignment store.  However, when you find those higher end pieces, you will definitely feel like you hit a jackpot due to the insane low price the thrift store has marked the item.

Thrift vs. Consignment -Thrifting Diva Thrift vs. Consignment -Thrifting Diva Here, my shoes and cobalt blue blouse are from thrift stores.  I found these animal print Nine West pumps at City Digz Thrift in San Diego, a thrift store affiliated with Father Joes Village, where proceeds from the thrift store benefit programs for homeless youth.  These gorgeous pumps set me back $8, but retails for $69.  This Express blouse came from Goodwill in Waldorf, Maryland and cost only $2.00 after a 25% military discount.

Thrift vs. Consignment -Thrifting Diva Completing this outfit is my new custom over sized Ghanaian straw bag from Chic Afrique.  I absolutely love the vibrant color in this bag and felt that it tied this outfit together so beautifully.

Have you checked out a thrift store or consignment store lately?  Can you add some differences between thrift and consignment stores that you have noticed yourself?

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  1. Wow! Your style is spot on. I envy your ability to put outfits together that you find on consignment and at thrift shops. My daughter loves when I take her thrifting. These tips will come in handy. Thanks!

  2. This outfit is fabulous. The shoes, the purse, the skirt…everything just goes so well together and you certainly do rock it!

    I will have to try and check out a few consignment shops in my area and see what they have. I know my sister shops at a few in her area and she gets some great finds. I have never shopped at any local thrift stores but have donated my own items yearly. I will definitely try to be more open both consignment and thrift stores in the future.

  3. Those were some excellent scores! I definitely could not tell what you had gotten where. That’s awesome. I shop consignment and thrift as well, but I generally have a lot more luck at the consignment stores. I don’t live in a big city, so there aren’t even a lot of these types of stores. I wrote a post a while back about the benefits of shopping second hand and an amusing near-death experience I had while at one if you want to check it out.

  4. I haven’t been in a consignment store but definitely plenty of thrift stores. I agree that you have to dig in a thrift store, which in turns kills my enthusiasm within 10 minutes of being inside. I need to do better because I know people that have found some pretty cool things.

  5. I just started becoming interested in consignment and I sent a bag to ThreadUp recently. I’ve also purchased a few items from their site as well.

    Now, I didn’t know about My Sister’s Closet and I’m in San Diego !! So I will definitely check it out 🙂

    Thanks for the tips !!


  6. Ok, I am in love with those shoes.

    I am going to have to make more time in my schedule to shop at my local thrift and consignment shops. I have picked up a few good finds here and there but clearly I need to invest more time. Usually I only shop because I just dropped off a donation.

    I am so glad you pointed out the military discount. I know many people do not realize that some of these shops offer one. I think it is just good practice to ask anytime you are checking out.

  7. I have to admit, my Mum and sister LOVE thrift stores, but I don’t get so excited- but I do love bargains!… I am okay for a little while but they can spend hours!! (I can spend HOURS shopping in department stores and my sister can’t.. go figure, complete opposites!) I love your outfit and that bag is just gorgeous! You look fab!

  8. Thank you so much for clarifying up what a consignment store is vs. a thrift store. I have tried to figure this out for years and was never intelligent enough to figure out the verbiage. I always use thrift stores to find interesting household items to upcycle.
    I will definitely be following so I can learn more about clothes and fashion as I am not too keen on the subject. Thanks!

  9. OH my goodness, I LOVE this post! First of all, the photos of you are fabulous! And secondly, I really enjoyed your break down of the differences between thrift stores and consignment shops. AND I’ve been wanting to visit San Diego so when I do, I’ll have to visit My Sister’s Closet! 🙂 Thanks so much…I’ll definitely be back by the site!

  10. That outfit is amazing and this post just gave me a great idea for a blog post (wow, I get distracted easily). I’m heading to the thrift store this weekend to see what I can find. In my former life (before moving to a rural city and adopting dogs) I lived in a cool town and the thrift stores were amazing. I wonder if they’re still around.

  11. I love the outfit. I haven’t been to a consignment store in a while. I love shopping at thrift stores. I typically find that if I go with something in mind, it’s easier to shop, instead of “something nice”. Your eye will catch something along the lines of something you like or need. Great points.

  12. Love, love, love your outfit! We always donate to Salvation Army, but I have quite a few very good expensive things, so maybe I should consider a trip to the consignment shop ….Thank you for this idea! Oh, and did I mention that I love your outfit? 🙂

  13. Fabulous outfit and you look great. I’ve never shopped in a consignment store, but you’ve really encouraged me. I live in New York City and I know there are some great ones to try. Thanks!

  14. I read you post and immediately went to your pinterest to follow you. Consignment and thrift stores are not to be feared. It is amazing what can be found. I personally give my clothes to both places.

  15. To me the difference is usually price. If I hit the thrift stores frequently I can get really good deals on name brand clothes. However, if I hit a consignment shop I can find great name brands for a decent deal. We only have one consignment shop locally and I haven’t been to it so I don’t know their prices. I’m not much of a name brand person or a fashionista.

    However, I am a huge thrift store girl. I’ve gotten so many name brand clothes for cheap there and even shoes that have barely been worn.

  16. Well, no matter where your clothes came from, you look like a million bucks! Love that skirt and your bag. But I can’t leave w/o saying something about those stairs in the first pic…those are awesome! I have never seen stairs like that. These pics are great and look totally like they belong in a magazine. Strut your stuff!!

  17. Wow, great post! I love your style! Isn’t it wonderful to pick up amazing deals on even amazing clothes?! I’ve been to both thrift & consignment shops, and it’s such a thrill finding affordable hidden treasures. Thank you for sharing!

  18. Your outfit is fabulous. I kinda knew the difference between the types of stores, but I love how you explained it. This makes me want to go shopping and find some of these stores around me. My mommy wardrobe needs updating.

  19. Loved your article!! I have been to thrift stores but never consignment stores. I should check one out!! I loved how you had real pictures of yourself and your outfits in your article… And I love those stairs that had the pattern on them!

  20. I did not know the difference between thrift and consignment shops. Good for you that you can put an amazing outfit together shopping thrift and consignment shops – I don’t think that is something I would be able to pull off. Love your photos!

  21. Firstly I want to say wow wow wow I love your blog, you have such a simple tasteful look and the images are brilliant. I am lover of fashion so anything with look well put together really inspires me. I also learned something new as I wasn’t aware of the difference in store types, so I am aiming to find out of in South Africa we cal them different names. I am also inspired to go look at these types of stores especially for amazing accessories to compliment my outfit. Will be following your blog from now on.

  22. This is outstanding! What a great idea for a blog as well as the article itself. You definitely show that you know what you’re talking about – both you and the outfit are gorgeous. I am definitely frugal with purchases and almost always buy my clothing in places like Marshall’s, TJ Maxx, Target & Old Navy but you’ve inspired me to check out the consignment stores. My kids have asked me to take them to the thrift stores several times for costumes or just out of curiosity, and they’ve bought things there but I never seem to find anything. Thank you for sharing – I’ll be checking back!

  23. We have only Goodwill in our town, but there are definitely bargains to be had! They often have brand new clothes with tags still on, from area retailers who donate what they don’t sell. I also found my son golf clubs there, to use in Special Olympics, for just $1 per club!!

  24. Love your style and your smile! In the area where I live in NC, thrift stores are often more drab and dated, due of course to financial constraints, where consignment shops are brighter and trendier. I agree that prices are higher in consignment shops and they have more current styles and designers. The owners/managers also tend to be MUCH pickier about what they’ll take, where thrift stores will take just about anything. Great post!

  25. I seem to sell clothes at consignment shops and buy clothes at thrift shops. The consignment stores near me are pricey. Sometimes I do better going to TJ Maxx.

  26. Thank you for explaining the difference between thrift stores & consignment stores. I know many people that don’t understand the difference between the two. I haven’t had much luck with finding quality pieces in my local thrift stores, but you are correct, when you do find the occasional gem it is a major score! I’ve had better luck with consignment stores personally.

  27. I don’t think I’ve been to a consignment shop. I have been to multiple thrift stores – some better than others. I have a friend who finds the deals at thrift stores. She finds deals all the time! I’m not sure if there are any consignment shops in my area currently. I had heard of one, not sure if it still exists. Thanks for the suggestion. I’ll be sure to ask around. ~Adrienne

  28. Hello I noticed your blog and your website I went on two and didn’t work out so well it was too expensive I’m doing very well on Poshmark that’s my main site a little bit on the card I was going to ask you for some advice on starting up a web page and a blog and could you be my mentor I am very impressed with your page and you have a great sense of fashion you can go on to Poshmark and@jessica Pacz then look at my items and if you could email me any advice please I would appreciate it I’m really lost as far as where to move from here I do very well on Poshmark as you can see you have a beautiful page and you are a very beautiful woman

  29. I’ve been thinking about shopping for some resale clothing, and I think that doing some reading first would be good. I’m glad you talked about how you can find some good looking clothing at resale shops like thrift stores. I’m going to have to do a little bit of reading, and see what I can find!

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