Here is another illustration of why I always try to avoid paying retail for my wardrobe non-essentials. Take this Nanette Lepore “Provence” dress. It’s made of merino wool – perfect for breaking the “pants rut” during the colder months – and it’s got a cute French gamine look.

Did I need this dress? No. Did I really, really like it? Yes. Did I like it enough to pay the online retail price of US$215? No. [Besides, the dress is now sold out.] eBay offered an alternative, but at $160, it would still have been too much for what is, essentially, a bit of an impulse buy.

Lucky, then, that I first saw (and fell for) this dress at my local consignment store for the much more affordable price of $39. No heartbreak here!
Although I am a die-hard advocate of consignment shopping, I will add this caveat. It’s perfect for those occasions when you either have a looong list of must-buys or none at all. That way, you will most assuredly find satisfaction among the racks. However, if you are looking for something very specific (and very of-the-moment) and you simply can’t wait, you’re better off looking at other options for non-retail shopping – from eBay, to online “clubs” like Gilt or ideeli, to personal shoppers. You might not get the same level of insane deals, but you will still have the satisfaction of being au courant for less than full retail. On the other hand, patience can have its own rewards; make sure to make friends with the staff at your favourite consignment store and they will be happy to keep an eye for your favourite brands and give you a call when something amazing comes in. Who knows when luck will strike?

Stay tuned next Thursday, when BCRL will welcome our very first guest blogger, who will be writing about the delights of online shopping.

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