Dressed to the nines. Drop-dead gorgeous. The bee’s knees. We’ve all heard these compliments paid to a woman who is undeniably fashion-savvy.

To appear that stylish, her closet must come with a hefty price tag, right? Wrong!

In this edition of Style File, we took to local resale racks and interviewed three McKinney residents who shared tips about how you can stretch your clothing dollars.Our journey to the resale racks began with businesswoman Kim Sanchez, co-owner of Sanchez & Associates LLC, a local engineering firm.

“Consignment for me began when I had children and was introduced to kid consignments,” Sanchez says. “From there I learned about all kinds of consignment stores that are available. The last thing that got me consigning was when I was pregnant. I didn’t want to spend a ton of money on a temporary wardrobe, but I wanted to feel good about my appearance. I have learned to truly love resale.”

Sanchez’s Tips for Resale Novices:

Tip 1: Know your body type and what looks good on you – and what doesn’t.

“For example, I love the look of empire waist shirts and dresses, but they look horrible on me, so I steer clear.”

Tip 2: Love it or leave it. “Resale and consignment prices are usually so great that you are tempted to buy if you kind of like it. But who wants a closet full of stuff you kind of like?”

Tip 3: Shop resale Monday-Friday, during the day. “And the beginning of the week is better than the end of the week to look at all the weekend items that were brought in.”

Tip 4: Give yourself plenty of time to browse the racks. “Don’t rush it. Resale shopping is like treasure hunting; it’s a stress release. I love finding a great deal and walking away feeling like I saved money!”

According to Sanchez, her best resale finds to date include high-end purses. “I love to shop at Clothes Mentor in McKinney, because accessories are my thing!I find great deals on purses that appear to be brand-new. I have several Coach purses and am tempted to buy this Luis Vuitton they have there now.”

Sanchez’s favorite resale and consignment stores in McKinney include Clothes Mentor (her absolute favorite), Plato’s Closet (for the teen crowd), and Kid to Kid & Once Upon a Child (for the kiddos). “There is also the Thrift Plaza at the old Beall’s location, and Friends of the Inn 2. You can catch weekend sales at Just Between Friends for children’s clothes, or for bridal and gown shopping, try Anonymously Yours in Dallas.”

As a final tip for resale neophytes, Sanchez offers her personal philosophy: “Remember that you should always feel good about the way you look. It can change your attitude about your day.If you feel good about you and have a positive outlook, it will change the way others perceive you, too.”

Turning a Passion Into a Profession

From shoes and accessories to cocktail dresses, Becki Van Vuren, owner of Clothes Mentor in McKinney and Highland Village, works daily to help her clients “make frugal look fabulous.”

Van Vuren has been a resale shopper her entire life, always on the hunt for a good bargain. So it only made sense that in 2010 she and her husband Todd Van Vuren jumped at the opportunity to turn their passion for “green shopping” into a profession.

“Our stores buy used clothes – garments that are less than two years old – and sells them for about 70 percent off mall or retail value,” Becki Van Vuren says. “We tend to draw a female crowd aged 30 to mid-40s, women who are looking for a mix of trendy, casual and professional attire.

“Brands that sell well for us are White House/Black Market, Chicos, Banana Republic, Coldwater Creek, Loft, J. Crew – the better mall brands. But we also do a lot of designer purses,” Becki Van Vuren says.

In total, Clothes Mentor catalogs the prices of more than 300,000 brands ranging from Trina Turk to Talbot’s to Target. Both of Van Vuren’s stores add a few hundred items to their inventory every day – which is better than any local department store.

“What our customers love is that our Inventory changes constantly. We have so many brands; with all of them under one roof, it makes for a very effective shopping trip!”

Van Vuren’s Words of Wisdom for Resale Novices

Tip 1: Be intentional. Always hunt for the good bargain!

Tip 2: Layering is a great style trick. Use it to your advantage. “Especially as we approach back-to-school season, think layering! Choose basic pieces – light sweaters, scarves, bold dresses, jackets – that can transition all the way to winter.Our stores carry wardrobe basics that can be added to for a fresh look.”

Tip 3: Make room for new items by getting rid of old ones. “If you haven’t gone through your closet in a while, now is as good a time as any. If you love a piece of clothing or accessory but haven’t worn it in a year, bring it by the store. We pay cash for most brands.”

Tip 4: If you’re new to resale, ask for help.

“To better service our new and longstanding clientele, we have a resident fashion consultant on site from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. every Friday and from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. every other Saturday. If you’d like some help putting together the perfect outfit for an upcoming event, our personal stylist is here to help. Just call our store for details.”

‘Green Shopping’ Is the New Black!

According to Todd Van Vuren, resale chic is good for the environment. Not only is it a sensible way to recycle items, but it also helps to keep your closets fresh – literally.

“America’s Research Group figures that 12 to 15 percent of American consumers will shop in resale shops this year alone. We shouldn’t be surprised because resale is good for the environment,” he says.

When you’re shopping resale racks for the first or 40th time, don’t make it difficult.Think of the five Rs: Restyle. Resell.Reinvest. Remix. Rejoice!

Whether you are a resale neophyte or an experienced resale shopper, take these tips and apply them to your own interpretation of resale chic – and have fun!

For more information on Chamber retail members, go to McKinneyOnline.com and click “Find a Business.”


About the author: Courtney Wiley works in international marketing and travels abroad regularly. She loves to share her affinity and appreciation for global fashion with fellow McKinney residents every chance she gets!