Consignment Fashion: Fashion Revolutions

by Gabrielle Manchester

With 2015 on the horizon, I want to take the opportunity to thank my readers, clients, and customers. It is because of all of you that I have such an amazing job and the opportunity to help women look and feel their best every day. It brings me such joy and I learn so much from all of you. In honor of that, I want to share my tips for fashion success in 2015.

Clothing is often thought of as being superficial, but in my experience—especially in the context of consignment—it is deeply personal. Clothing serves many purposes: it can act as armor, costume, or camouflage. It can tell the world who we are or who we want to be. It has power. Through the process of helping my customers find the perfect piece, they often humble me by sharing their highest hopes and deepest fears and insecurities.

In consignment, we only have one of everything and don’t always accept returns, which means there can be a lot of anxiety over making sure something’s right for you. It’s common for me to hear things like “I don’t like my arms. I can’t wear anything sleeveless anymore. No one wants to see my body. I’m too old to be sexy.” I want you to know that the vulnerability, bravery, kindness, and humor you share with me is inspiring. It challenges me to help every woman see the best in themselves and embrace their individual beauty.

We are all perfectly imperfect. For the next year, I want to encourage you to embrace your imperfections. Embrace your lumps and bumps, your skinny arms, broad shoulders, big feet, and all the rest. I want 2015 to be the year we shine a light on the things we love about ourselves or need to learn to love a little more. In honor of all of you, I’ve translated the biggest fashion tips that I share with my consignment customers into action-oriented resolutions for the year ahead.

Let’s make 2015 the most fashionable year yet!

Focus on what you like/love about yourself—accentuate the positives!
Set a goal for every month of the year to focus on something you love about yourself or something you want to learn to love. Then, buy a piece that flatters your focus of the month. Consignment is a low-cost way to try new things and expand your fashion repertoire.

Derriere: Hunt down that perfect pair of jeans or a curve-accentuating skirt.
Bust: Experiment with different necklines to find what flatters you, whether small or busty.
Arms: Concerned about showing them off? Find that perfect evening wrap or shawl so you no longer limit yourself to items with sleeves.
Neck: Love your long neck? Highlight it with an eye-catching necklace or get cozy with a cashmere scarf.
Legs: Long and lean? Show them off with a bold mini-skirt and tights.
Waist: Smallest point? Accentuate it with a new waist belt. Straighter lines? Create curves with a peplum skirt or dress with a full skirt.

Compliment another woman.
Too often, women are hard on themselves and the other ladies around them. Make it a point to brighten someone’s day with a thoughtful compliment. At stores, there’s nothing more wonderful than seeing strangers become friends over a second opinion on that little black dress. When a woman is unsure and needs that extra boost of confidence and someone takes a moment to give an honest compliment, it creates magic.

Donate fashion to ladies in need.
You know I am all about consignment, but make a point of donating gently used items to women in need. I love supporting a local organization called Dress for Success. They put together outfits for people that can’t afford new clothes and help them look their best.

Life is short, wear the dress!
So many of my customers and clients take fashion way too seriously. “What will they think if I wear this?” “What if I can’t pull it off?” I get asked a lot why I’m so dressed up, and my standard response is, “Because it’s Tuesday” (with a big smile). You don’t need someone else’s permission to feel fabulous, and every day is a day to celebrate. When in doubt, wear the dress!

Take a risk and have fun!
Did you ever play dress up as a kid? I like to channel that attitude when getting dressed every day. It should be fun! It should be lighthearted. Worried you can’t pull off a certain look? You never know if you don’t try! Resolve to try something unexpected and new at least once a month.