A friend of mine is a frequent visitor of pawn shops and consignment stores. On a weekly basis she takes home some pretty great finds; from Chopard pendants and Chanel watches to Gucci sandals and Balenciaga purses.  I’ve never liked the idea of wearing other people’s clothes. Maybe its island pride but I simply never found the concept alluring. On the flip side, I do enjoy vintage finds very much. I love shopping in vintage stores, where chances are you won’t spot your outfit on someone else. But what is vintage? For the most part its pre-worn clothing. Even the clothes we buy in stores have been tried on time and time again. Some have even been worn and returned.

On a recent trip to California, my travel companion implored that we visit a store called Wasteland. I accompanied her and wasn’t at all taken by the inventory of obviously used items. On our way back to our hotel, she made a sharp and sudden U-turn after spotting another consignment store. The store was Crossroads Trading Company. I waited in the car while she perused the place. About 15 minutes later, she came to the car, insisting that I come in. Just about an hour and six purchases later I was hooked.  After acquiring great, never or gently worn pieces, at unbelievable prices I immediately saw the allure. We visited 3 other consignment stores during our trip, acquiring several great items.

So why should you check out recycled clothing stores, estate sales or great consignment sites like Threadflip?

1.If you’ve ever bought a luxury item then you’ve soon realized that though some high-end labels do make pretty gorgeous items, a bag is a bag is a bag, and a shoe is a shoe is a shoe. Sooner or later they end up in the back of your closet. It doesn’t matter if it’s a Louis Vuitton or your local TJMaxx purchase. Those who can afford the luxury of keeping up with fashion seasons, wouldn’t be caught dead in 2008’s Chanel tote. Some are just wasteful and get tired of items easily or have come on hard times and need some cash. If you’re lucky, chances are you’ll find at least 1 item that suits your taste.

2. Many of the items can be resold at equal or better value after you’ve made your purchase. This especially applies if you’ve acquired jewelry or bags.

3. Save major bucks. Upgrade your wardrobe for the same prices you spend at your neighborhood stores or far less.

Most brand name items are pretty cheaply made. A lot of them are made in china with the same materials and under the same conditions as cheaper brand-less items. In essence, you’re paying solely for a name. Thing is, that doesn’t impact most of our desires to don these items, hence why knock-offs are so popular. Do yourself a favor, buy the real thing for far less.