The Good Life For Less: Shopping

Consignment haunts and bargain boutiques for savvy shoppers.

Michele Tahitian ceramic watch with diamonds is a bargain at Couture Exchange for $1,195, 40 percent off its retail price.
Photo by Andy Foster.

Savvy shoppers looking for the most bang for their buck know that, by scouting New Jersey’s finest consignment shops and bargain boutiques, they can find designer merchandise for 30 to 80 percent less than at luxury retailers. It’s a fun way to fill your closets with all kinds of gorgeous goodies. Brand new, nearly new and vintage. Women’s, men’s and children’s. Fashion, jewelry and collectibles.

Here are some tips:

• Shop the colored tags: Many consignment shops have a color-coded shopping key. The color of each merchandise tag denotes the percentage discount, e.g., 50 percent off for red tag, 30 percent off for blue tag.

• Fill ’er up: Consignment aficionados know that some shops offer deep discounts at the end of each season as they host “bag days,” when shop owners invite customers to fill a supermarket paper bag to the brim for one all-inclusive low price.

• Customer appreciation days: Ask about special discount days when already-low prices drop even lower. Sign up for loyalty programs to find out about exclusive sales.

Attention Shoppers: Many department stores, including Neiman Marcus, Bloomingdale’s and Nordstrom offer free personal shoppers/stylists to select clothing, gifts and home items. Schedule an appointment, specify what you are looking for (size, style, color and budget) and when you come in, the legwork will be done—and there’s no pressure to buy. They’ll keep your preferences on file for future use and will coordinate tailoring and delivery services and free gift wrap.

Here is a list of great deals around the state:

Allan & Suzi
641 Cookman Ave, Asbury Park; 732-988-7372,
allanandsuzi.net
Allan and Suzi carries brand new current and past-season designer clothing, vintage items, bags, jewelry, shoes, art and collectibles. This funky retro-fashion shop (also in Manhattan) supplied wardrobe elements for Lena Horne’s “Tribute at Lincoln Center” as well as Sex and the City and The Sopranos.

Born To Shop
407 North Haddon Ave, Haddonfield; 856-427-4118,
borntoshopthrift.com
This clothing resale boutique has two floors of lightly used—and some new—merchandise. Women’s sizes 0 to 28. It also has a plus-size boutique and shoe salon. Reasonable consignment-store pricing. Open seven days.

Cherished Bridals
44 Lake Drive West, Wayne; 973-706-6410,
cherishedbridals.com
Cherished Bridals is a consignment boutique that gives budget-conscious brides access to designer gowns as well as dresses for mothers, flower girls and bridesmaids. Hundreds of gowns are in stock and online, including Vera Wang, Paloma Blanca, Reem Acra, Henry Roth and more. Also headpieces, jewelry, shoes, purses. Gown rentals are available; appointments preferred.

Coastal Consignment & Salvage Co.
511 North Bay Ave, Beach Haven; 609-492-9400,
coastalconsignment-salvage.com
Voted a 2010 Best of Jersey runner-up in New Jersey Monthly, this shop is a favorite among Long Beach Island shoppers. It features women’s clothing, accessories, fine and estate jewelry, antiques, art, china and gifts.

Couture Exchange
33 Elm St, Westfield; 908-232-0071,
thecoutureexchange.com
Also in Shrewsbury.
Great place for couture addicts to score haute finds at up to 80 percent off retail prices. Shop for handbags, shoes, outerwear and accessories—you’ll find new with original tags, pre-loved and vintage classics.


Deja Vu

198 Wanaque Ave, Pompton Lakes; 973-513-9142,
dejavuconsigningfashions.com
This consignment shop sells hand-picked designer cocktail dresses, evening gowns, coats, suits, jeans, sweaters, boots, handbags, shoes, accessories and jewelry. The atmosphere is friendly and the service is personalized.

DoubleTake
97 Broad St, Red Bank; 732-383-5482,
edoubletake.com
Also in Short Hills, Englewood and Ridgewood.
DoubleTake has been featured on CNN, ABC, NBC and Fox. More than 20,000 items are inventoried across its stores. High-end, previously owned apparel, footwear and accessories are accepted only in pristine condition. Savings are often in excess of 75 percent.

Duet Designer Consignment Boutique
79 South Livingston Ave,
Livingston; 973-535-1133,
dueteveryday.com
This luxury shop stocks authentic pieces from coveted labels such as St. John, Dior, Chanel, D&G, Hermés, Bulgari, Prada, Gucci, Armani, Cartier, Fendi, Louis Vuitton, Chloé, Van Cleef and Arpels, YSL and Galiano.

Encore Quality Consignments
123 Claremont Rd, Bernardsville; 908-766-7760,
encoreconsignments.com
Contemporary used clothing and accessories for women, children and men. Also a selection of furs, baby items and linens. The carriage house is full of furniture, antiques, lighting and collectibles.

4 Ever Michelle Couture
4 South St, Morristown; 973-538-6700,
4evermichellecouture.com
Here you’ll find gently loved clothing, shoes, handbags and accessories; labels include Chanel, Hermés, Louis Vuitton, Prada, St. John, Gucci, Marc Jacobs, True Religion, Michael Kors, Juicy Couture and Free People.

Gentlemens Agreement
20 North Van Brunt St, Englewood; 201-568-5511,
gentlemensagreement.net
Celebrating 17 years of business, this is the only all-men’s consignment store in Bergen County. The shop carries top clothing brands and can dress a man from head to toe. You’ll find Giorgio Armani, Hugo Boss, Joseph Abboud and other labels.

Jane
Consignment
7 Spring St, Princeton;
609-683-5263,
janeconsignment.com
Jane’s philosophy is to reuse, rethink and revitalize. Along with men’s, women’s and children’s designer clothing, never-worn shoes, accessories, jewelry, antiques, fine linens, art and silver, the shop carries “green” merchandise from local artists or from repurposed material.

Milk Money
410 Ridgewood Rd, Maplewood; 973-313-1061,
milkmoneylove.com
Also in Montclair, Cranford, Morristown and Princeton.
This franchise chain of mom-owned consignment shops offers areas for children to play while parents shop for youngsters’ apparel, toys and gear. The store’s philosophy: “Buy Groovy, Buy Recycled.” It was voted top consignment shop by New Jersey Monthly readers in last year’s Best of Jersey poll.

New Leaf Consignment
16 Park Ave, Madison;
973-377-2422,
newleafconsignment.com
This shop prides itself on a large selection of women’s designer apparel and accessories, as well as costume and better jewelry, gift items, linens and art. Personal shopper service and wardrobe consultation are available.

Plato’s Closet
450 South Lenola Rd, Maple Shade; 856-234-8141,
platosclosetmapleshade.com
Teen and 20-something guys and girls can find a nice selection of designer styles at Plato’s Closet. The store buys and sells girls’ sizes 0 to 16 and guys’ sizes 28 to 40 waist. The store accepts gently used clothing with hip labels sold in retail stores within the past 12 to 18 months.

Savvy Chic
Consignment Boutique
38 Oak St, Ridgewood; 201-389-6900,
savvychicconsignment.com
Located in the heart of historic Ridgewood, this shop specializes in women’s clothing, shoes, handbags, jewelry and accessories. Designer and boutique labels include St. John, Gucci, Prada, Armani, Fendi, Louis Vuitton, Juicy Couture, Free People and Theory.

Second Glance
354 Lincoln Ave, Hawthorne; 973-427-2231,
secondglance.biz
Fashions range from blue jeans to evening gowns, size 0 to 18W. Gently used and brand new inventory is priced 50 to 75 percent off retail. Labels such as Ann Taylor, Chico’s, Talbots, J. Crew, Juicy Couture, D & G and Tahari are offered and wardrobe consultants are available.

Silk Purse Consignment
213 Route 37 East, Toms River; 732-914-1414,
silkpurseconsignment.com
Established in 1991, this shop features designers, including Michael Kors, Marc Jacobs, Prada, Escada, Jimmy Choo, Coach, Dooney, Louis Vuitton and many more. Clothing, handbags, shoes for teens and women. New and consigned jewelry.

Squan Dry Goods
73-75 Main St, Manasquan; 732-612-3258,
squandrygoods.com
With 13 rooms and more than 3,000 square feet, you can spend an entire afternoon hunting through pre-owned designer clothing, accessories, jewelry and home and gift items. Labels include Free People, Lucky, Prada, Lilly Pulitzer, J. Crew, Abercrombie, Hollister and more.

Still Great
Eric Plaza, 336 Lacey Rd,
Forked River; 609-971-2710,
stillgreatconsignment.com
Serving all of Ocean County, Still Great offers gently used cruise wear, formal wear, casuals, shoes, handbags, jewelry, collectibles and more. Inventory includes such brands as Coach, Gap, Ann Taylor and Banana Republic.

Winterhill Antiques
425 Park Ave, Scotch Plains; 908-322-2553;
winterhill-antiques.com
Although the main floor is basically an antique shop, a trip to the basement yields racks and racks of well-priced vintage clothing and accessories. You never know what you’ll find at Winterhill, located under the blue awnings in the heart of Scotch Plains.

Attention Shoppers:
Many department stores, including Neiman Marcus, Bloomingdale’s and Nordstrom offer free personal shoppers/stylists to select clothing, gifts and home items. Schedule an appointment, specify what you are looking for (size, style, color and budget) and when you come in, the legwork will be done—and there’s no pressure to buy. They’ll keep your preferences on file for future use and will coordinate tailoring and delivery services and free gift wrap.

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