Updated Aug. 31, 2015
By Janice Herrema Wagner
Mary Youngblood was a mom who thought she had to buy everything brand new for her three kids.
"But then I went to a neighbor's garage sale and picked up such great finds for next to nothing, and I've been buying consignment for the kid's ever since," says Youngblood who lives in Lithicum.
In fact, Youngblood liked buying consignment so much she opened her own consignment shop, Dapper & Dainty, in Linthicum Heights two years ago.
"Consignment is becoming more chic in this economy, and especially for children's clothing, which there is no reason to buy new," Youngblood says.
If you haven't tried shopping consignment before, now is the time to start. Outfitting your student with everything they need for school doesn't have to empty your wallet. You can complete the back-to-school ensemble, from head to toe and backpack to lunchbox, by hitting area consignment shops.
"It is no longer cool to spend $80 on one item, and so rewarding to say how much money you saved," says Mimi Shea, owner of Wee-Sale and She-Sale consignment sales, and a mother of two from Severna Park.
Consignment treasure hunt
The pleasure and struggle of shopping consignment is that it is a treasure hunt to find the right items, but when you discover a Northface jacket at $25 instead of $100 — as lucky customers at Dapper & Dainty have — both the fiscally smart parent and fashion-loving student leave happy.
"When you save big money shopping consignment, your back-to-school budget can increase on other things the kids need, like after school activities and school supplies," Youngblood says.
"Even older kids can quickly be swayed to the consignment bandwagon when they pick up a like-new pair of Sperry Top Siders for $8.99," says Youngblood. "For back to school, you want your kids to feel good about what they are wearing. ... I've had parents say that they are going to take everything back to the mall because they are able to get the same items here instead, plus more."
Read on for 10 shops and a couple of sales that will help you find the brands your kid's love at a fraction of the cost. Let the treasure hunt begin!
Photo by Caroline Phillips. Models Roby Grant & Keegan Cardoza.
10 consignment shops for back to school
Return To Oz
2011 West St. in Annapolis
You've probably noticed this quaint house on West Street, with shutters and a sloping front porch. Inside, you'll find a decent selection of kid's clothing and shoe consignments. The store is crowded but organized, with different rooms for different sizes and a few fitting rooms. Clothing ranges from used to new-with-tags condition, with some designer labels.
Honeysuckle Quality Consignment
1584 Ritchie Hwy., Arnold
Who says consignment has to be shabby? At Honeysuckle you'll get a boutique shopping experience for women, juniors and children at a reasonable price. They specialize in current fashion and designer pieces (lots of Lilly Pulitzer).
Dapper & Dainty
700 S Hammonds Ferry Road, Linthicum Heights
Dapper and Dainty features new and "almost new" designer label children's clothing (Gap, Janie and Jack, Gymboree, J. Crew) from size 0-10, in a charming and friendly atmosphere. As the mother of three young children, Owner Mary Youngblood has a good feel for what other moms are looking for when shopping consignment. "I've seen Heartstrings outfits in the stores retail for $50-75, and we carry them here for under $20, many times brand new with tags." Closed Monday and Tuesday.
6925 Oakland Mills Road, Columbia
Upscale, eco-chic children's consignment boutique, featuring gently used children's clothing. "Like" Greenberries on Facebook, to see items as they come in. "I can afford to buy the brands that I love for my daughter, and also reconsign the clothing she has outgrown from last season in order to update her clothes for this season," says Alicia Haler, mom and and Greenberries employee.
Babies In Bloom
623 Railroad Ave., Centreville
Well worth the trip across the bridge, Babies in Bloom is the largest consignment boutique in Queen Anne's County, offering high end brands at consignment prices. Sizes range from newborn to 18, including a section for juniors and young men. According to co-owner Dawn Schultz, teens can participate in "Fast Cash Friday," which gives them an easy way to sell their used clothes and earn a little spending money for the weekend.
Once Upon A Child
Gambrills, Glen Burnie, Ellicott City
Chesapeake Family Facebook fan Amanda Heslep recommends Once Upon A Child. "It took me awhile to try consignment shopping. With my first I felt like everything had to be brand new. A friend of mine took me to Once Upon A Child-Crofton/Gambrills and now I probably get more than half of my kid's clothes there. Who can beat the prices? Plus they have really cute stuff."
One Petticoat Lane
2 Annapolis St., Annapolis
The word boutique better describes this eclectic little gem of a shop, it always promises to be a visual feast filled with fascinating stylish and arty finds for both the home and wardrobe. It's certainly worth a visit.
88 Maryland Ave., Annapolis
Opened in October 2012 by two sisters, this historic district consignment shop has a boutique feel and an edited assortment of vintage clothing, designer labels, and wares from on-trend stores such as Anthropologie and Zara. One of the sisters splits her time between Brooklyn and Annapolis, so expect hard to find gems from New York City. They regularly highlight items on their Facebook page (www.facebook.com/shopnavette) and have developed a mini cult following amongst locals, tourists, and students alike.
Wee-Sale Children's Consignment Sale
The mother of all group consignment sales comes to Annapolis twice a year with name brands like Gap, Polo, and Gymboree aplenty. This mega sale, next scheduled for Sept. 24-27, brings together a plethora of consignor's items under the roof of the Prince George's Sports & Learning Complex. Clothing is well organized by size, but plan to do a little strong-arming if you go on day one of the sale, and some digging through the racks in the days thereafter.
The deals waiting to be found, and the abundance of quality merchandise, make it possible to take care of an entire season's worth of shopping in one afternoon. Sellers have an extra incentive for consigning with 55 percent or more commission on each sale.
The large junior department at the She-Sale on Oct. 22-25 at the Pip Moyer Recreation Center in Annapolis, includes formal wear, accessories, shoes and handbags.
"My 12-year-old prefers to do her shopping at the She-Sale where she can try things on," says owner Mimi Shea, "We've found $40 Hollister t-shirts for $3, and an $80 Vera Bradley backpack, which is all the rage in middle school, for $30."
Items are marked down by 25 percent on Saturday, and 50 percent on Sunday, at both the She- and Wee-Sale.
Check the web site for dates and locations.
Annapolis Moms of Multiples
Twice a year, the Annapolis Mothers of Multiples organizes a consignment sale that is open to the public for both purchasing and consigning reasonably priced, gently used and new children's items, including clothing size preemie to 16. The fall sale will be held on Sept. 19 at the Columbian Center in Severna Park.
"We have great bargains, especially for younger elementary age kids," said Kristene McCullough, of Gambrills, sale coordinator and mother to 4. "Kids grow out of things so fast, so why buy it new?"