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Consignment shopping tips for the budget mom

You know the feeling… the shopping guilt that sets in after you just spent a lot of money on a sweet purchase. Maybe a designer handbag or a pair of expensive shoes that just made your day?

Woman shopping for purses

For most moms, myself included, it’s an unrealistic habit to buy really expensive shoes and handbags every few months. This is where the genius of consignment shopping kicks in — who was the pioneer behind this concept, anyway? I say “Thank you!” to them — a handbag from a few seasons back can still be a major staple in a woman’s wardrobe, and someday it will carry its own weight in vintage value. Besides, some items that are just a little worn-in feel better and add more character. Consignment shopping offers an opportunity to find unique pieces and test the creative eye.

Budget shopping, not budget style

It’s definitely OK to invest in quality pieces that accentuate and add sparkle to your wardrobe, but busy moms not only juggle the balance of life — they’re usually keeping track of a budget, too. The need to be financially conscious when shopping for daily looks is a reality. Just because moms are on a budget doesn’t mean they can’t steal the show, though. What did my mother always tell me? “Money can’t ever buy you an eye for good taste or class. It’s what you make out of what you have.”

The key to consignment shopping is to look for quality, classic pieces that are timeless and don’t fall into the trendy category. Keep an eye out for some of these items while treasure hunting for your next staple piece.

A classic purse in black or brown

A classic leather handbag is a staple piece, something that will last you a lifetime and fit into any look you pull together.

Just remember, consignment shopping doesn’t mean you pick up a designer piece for Goodwill prices — it just means you can grab a beautiful staple for less.

Look for black or brown purses that mimic the classic lines and go-with-anything good looks of this Legacy leather mini tanner.

(Coach, $258)

Isabel Marant Carla pleated skirt A leather skirt

A leather skirt will always give your wardrobe that extra edge. You can wear it nicely polished and paired with a sweater or blouse on top, or dress it down with a tucked-in T-shirt. Either way, the leather skirt makes your look instantly chic. We love the flattering look of a pleated leather skirt, so when consignment shopping, look for a skirt that mimics the appearance of the Isabel Marant Carla pleated skirt (La Garconne, $1,860). Hopefully you’ll find a classic piece for a fraction of the cost!

Retro coatA coat

Coats can be your best friends. Look for a classic vintage wool coat, a blazer or a leather jacket. Or all of the above, if you please! They all serve their purpose time and time again. If you’re looking for a piece you’ll be proud of for years, hunt down a Burberry jacket. Whether you find the classic plaid design or a more modern cut and color, no one will ever know you scored a great deal. You can even shop for Burberry from online consignment stores like The Turnabout Shoppe.


Jewelry is like the icing on the cake! It can completely transform an outfit and actually make it complete. Keep an eye out for statement pieces like necklaces and cuffs, which can be used to dress your look up or down. Timeless pieces like pearls and vintage rhinestones are also a must-have. These items are always good to have on hand to add a little polish, and because they’ll last for years, it’s worth picking up designer lines for consignment prices.

MICHAEL Michael Kors Hamilton bootBoots

Boots are such a timeless piece to have in your wardrobe. It’s important to keep a pair of riding boots, cowboy boots or combat boots on hand to cater to your personal style. Boots are also one of those rare fashion staples where the more worn in the shoes are, the better! Look for classic black or brown in a forever style, like the MICHAEL Michael Kors Hamilton boot. (Nordstrom, $275)

More fashion for moms

Designer tips for dressing post-baby bodies
Dressy denim finds for everyday wear
10-Minute outfits that look like a million bucks

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