THE SEASONS are shifting, and you know what that means -- time to put away the bathing suits and break out the cashmere. What to do when you want a new wardrobe, but your closet is packed fuller than your wallet? Kill two birds with one stone and sell your old duds to a resale store, where you can choose cash on the spot or a store credit worth even more.
It may sound simple, but don't expect to make bank with whatever you have lying on your closet floor. Resale buyers are tough to please, and they give the clothes a close inspection before sending them onto the selling floor.
We asked buyers at five of Southern California's most popular resale shops exactly what it takes to score a sale. Style, color, age, condition and designer label all play important parts in whether your castaways get snapped up. But there are specific ways to maximize your chances.
Before bringing in your unwanted clothes, flip through fashion magazines to see what items are hot. "I'm not asking for the Ella Moss you bought at Barneys last week," says Kendra Thompson, manager of the Melrose Avenue location of Crossroads Trading Co., a national resale chain. But outdated styles that couldn't hold their own on a current retail rack aren't going to pass the test for most resale buyers either.
Thompson also recommends scoping out your resale store of choice to see what's on the floor. If a ton of Ed Hardy tees are already on the rack, the store probably doesn't need more.
Bring in only items that are in-season, and think about a store's location and potential customers. Those Juicy Couture sweats you wear jogging in Brentwood probably aren't going to fare well with Silver Lake hipsters.
Always remember to wash, mend and fold what you plan to sell. And last but not least, this isn't a garage sale so skip the socks and underwear.
Those can stay in your hamper -- where they belong.
For college kids: Dee Lux
Hipsters should head to this Orange County spot, where underground style trumps designer labels. One catch: The clothes are resold at lower prices than at other shops we investigated -- bad because only 35% of that profit is yours. On the plus side, the staff isn't as picky about taking a slightly faded top or even that "Prado" knockoff you scored at Santee Alley -- if it's cute, of course.
Shoppers are mostly high school and college students looking for offbeat wares such as Native American-inspired T-shirts, cowboy boots and vests. Flat leather boots are in high demand along with dark, skinny denim by True Religion and Diesel, and anything from the 1980s or before. But most mall wares are a no-no, especially if "My So-Called Life" was still on the air when you bought them. "If you haven't worn it in five years, chances are no one else will either," buyer Myra Heredia says.
Other Dee Lux don'ts include light-colored denim, sunglasses, Ed Hardy shirts or anything pink, which Heredia considers cursed.
1500 Adams Ave., Costa Mesa. (714) 979-1968. www.mydeelux.com.
For sophisticates: Buffalo Exchange
Basics (think the Gap) will get you further than a Gucci gown from 1995 at this resale chain, which has locations in 13 states. Amme Milton, who manages the La Brea Avenue branch, says her wish list includes skinny T-shirts by Splendid and Velvet, flat equestrian boots and high-waisted skirts and pants. Because her shop is near Undefeated, the center of sneakerhead culture, limited-edition kicks by Nike and A Bathing Ape are likely sales. Kooba, Botkier and Hermes bags are accepted on consignment with a 50% post-sale payout.
Guys will have luck selling slim-cut suits and flat-front dress pants, but ladies should leave formalwear at home. And don't bother bringing distressed denim, winter ski jackets and gladiator sandals, which will get you turned down cold, Milton says.
131 N. La Brea, Los Angeles. (323) 938-8604; 10914 Kinross Ave., Los Angeles. (310) 208-7403; 14621 Ventura Blvd., Sherman Oaks. (818) 783-3420. www.buffaloexchange.com
For fashion plates: Wasteland
This 20-year-old chain has one of the most fashiony, well-edited selections of any resale shop, and prices to match -- good news considering 35% of the resale value is yours. But that means Wasteland is pretty picky, choosing only pieces that look as if they walked off this season's runways. Even better if they actually did: Anything with a designer label, especially Marc Jacobs, has a good chance of being picked up. To really increase your odds, bring vintage. That doesn't mean ratty sleep shirts or Nana's polyester housecoat. "We try to buy the vintage that designers are copying," says Camilla Zecchetto, buying manager at the Santa Monica store. Think printed caftans and Grecian-style gowns, especially if they are designer. A 1960s Pucci minidress recently netted $157.50 for its former wearer.
1338 4th St., Santa Monica. (310) 395-2620; 7428 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles. (323) 653-3028. www.thewasteland.com
For the mainstream: Crossroads Trading Co.
This 24-store national megachain (with five L.A. locations) specializes in contemporary, classically styled pieces for a diverse clientele of bankers, punk rockers and everyone in between. Styles must be current -- or at least pass for right now -- to merit a 35% profit. Denim by True Religion and Paper are sure things, but don't bother bringing the studded pleather jeans you wore last Halloween.
Kendra Thompson, manager of the Melrose Avenue location, says traditional, boot-cut and peg-leg styles in dark and medium washes are best. Diane von Furstenberg, French Connection and -- dare we say it -- Ed Hardy are coveted. So is anything cashmere. But only in good condition. Crossroads will consign luxury handbags and shoes and give you a 50% payday once your piece sells. The Melrose Avenue storefront does best with women's clothes in sizes 5/6 through 9/10.
7409 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles. (323) 782-8100; 12300 Ventura Blvd., Studio City. (818) 761-6200. Three other greater L.A. locations. www.crossroadstrading.com
For hipsters: Squaresville
This Los Feliz favorite, known for a killer selection of vintage, is everything you'd expect East Side fashion to be -- ironic T-shirts, high-waisted denim and lots of boots. But even if your items fit that bill they might not net you an automatic 35% shellout. Pieces must have working zippers and not look like thrift-store finds. And don't even think about walking in with a bag of clothes you bought last year. At Squaresville, anything from the 1970s to the 1990s rules. Think cute sundresses, slouchy leather bags and animal-shaped brooches.
Guys' gear is in high demand, so button-down shirts and Beatles-style ankle boots have a better chance than women's wear. Manager Stephanie Pia begs potential sellers to leave the True Religions at home in favor of light wash, easy-to-wear jeans that look old. Certain oddities such as feathered hats do well, but boxy, sequined jackets aren't welcome. And if you want to bring your costume jewels, look to Urban Outfitters' trendy selections as a guide. As for clothing sizes, Pia says her customers tend to be on the smaller end of the scale, so plus-size gear won't impress.
1800 N. Vermont Ave., Los Angeles. (323) 669-8464. www.myspace.com/squaresvillevintage