Sale offers fresh start, support

To many newly single women, cleaning out the closet can be just as cathartic as sitting on a therapist's couch.

The Divorcée Sale, which runs Friday through Sunday at the Resort at Pelican Hill, is a way for women to shed pieces of their past for a good cause.

Jill Alexander, founder of The Divorcée Sale, wanted to find a way to combine her love for fashion and philanthropy with a point of transformation in many women's lives: divorce.

"I've never even been married," Alexander said with a laugh.

"I was trying to figure out how to with work with resale, fashion and charity to really help women," she said.

Women donate everything from Banana Republic blouses to never-used Chanel and Dior handbags. There's something for everybody, Alexander said.

During a divorce, she said, women are going through many changes. They may be downsizing, changing styles or may want to let go of pieces that remind them of their marriage.

When she came up with the idea, she thought, "'Why don't I put a positive spin on it in a fashionable way?'"

This will be Alexander's second sale. She held her first sale at the Mondrian Hotel in Los Angeles in May. She said she has plans to take the idea to New York, Las Vegas and Florida.

The event also benefits a cause close to Alexander: breast cancer.

A close friend, Meredith Israel, has stage 4 breast cancer and is fighting to raise money and awareness about early detection. Alexander wanted to help and immediately reached out to her.

A quarter of the proceeds from The Divorcée Sale will go to benefit the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, which Israel suggested, and Israel's Miles4Meredith.

"It's been great to support not only a foundation but a person with medical needs," Alexander said.

Julie Spira, a divorcée and author from L.A., donated items for the weekend's sale and is a big supporter of the event.

She invited Alexander to come over to her home, which she was about to sell after her divorce, and they rifled through three of her closets.

"It reminded me of an episode of 'Sex and the City'," as they decided which pieces would stay or go, Spira said.

"Parting with these things can be emotional, for shedding purposes and for emotional attachment," she said. "I loved these items and she sat and listened to me as I talked about where I wore these items for the first time. It didn't feel like a business transaction; she felt like a friend."

Spira donated 10 purses, five of which were from her coveted Chanel collection.

"In reality, I didn't need them," she said. "They were just collecting dust in boxes."

Besides giving her precious pieces to a new owner, Spira also liked the idea that she was supporting a worthy cause.

"I love what she's doing," she said. "She has such a tremendous heart for everyone involved."

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If You Go

What: The Divorcée Sale

When: 6 to 9 p.m. Friday; 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday; and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday

Where: The Resort at Pelican Hill at 22071 Pelican Hill Road, Newport Coast

Tickets: $25 Friday (VIP), $15 Saturday and free Sunday

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