Bargains abound in Palm Beach
PALM BEACH, Fla. On the sunny island of Palm Beach, black tie galas are common, Sunday brunch is $100 and a beachside hotel room can cost more than $2,000 a night in high season. But there are bargains to be found. The snowbird paradise has a thriving high end consignment market for designer and often barely worn castoffs.
The island busy society calendar means twice daily costume changes in a land of labels that include Chanel, Hermes, Valentino, Gucci and Prada. Many of these garments and accessories make their way to a handful of exclusive consignment boutiques and a few even trickle down to bargain thrift shops.
“They sometimes don even wear it. They shopping constantly. If it last season they can wear it anymore. And they wear it all just once, including the shoes and the handbag,” says Monique Javarone, owner of Fashionista Palm Beach, an upscale boutique that specializes in vintage.
Often store owners go to multi million dollar estates and sort through racks of designer clothing for clients who don want the stigma of being seen in a consignment store or who have too much to transport.
“It wonderful here.
“The thing that everybody wants year after year is Chanel. It still the No. 1 consignment handbag. Even the shoes are still No. 1 it that very classic, never go out of style look,” said Sean Connolly, owner of the Paradise Lost boutiques.
At Encore Plus Boutique in Boca Raton, Ayla Habibi said Chanel purses are also her No. 1 seller and range from $800 to $4,700 (sold new, the purses can exceed $5,000). Handbags are the most popular items at most of the stores, where Hermes and Louis Vuitton are close seconds.
“The Chanel and Hermes fly out the door,” said Lisa Stark, owner of Serendipity in Boca Raton, who also posts items on Instagram. “As soon as we post things, the phone starts ringing.”
When she first started more than a decade ago, the in demand items were ball gowns and St. John, a luxury knitwear brand, but now she says women dress more casually.
The Palm Beach hand me downs are so good that fashionistas from all over the world vie for them online. A handful of the stores have started selling their items at upscale web retailers like 1stdibs.
“Half of what we sell goes overseas,” said Javarone, who says hers online business has doubled in recent years.
Many customers seek out the store after first seeing her items online.
If the upscale boutiques aren interested, the clothes and accessories may make their way to some of the area thrift shops. The thrift stores are also a good spot for lower end designers like Tory Burch, Lilly Pulitzer and Milly.
“We do get Hermes from time to time, men ties, scarves, pocket squares,” said Goodwill Embassy Boutique assistance store manager Becky Shore. The store recently had Christian Dior china and sold a slightly chipped Baccarat crystal horse for $199. She says it not uncommon to get a collection of the same designer all at once from an estate, like a collection of Judith Leiber bags.
The deals are so good even the rich aren passing them up. Many of the socialites who come in to consign items, often leave with a purchase.
“They buy the same things (they sell),” said Connolly. “They bring in Hermes scarves, they consign two or three at a time and they walk out with one.”
Where to shop for Palm Beach consignment, thrift bargains
From Chanel jackets to Birkin bags and Lilly Pulitzer, consignment stores and even bargain thrift shops in the Palm Beach, Florida, area, have all the labels you love. County Road, Palm Beach
The exquisite 1980s floor length sequined white and black Chanel dress that greets visitors at this Palm Beach gem says it all. The store specializes in high end women vintage. It a must for fashion lovers, even if you aren looking to buy. Recent finds: an Armani black mink coat with fox collar, $20,000, and an Oscar de la Renta silk strapless lace gown, $3,000.
The store has a large collection of Hermes Birkins and designer shoes, plus fun accessories like black Chanel kidskin gloves adorned with pink stingray designs for $975, a $600 Alexander McQueen lacy knitted dress and a $650 Chanel slip dress.
COLLECTIONS, 118 N. County Road, Palm Beach
This store recently added an entire room for Chanel, including signature jackets for around $1,250, plus shoes, bags and jewelry. Recent finds included a wide selection of purses (including four Birkins); gowns by Oscar de la Renta and Carolina Herrera; plus vintage Krizia and Mary McFadden.
Fine and costume jewelry, including Tiffany, Cartier and Chopard, set the store apart. South Sea baroque pearls were $11,900, a Van Cleef Arpels diamond and gold necklace was $31,995 and a Charles Krypell diamond ring was $6,995. There wiggle room to negotiate higher end jewelry prices.
LOST, 227 Sunrise Ave., Palm Beach
Paradise Lost has three charming stores within walking distance. The high end boutique carries labels like Chanel, Hermes and Valentino plus rare items like a Louis Vuitton tennis racket cover and a red suede Cartier train case. Recent finds included Chanel shoes around $299, a Hermes silk blouse, $499, and a short Missoni dress, $399, plus lots of St. John and several stunning, reasonably priced evening wear options, including a gold beaded floor length Escada dress for $699. At the lower end boutique, Lilly Pulitzer sweaters were $30 to $70. A furniture and home goods store has tons of Louis Vuitton luggage and unique estate pieces like Mizner chandeliers.