How to Shop Second-Hand Gifts Like a Boss (Part I of II)

Trips to the mall for perfect gifts are a buzz kill, friends!

Here, an expert guide to the sublime alternative:

WHAT: Estate Jewelry
*WHERE: Reputable High End Consignment Stores (Brick and Mortar or Online)

SHOP IT LIKE A BOSS: Look for heritage lines like Hermès, Cartier, Tiffany & Co, David Yurman and (YES!) JCrew --the Jenna Lyons years. I also love (stamped) sterling bangles to-be-stacked or cool, cool Native American pieces a la Georgia O’Keefe. Be sure everything is in good vintage condition before gifting (things can and should look a little worn; prongs should be tight, clasps and closures in good working condition, and no stones should be loose or missing). Don’t be afraid to spring for the perfect piece that requires minor repair, just ask around for an expert jeweler/goldsmith and give yourself at least a week’s lead time. In Denver, I like The Art of Gold (ask for Heather). Give everything a good shine up at home (Bed Bath and Beyond has amazing products) and place in simple muslin jewelry bags and plain brown card board jewelry boxes (from any large craft store).

Photo Courtesy of Common Threads in Denver.

Photo Courtesy of Common Threads in Denver.

Photo Courtesy of Common Threads in Denver.

Photo Courtesy of Common Threads in Denver.

WHAT: Designer Handbags and Wallets
*WHERE: Reputable High End Consignment Stores (Brick and Mortar or Online)

SHOP IT LIKE A BOSS:  Focus on classic luxury: I think the best gifts are from Louis Vuitton, Goyard, Bottega Veneta, YSL, Henry Beguelin, Balenciaga, Proenza Schouler, Loewe, Chloe, and (the big guns) Hermès and Chanel. Seek styles unrelated to specific seasons (unless requested), and only purchase bags that have been authenticated or come with original proof of purchase (most consignment shops like Common Threads provide this service and/or information). Inspect the bag carefully: consider the trim, lining, interior and exterior pockets, and closures, and give it a good smell. Nothing need be perfect, but everything should be neat, clean and in working condition. Always ask for the dust bag (many high end consigned bags come with the originals, and they are divine to have). At home, wipe the bag gently with a damp cloth inside and out to remove dust; stuff to give the shape a little encouragement. You can keep the bag stuffed to wrap, or remove stuffing after letting it sit for 48 hours or so. Place the bag in its duster, or simply place it in a plain brown card board gift box lined loads of tissue paper.

Photo Courtesy of Common Threads in Denver.

Photo Courtesy of Common Threads in Denver.

Photo Courtesy of Common Threads in Denver.

Photo Courtesy of Common Threads in Denver.

WHAT: The Ultimate Gift for a Shopper
*WHERE: Reputable High End Consignment Stores (Brick and Mortar or Online)

SHOP IT LIKE A BOSS: Contact your favorite local consignment store (in Denver and Boulder that means Common Threads) and ask about gift cards. Most of us have and are thrilled to provide them! Place in a small box and prepare for squeals of delight.

Photo Courtesy of Common Threads in Denver.

Photo Courtesy of Common Threads in Denver.

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*We love Common Threads in Denver and Boulder, Real Deal Collection in Santa Fe, June in Minneapolis, Luxury Garage Sale in Chicago and online great: The Real Real. We’re always looking to expand our book of national recommendations, let us know about your favorite stores across the country and around the world!