Resale MCommerce: Who Sets the Price?

As the earth becomes more polluted and our society continues its “disposable” mentality, there are some of us who actually prefer resale items. Antiques, after all, enliven a room by bringing provenance (proof of a previous life and history). Historic houses, aside from being carefully built not just thrown together in a month, also enhance our lives by storing memories of previous owners. The same can be said for gently worn women’s clothing, bags, and shoes.

Getting the younger generations to think quality over quantity when cheaply made imports reign is a difficult task. After all, better materials = higher quality = higher price tags! Everyone may want a designer item, but not everyone can afford the item. Enter the resale market.

The Internet now has a plethora of sites dedicated to resale ecommerce. The mobile (not to be left out of anything), now has dozens of apps catering specifically to mCommerce resale. These sites all have their pros and cons, but I chose Poshmark. Granted, my decision was partially based on the fact that they were mobile-first and the first successful mash-up of mCommerce and social. The tougher decision was ahead as I started sorting my closets – keep, sell, donate! In the end, I decided to sell my everyday, trendy items alongside my designer pieces. I’ve spent my entire life collecting (yes, I said collecting) my items, learning designers and fabrics, searching out new designers, coveting antique pieces to be transformed, and ended up with items I’ve never worn or worn just a few times – remember, I used the word closets!!

So, it’s time to sell. These beauties, and their everyday counterparts, need to be loved and worn. How much are they each worth? Who sets the standard for pricing in a relatively newly enlarged market of resale? WE DO! Anything is only worth what someone will pay for it! For decades, eBay has set the standard of pPoshmark Logorice on just about anything. Those days are over!!! Poshers (as we Poshmark users are called) upload enough merchandise to fill Nordstrom’s every two weeks. Thus, I say we set the pricing on resale items. If we acted together as a community, as a driving force, we definitely could become the guideline standard against which other sites (including eBay) would price THEIR items. In other words, don’t overprice but just as importantly, don’t underprice. Everyone loves to score a great item at an inexpensive price, but mark it too low and everyone will question the quality. Mark it too high and no one will even look. Remember, we are not just selling to each other. We are setting THE standard.

I mentioned antiques before. Let’s have an example: a riding crop with provenance that it was carried by George Washington may be valued at $10K. It may sell at auction at $5K or $15K – depending on what someone was willing to pay. Now, let’s use that example in clothing. A sweater from Old Navy was $35 new, so it’s not worth $35 if it has ever been worn. It’s also not worth only $5. Opposite end of the spectrum: a Chanel bag exclusively made for Neiman Marcus (read that as “collectors’ piece”) was $6,000 new. Even if you used it once or twice and it’s still in brand new condition with COA, box and sleeper, that bag is worth more than $6,000. It won’t fly out of your hands at that price, but don’t undervalue just for a quick sell. Everything is worth what someone will pay, but there is a buyer for everything.

Value and price are often misunderstood terms. Every selling site has guidelines, but I say use our own judgment. If you’re a fellow Posher, use Poshmark to research price. Again, if we act as a community, we can OWN the resale pricing. We are not competing with each other – we are competing with other apps to set the standards.

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Out With the New, In With the Old

Regarding women’s clothes and accessories, when you hear the word “vintage” do you instantly think frumpy, out-dated pieces or are you the kind of woman who jerks her head so quickly to look that you nearly strain your neck?? If you’re a vintage lover, you know it!!!

Vintage black frame bag, brocade shoes, belt, & necklace dress up a current Juicy Couture sweater dress.

Vintage black frame bag, brocade shoes, belt, & necklace dress up a current Juicy Couture sweater dress.

For informational purposes, clothing is considered vintage if it’s ten years or older, semi-antique at fifty, and antique at 100. If you love vintage, this is for you. If you think you don’t, read on and maybe I’ll convince you to at least give it a try!

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Vintage bow tie blouse (now called pussy bow) with current BCBGMaxAzria blazer & white skirt for a day in the country.

In a world now overcrowded with mass produced, look-alike, not well made, everyone’s wearing it pieces, vintage is definitely a way to embrace and showcase your individual style. Admittedly, I seek out new designers to have their first or second year lines. If you’re not attending Fashion Week somewhere, a great source for discovering new designers is www.ofakind.com. Also, I do rush to Neiman’s to get my new Chanel bag when the yearly line is introduced – again, these are unique, limited edition pieces. Aside from that, and a few long-standing classic designers, vintage is dear to my heart.

Why? Firstly, they are unique as not many survive because they’re usually donated or just thrown out – pause for gasp!! Secondly, they’re usually very well made with hand stitching, hand sewn beading or appliqués, etc. and usually made in Paris, Milan, London, or the USA. Thirdly, what goes around comes around isn’t just about karmic retribution – it applies to clothing as well. Harper’s Bazaar just released, via email, a tribute to the seventies featuring patterned & print dresses. Several of the designers at this week’s NYFW gave their own nod to the sixties or seventies. Tribute, or just reminding us that fashion, like life, is cyclical?

Vintage pieces can readily be found if you know where to look. I sell, and have bought, many vintage pieces at Poshmark.com (check out my selections at poshmark.com/closet/vacat) – necessary self promotion and extra kudos that mine are one-owner pieces – St. John, Escada, Halston (not Halston Heritage), Valentino, Mackie, and many much less known designer pieces from the seventies and eighties. Also, never underestimate the value of your local consignment stores and estate sales. When mother or grandmother dies, their clothing is usually donated unless there’s a fashionista in the family to save them.

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Frumpy – yes, but with some styling……

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Ordinary “Mom” dress, but……..

Here’s a quick example of how to make vintage your new friend. A twenty-something year old friend of mine wanted something different to wear to a wedding. I asked her about trying a vintage trendy mix and she almost fainted!! I brought out a cornflower blue semi-sheer duster from the seventies. She thought it a bit frumpy. Vintage 7Fast forward to getting her to try it on. Ok, it actually wasn’t that fast! Then I added a belt, bag, and shoes in varying shades of orange. Happy face!! Vintage 6Now that’s how to work vintage into your modern wardrobe. Vintage pieces are always classic, always timeless. Trends come and go, but quality stays. Merge the two and you’ve got a look that will keep people asking, “where did you get your outfit?”

Poshmark Meet & Greet Wine Tour Live Party

As most of my followers know, I sell consignment, and some new, as well as vintage clothing through an app called Poshmark (I’m called @vacat). If you don’t know, there will be a blog post on that later. If you’re a fellow posher, I hope you’ll enjoy this. For the sake of this blog, let’s assume you are!

So, you’re a Poshmark fanatic and you’ve decided you want to finally meet some local poshers. A live Meet & Greet is your answer. I highly recommend this for every posher. There’s NO better way to actually get to know each other, put a face with a name when you’re chatting on Poshmark, find all the poshers in your area, and perchance even make new real life friends.

Last Saturday, October 25, I hosted a Meet & Greet wine tour in the Virginia Blue Ridge Mountains. Yes, Virginia there is beautiful autumn foliage and yes there is award winning vineyards in them thar hills!!!

Posh Party 7First, it’s important to note that this was an intimate (read that as small) get together, but it was a huge success. Lesson 1) keep the gathering intimate so you can REALLY talk. Over various wine pairings, breads and cheeses, we shared stories of our birthplaces, families, marriages, locations we had lived, and of course poshing. No loud music, no games, no inebriated men to hit on us. Ok, maybe we are old, but it does still happen! See, you’re laughing already and you weren’t even there.

How did we accomplish this? Glad you asked because I learned it’s not as easy as it seems to teleport “virtual” people into “real” people in one location. So, there are other lessons embedded here. This is not a PowerPoint bulleted presentation – stay awake! To determine if there was any interest, I put out feelers last Autumn about a wine tour. When I had determined that there were actually dozens of poshers interested, I posted an invite on Poshmark. Lesson 2) find out if anyone is interested in attending and don’t just assume that because you like the location everyone else will. Everyone loves you on-line, but maybe not enough to endure a mariachi band in real life.

Posh Party 1Since the states are so small up here (sorry, but I’m a Texan and I haven’t gotten used to being in three states in less than hour!), I added the surrounding states in the title. Lesson 3) include abbreviations for the surrounding states. You never know if someone from another state might see the invite and be willing to make the drive. I posted the invite eight weeks in advance. Lesson 4) give everyone plenty of time to arrange their hectic schedules, find babysitters, etc. Of course, if you live in a very urban area, you can probably just call poshers you already know and pull together an impromptu meeting anytime – this is not for you! This is how to get to that stage.

Since the vineyards are a ninety minute drive from DC, I arranged for everyone to call in and book their seats on a tour bus. Three ladies actually bought their tour bus tickets in time before the bus was filled with wide-eyed tourists. The others decided to drive so they could enjoy the scenery and make stops (shopping perhaps?) along the route. Lesson 5) clearly post time frames for RSVP and advise everyone of transportation, then pray they heed your advice. (Note: if you’re an attendee, be courteous to your host and make certain you can afford the bus ticket or taxi fare to the destination! Everyone loves you, but not enough to be your chauffeur).

About two weeks in advance, I emailed Poshmark and requested swag for the event. They provided pins, shipping cards, stickers, and pencils. Posh Party 5 Nice touches for the parting gift bags, but it needed a personal touch. I added a silver wine glass charm (fashion themed of course), homemade pumpkin cookies, and brochures of the wine country all in my signature paw print bags and tissue. Posh Party 6My lovely fellow posher Virginia (yes, that’s her real name – coincidence, hmm), who is @cody7150 on Poshmark, hand painted wine glasses for the bags. Lesson 6) get the swag and put together themed parting gift bags with added personal touches. Let others contribute, if they ask. Your guests will be treated to something they can cherish long after the event is over.

Truth be told, we had a few issues. About half of the committed attendees had a change in plan, the pairings at the first vineyard were not enough to substitute for lunch (my bad – as I believed them without seeing it first for myself and they wouldn’t let me cater the event). Lesson 7) do a test run by yourself to make sure everything is actually as described by the provider. Still, we had so much fun and I am now blessed with new real life friends. As you can see from these pictures, we started the day very proper. By the time we reached the second vineyard, everyone was much more relaxed. Strangers no more – friends always!

Posh Party 3The best lesson: post the invite, stick to the RSVP date, show up, don’t worry about the cancellations (be prepared to just absorb those lost dollars), relax, and HAVE FUN!! It’s a party, not a ninja special op! Oh wait, that’s me!!!!

 

Turns out – We are All Colorblind

I’m kidding of course, but whilst awaiting my Pantone 2015 color wheel, I was musing over the 2014 colors. After playing a few games of “name this color” with friends, I determined we have all become colorblind!! Sure, we knew the general pigment name, but the newly chosen names – none of us got them right. Here’s an example.

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Go ahead, you know you want to guess! General consensus here was that this color was navy blue, second place was royal blue. Actual name – Princess Blue! Say what??

Don’t get me wrong, I love when designers actually create a new color. That’s half the fun of fashion, but assigning a new name to an an already existing color keeps us constantly guessing. This is probably not that important to anyone except those of us selling consignment clothing. I can’t possibly give a prospective customer the exact color name of an item made last year, bear less a vintage piece made thirty years ago. So, I take my best guess and remind them that color is subjective. Surprisingly enough, my iPhone camera picks up color quite nicely – except black, oh excuse me – I mean Jet Black.

Color is indeed subjective when working without a color wheel. Monitors and cameras lie too! Of course, lighting plays the largest role. A hint of this, a hue of that, and you’re certain you’re looking at one color whilst your friend next to you sees it totally differently. So, we decide “natural light” is best. Natural light where? What time of the day? Diffused, or full sun? If you’ve never given this any thought, take a look at even your hair color. Chances are, it changes depending on where you’re standing. Me, I’m either blonde, strawberry blonde, ash blonde, or completely white haired depending on the light. Like beauty, color is in the eye of the beholder!

So, here’s a game. Take your best guess and tell me the name of this color, without a color wheel. Want to play?

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“Autumn-ize” White

It’s that time of the year again. The time when the age old “no white after Labor Day and definitely not after the first day of autumn” fashion rule rears its ugly head! Whilst there is no concrete data on how this became a rule, there can still be damning ramifications for those who break code.

Caution: History Alert Ahead! As I was taught, white was worn during “season” – the summer of debuts and cotillions. In order to help distinguish the aristocracy and upper class from the nouveau riche and the middle class, the little secret was hatched. At a glance, social position could be instantly determined. No respectable lady, or gentleman for that matter, would wear white at summer’s end. (They later began teaching the newly rich proper dress codes such as which wool was for walking and which was for shooting matches, black tie vs. white tie, and they gave up the little white secret as well. Then, it became another piece of folklore.) Remember, practicality factored in too, of course. Those were the days of muddy roads, dirty snow-blanketed sidewalks, and most of the elite no longer had servants to unroll a carpet for them to step onto (roll out the red carpet – more on that at a later time).

So, now it’s 2014 and most fashion designers and icons alike are certain they have debunked the code, yet everyone is still talking about it!! I’m certainly not suggesting that anyone follow or break the “no white” rule. However, I also don’t believe in the “anything goes anytime, anywhere” fashions of late. There is a place and time for everything! There is a fine line with late year whites and I believe it can be achieved gracefully not by relinquishing your white pieces to the back of your closet, but rather by intermingling them with autumn colors! Here’s a suggestion: how about we wear our whites, just “Autumn-ize” them. That’s right – add the autumnal colors with white and create a new look. Here’s an example that works (note the dark knee high boots) even if you’re not to the manor born! Autumn-ize White

And a more casual variation for those autumn cooled evenings on the veranda:

Autumn-ize Whites

Here’s another proving that the crisp white shirt will never be restricted by season.

As for white shoes, bags, and jeans – I still follow the rule. Wait, sneakers don’t count do they?

To Swimsuit or Not to Swimsuit??

Here’s another line that has passed into folklore without a shred of evidence: men can carry their middle-aged weight gain better than women. Seriously? Why have we, uhm…mature ladies, decided to accept that? We have even stopped going to beaches due to the dreaded fear of something much worse than jellyfish or even shark attacks – SWIMSUITS!!!!

If we do go, we shroud ourselves in beachwear or huge old fashioned swimwear with built-in tummy binding and thigh hiding skirts. All the while, men frolic about enjoying the sand and surf with their bellies hanging over their swimwear like a child’s inflated pool buddy!! Is it that they just don’t care? Do they know something that we don’t? Or maybe, just maybe, they accept themselves for who they are and are not bound by society’s image of how they “should” look. Ding!!!!, but thank you for playing. I believe the answer is: all of the above! Men NEVER try to mimic supermodels, our society does not look down upon them for their weight gain, and frankly, they just don’t care what others think!

If you’ve ever been to any beach in Europe, you’ve seen quite a few men’s enlarged bellies hanging over Speedos. Now, that’s just not attractive – I don’t care who you are, royalty or not!! To be fair, I’ll admit I was lucky. I didn’t give up bikinis until my mid-forties. Until just a few years ago, I was perfectly comfortable in a one-piece. After menopause and it’s inevitable weight gain, I am no longer up to a so called “fun weekend” at the beach. Insecurity factors in here, certainly, but more prolific are the ideals we have had hammered into our brains since childhood (can we say thank you Barbie doll and Twiggy?).

It’s time for us to stop thinking of ourselves as “not swimsuit ready” and just roll (no pun intended) with the tide and enjoy being alive and active.

I’m about to say something that will shock all men, especially my own husband – we could learn something from men. Oh my, did I just say that out loud?! I did, but, for the sake of us all, don’t tell them! The pleasure is in being at the beach, enjoying the summer, sand, and sun – not caring about how we look in our outfits. As we baby boomers are aging, are we to be the first post-Twiggy generation of post-menopausal women to declare our independence from “ideal bodies” and just enjoy a day at the beach? Let’s post that up – sorry, felt like I needed to say “post” one more time!

Now, to swimsuit or not to swimsuit – that is the question.

All ages, all body types, all sizes. They’re having fun and making memories!

Fifty, Fashionable, & Fabulous! Really???

I keep reading that fifty is the new thirty. Honestly, I feel about thirty most days, but I can promise you fifty is definitely NOT thirty! In my late teenage years, I spent eighteen months under the tutelage of Miss Prentiss learning the social graces a young Southern lady is supposed to possess. Most of what I learned has helped me in both my private and professional life. 20140527-220843-79723721.jpg However, as I’m aging apparently more rapidly than I ever imagined, one of the things I learned is troubling me – “women over forty should dress their age.” What exactly does that even mean? Well, back then it meant matronly suits, low chunky heels, long sleeves, loose trousers paired only with loose, long blouses, and by all means no cleavage or even décolleté! Admittedly, I’ve seen women who could benefit from that piece of wisdom and some of them were in their twenties! When I was eighteen, I agreed with said notion. Now that I’m staring fifty-three smack in the face, I’m thinking that saying has passed into folklore without a shred of evidence!!

Shouldn’t fashion be more about what we like, how we feel in it, and how we look rather than a number? I think so! Am I destined to loose trousers and blouses just because of my age? God, I hope not! Some of the most fashionably dressed, and beautiful, women I’ve seen are over 40, 50, even – dare I say it, 60. Just to be clear, I am excluding Hollywood’s elite for we mere mortals don’t have their stylists, trainers, chefs, dietitians, plastic surgeons, and such.
So, what are we do to – us older ladies? Bow to the rule of “dressing our age” or dress as we want? My vote goes to dress for confidence! Find your own personal style and enjoy it. In the end, all that matters is that we had a good time while we were here, so ladies over forty – let’s unite and debunk the myth!