Sunday, May 5, 2019

Poshing All the Way

When I moved to Arizona from New York in 2002, I intended to retire THEN.  I gave away all my wool suits and bought a few pairs of shorts to ready myself for the transition.

As it turned out, I spent another three years working in insurance, and then transitioned to freelancing as a website and graphics designer.  I've done marketing and social media work for a church for the last 6 years.  This has meant buying a variety of additional work clothes.

In the meantime, depending on whom I was eating with and the general environmental stress, my weight fluctuated up and down (two or three times) within a range of 50 pounds.

So, as of two years ago, I had closets crammed with mostly unwearable clothing.  Some - like my full-length cashmere coat - were relics of my days in New York that could never be worn in Arizona.  Others were suits from my insurance office time here that hadn't seen the light of day in years.  I had more formal wear than anyone no longer attending proms needed.  And, of course, I had clothing in sizes ranging from 6 to 14, most of which no longer fit.  In addition, I had mounds of accessories - scarves, necklaces, bags, shoes, earrings, lapel pins, you name it - that only coordinated with unusable clothing.

I can't say I went full-out KonMari on the first try, but I did send numerous sacks of clothing to Goodwill and to the Justa Center, a resource for homeless seniors.  I recycled or threw out anything in too sad condition to donate.  I sorted out the nicest things to take to a consignment shop.  Then I stalled.

Seriously, no consignment shop in this area would take my heavy winter coats or my nice suits because they can't sell them; people here don't wear that type of clothing.  Most of the local consignment shops also won't take jewelry, or if they do, return pennies on the dollar.  I needed another solution.

That was when I found Poshmark.  I think of my Poshmark closet as my online rummage sale.  It's not a true consignment shop because the sellers hold onto their own merchandise until it's sold - it's more like a clothing-and-accessories-only version of EBay.  Sellers post photos, descriptions, and prices of their items.  When a buyer buys an item, Poshmark emails the Priority Mail postage to the seller, who wraps the item and ships it off.  Poshmark takes a commission for each sale (and just recently started collecting sales tax).  You can redeem your sales for cash, or use them as credit to buy items from other sellers.  In addition to selling used items, many sellers offer new boutique brands.

I've been steadily selling an average of one or two items a week for the past two years, which has cleared out considerable space in my real life closets and jewelry box.  I've also managed to buy some amazing treasures, frequently never-worn or worn-once items at a fraction of their retail price.  The cycle looks something like this:  I sell one or more items I will never wear again; I use the credit to buy something else that I actually need; as the new items come in, I put more of the old up for sale. Occasionally I'm not happy with a purchase (the instep on the shoes is too low; the dress is too high-waisted); in that case, I just re-posh it.  (Returns are not allowed when fit is the only issue - I try always to ask questions if I am unfamiliar with the fit of a certain brand.)

The most unexpected benefit of this process is that I unwittingly used it to put together a capsule wardrobe.  In the past I always traveled with an interchangeable mix of black, white, and red items, but the colors of my everyday wardrobe were all over the spectrum.  Now that I've weeded out the pieces I don't wear and have bought replacement items I really love, my closet is almost entirely neutrals with navy and burgundy accents.  Having realized this, I put more of the "color orphans" up for sale and have been refusing to buy other outliers.

Thanks to Poshmark, my wardrobe is now smaller but more functional than it's ever been.  Everything in my master closet fits and flatters and most of the pieces work together.  The overall effect is a put-together casual vibe that works for my current job and should not be too fussy for the day I become a lady of leisure.

At my current rate of sales I expect at least another two years of poshing pleasure, which is just fine.  This is "slow fashion" at its best!

Have items just hanging in your closet? We know the feeling. List items for sale on Poshmark in less than 60 seconds. Sell what you have in your closet so that you can shop for what you really love today!  ~"How Poshmark Works,"

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