Sarah Lyon is a freelance writer and stylist and a friend of The Op Shop! We are thrilled to feature her in the latest edition of Op Shop Talk!
- How did you discover The Op Shop?
I lived in Georgetown right after I moved back to DC after graduate school and loved exploring the neighborhood on the weekends. I am always scouting out antique and vintage shops wherever I live, so naturally I discovered the Op Shop pretty early on and always enjoyed popping in and seeing what was new!
- What was your first consignment purchase?
I bought a lot of vintage and consignment clothing while growing up and in college, and I don’t remember my first finds, but I was always going after older Lilly Pulitzer styles in high school!
- What is your favorite fashion consignment purchase?
A light pink Chanel jacket that will be a timeless staple in my closet!
- What is your favorite décor consignment purchase?
I purchased a petite bust sculpture from The Op Shop in 2019 and have loved styling her around my various apartments—pieces don’t need to be large in size to make a statement!
- Types of items you look for in consignment shops?
I most enjoy shopping for artwork, small decorative accents, and glassware at consignment shops. I’ve found some amazing crystal candle holders and trinket dishes at The Op Shop and am always displaying them around my apartment. Artwork is so much fun to browse through—you can always reframe a piece (or buy a piece just for its frame!) if you want, so don’t forget about that during your search. I’ve also found some really nice lamps while at consignment shops, including a ginger jar style lamp that I purchased at The Op Shop.
- How would you describe your fashion style?
My style is pretty classic, but I LOVE prints and patterns. My closet has very few neutrals! I have recently become more of a shoe person and have always had a weakness for bags. And I believe a bit of leopard print is always a winner!
- How would you describe your home décor style?
I usually call it traditional with a twist; I enjoy adding my own eclectic, contemporary touches to a space. I don’t lean too modern or too grandmillennial, for example, but appreciate elements of each style.
- What are your consignment shopping in-store tips?
It’s helpful to come in with a general idea of things you might need or want, but know that inventory is constantly changing and you can’t set out with a shopping list the way you would when heading to a big box store. You may find some of the items on your wishlist but also come across something you never would have imagined finding—that’s the thrill of the hunt! And visiting the same stores often is key, as new pieces are always coming in and things can move quickly!
- What are your consignment shopping online tips?
Become friendly with shop owners—Instagram is a great tool for doing so! Put a bug in their ear with the items that you’re drawn to so that they can be on the lookout or inform you as such pieces come in. It’s a win-win for everybody and you may learn about new arrivals before the general public does if you establish rapport with a store owner.
- What items would you grab immediately if you saw them being consigned?
Hermès scarves (assuming the price is right!), vintage wicker bags, Orrefors vases...those are some of my favorite things!
- What should someone look for when interested in buying a consigned home décor piece?
It’s always helpful to have shopped around a bit in general so that you know that you’re getting a good deal on an item and are not paying a huge markup on something you could just source yourself on eBay or Etsy, for example. Consignment stores can vary widely in terms of their pricing. You’ll also want to think about ways in which you can use the piece, which may not be obvious upon first glance. For example, vintage ashtrays are having a major moment right now as jewelry dishes and also look chic on a coffee table. Think outside the box if you find a piece you love but are a bit stumped as to how you’d style it.
- What should someone look for when interested in buying a consigned fashion piece?
Of course, you’ll want to try something on before bringing it home with you, and note that vintage sizing isn’t the same as today, so you can’t necessarily just base your decision on the number on the label. Buy pieces you’ll actually wear and can use for years to come. Shopping for clothing at consignment stores is also a great way to ensure that your outfits will stand out, in the sense that not everyone else on the street will be wearing the same piece you are—as much as I love jackets from my favorite mainstream retailers, for example, it can be fun to wear something that I know no one else has!
- What should people be consigning from their closets right now?
If you’re looking to make a bit of money, consign any designer bags, especially those that are vintage—Gucci, Coach from the 1990s and 2000s, and other labels that are making a resurgence right now are going to sell quickly.
- What should people be consigning from their homes right now?
People seem to have really gotten into fun glassware (hello, at home happy hours!) and anything ribbed/fluted in particular is very popular. I’m always looking for such pieces when I’m out shopping!
- What fashion trend do you consider timeless?
Scarves will always be in and can be styled so many ways all year long—or just tie one onto your bag for some added flair!
- What décor trend do you consider timeless?
Ooh, I have to share a few: Jute rugs, ornate mirrors, and cane furniture are all timeless.
- What are your favorite local DC spots?
Thomas Sweet (right by The Op Shop) is a favorite for ice cream, Millie’s (don’t miss out on their frosé!), the Hillwood Museum, Politics and Prose, and Little Red Fox!
- How would you spend your ideal DC day?
I would start off my ideal Sunday morning by meeting friends for an early brunch at Martin’s Tavern. Then we’d walk up Wisconsin Avenue and pop into The Op Shop and browse the Georgetown Flea. After that, I’d walk or take the bus into Dupont and check out the farmer’s market there and wander around Kramer’s (I’m a huge reader). Dinner would be outside at either Cactus Cantina or Lauriol Plaza, because what’s a relaxing weekend day without a margarita?