It was the start of a typical Friday at the office, excited for the weekend; we sipped our morning coffee and made small talk at the cubicle of a coworker.  I hadn’t made it to my desk yet; placing my bag on the floor, up against the pin cushion of a wall. 

Rebecca must have had eyes at the back of her head.  She abruptly swiveled her chair around, head pointed down like a seagull diving for fish at the ocean’s surface.  “Whose bag is that?”  I was startled at first, thinking: “Did I invade her space?”  “Umm…it’s mine,” my voice, tentative and separated from the rest of my body as I bent down and reached out to reclaim the bag; feet prepared for departure.  “No, I mean whose bag is that?”  Rebecca replied.  I didn’t know how else to respond other than by once again saying: “Umm…mine.”  Eye roll, sigh of exasperation, Rebecca tried again.  “It’s gorgeous.  Where did you get it?” 

“Oh, you mean who made it?  Well, I don’t know.  It’s vintage.”  Rebecca was done with me!  Disappointment was all over her face.  Mission foiled.  There was no way she could quickly order it on Amazon or head to the mall during lunch to purchase one.  Little did I know that funky, one-of-a-kind bag, sitting lonely on a dusty corner shelf, was a compliment in the making?  As the saying goes, “Imitation is the highest form of flattery.” Let’s give Rebecca a break.  The hunter instinct was in overdrive.  Underneath it all, she really meant to say: “I love your style.”

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The benefits of consignment shopping go well beyond the self-gratifying validation that no one can replicate you.  After all, you are an Original!  Whether it is clothing, jewelry, or home furnishings, we are lucky to have so many great shops close by to make a fashionable expression.  These shops provide us the opportunity to support local business, add vibrancy and authenticity to our main streets, connect us to one another, and do less harm to the planet!

New Leaf Owner, Arleen Gaetani, opened her store in 1994.  Last week, it celebrated its 25th anniversary.  Before “reduce, reuse, and recycle” was part of our jargon, Gaetani was ahead of her time and launched a socially responsible business.  “I wanted to give an opportunity to people to recycle better things and for others to enjoy them at affordable prices.” 

Your day filled with top notch consignment shopping awaits and it starts in downtown Madison.  Happy hunting!

New Leaf                                 16 Park Avenue, Madison

Once and Again                         52 Main Street, Madison and 446 Route 202, Towaco

Opulent Habits                          7 Waverly Place, Madison by Appointment Only

Kid’s Consignment                   34 Lincoln Place, Madison

More excellent finds right outside Madison:

Elite Repeat                              916 Mt. Kemble Avenue, Morristown

4Ever Michelle Couture             4 South Street, Morristown

Taylor’s                                    752 Speedwell Avenue, Morris Plains

Upscale Consignment                831 Route 10, Whippany


About the Columnist: Aura Dunn resides in Morris County with her husband and three children.  A storyteller driven by a passion to bring people together.   With an eye on a world with no labels, Dunn gave the Editor some context for this piece.  “I was that ‘80’s kid that dragged my poor mother from store to store, scouring for the “non-Benetton” rugby and a polo sans the alligator perched on the upper left side of the ubiquitous collared shirt.” Her mother, pleading to end the search and fatigued enough to splurge, resorted to stitching patches of the writer’s choosing from a fabric store to cover up any insignia.