Monday, September 28, 2015

A Taste of the South - Dinner at Carriage House Chicago

On Wednesday, September 23rd, we were lucky enough to be invited to the Carriage House End of Summer Celebration on their front patio.

Always wanting to stop in and sample their menu, I was excited to try some of
The tasting menu for the evening
their dishes. I am a closet junkie of Southern, comfort food and love a restaurant that not only supports local farming, but also attempts to serve organic and pesticide free produce.

The front patio was comfortable with lots of seating options and upon arrival we sampled some of the rose wines on the menu along with delicious Hush Puppy Ham Pops and refreshing, Chilled Watermelon spiked with Tabasco honey, mint and lime.

There was also a Fried Chicken Thigh Sandwich, served with a pickle that had that perfect marriage of crunchy and tangy that assisted in attaining my
The famous Carriage House Low Country Boil
fried food fix. At the end there was a gorgeous presentation of the signature Low Country Boil - chock full of Carolina shrimp, clams, rabbit chaurice sausage, sweet corn, red potatoes and grilled lemon. It was the perfect overload of savory combinations to end the meal.

It is definitely worth visiting this establishment in the heart of Wicker Park on Division Street if you are tired of the same old, usual fare that Chicago offers. There were a lot of other dishes that looked appetizing, so I will be coming back for the Shrimp and Grits and the Chicken and Dumplings.

For more information on Carriage House go to
Interior of the Carriage House (picture courtesy of the Carriage House)

Monday, September 21, 2015

Cookie's Fashion Empire

Recently, Empire, the wildly new popular show on Fox was filming in our 
neighborhood of West Town, Chicago. Lucky me! I got a chance to meet Terrence Howard who stars as Lucious Lyon. He was so handsome in real life as well as a total gentleman. I asked him if he had a minute to take a picture.

Unfortunately for me, my IPhone storage was full! Luckily, a customer got to take the picture on her phone. As soon as I get the photo from her, I will make sure to post it on the blog.

With all the Empire action going on in our neighborhood and also being a super-fan of the show, I decided to dedicate this blog to my favorite looks on Cookie, the main, fashion-fueled matriarch on Empire.

I was spellbound last year with the fashion styled by Rita McGhee. Taraji Henson aka the character Cookie had taken the fashion threshold to the next level and McGhee's styling equally matches Cookie's fierce, bold personality dressing her in bold animal inspired prints, chic body-con dresses, plush furs and awe dropping, statement jewelry pieces.

Last season as her character grew more bold in the boardroom, so did her wardrobe. Here are a few of my favorite looks from last season. 

Zebra and sequined gown by Balmain.

Bold patterned BCBG peplum top with leather leggings.

A pop a bright colored fur stole and body conscious dress.

A vintage inspired, leopard print jumpsuit with a Chanel statement necklace.

We will be watching this Wednesday, September 23rd as Season Two begins. To find out more about this show go to

Congrats to the show for three Emmy nods last night. Hopefully next year the stars and stylist of this show will receive a much deserved Emmy!

Ciao for now!

Pictures courtesy of Fox TV.


Monday, September 14, 2015

How to Authenticate a Monogram Louis Vuitton Handbag

Quite frequently customers will ask us how we know if a Louis Vuitton is fake. I thought it would be helpful to share some insight to spotting a fake in case you are in the market to buy a resale Louis Vuitton Monogram in the near future.

There are a lot of good replicas out there for sale that can leave a buyer easily fooled. But, if you are true lover of authentic fashion, then here are a few steps to qualify that the resale Louis Vuitton you are shopping for is real.

Today we will start with the traditional Monogram design that is the most common and also the oldest style of the Louis Vuitton handbags.

LV handbags are made with quality materials, so to start with if the hardware, leather straps, or interior fabric of the handbag are lightweight or feel cheap, then it is a fake. Most high-end designer bags are heavier in weight because they use high quality metal hardware, leather hides, fabrics and canvas.

Louis Vuitton Monogram hardware on Monogram styles is always is brass. Over time this metal will darken. As the bag ages, you may see a bluish hue nearby or on the brass hardware. This is a sign that it is authentic and a natural process of oxidization. The gold should not be a bright yellow as most non-authentic bags show. The hardware should also be branded by Louis Vuitton and cheaper replicas sometimes miss this detail. Look also for the logo being centered on the hardware and evenly spaced.

Next inspect the monogram pattern The Louis Vuitton LV pattern should always be centered on the bag. If the
pattern is just slightly off from the seams and not perfectly centered, then there it is a fake. Louis Vuitton carefully ensures to keep the LV pattern centered no matter what the style is. Also the LV pattern should mirror on either side and be a perfect symmetrical pattern that leads to the end. The pattern should perfectly line up on either side of a zipper, etc.
The straps are another way to check authenticity and the sides of the handles or strap have a contrasting red leather detail that over time ages to a deeper brown. If it is an older bag and still has a bright red trim detail, the bag will most likely be a fake.

The stitching on an authentic LV bag is meticulous, for example with Louis Vuitton Speedy bags, there are only 5 stitches across on the bottom of the handle. The Louis Vuitton color of the thread in the stitching should always be a soft yellow and never varies from that color.

The leather of the handles of authentic LV bags start off as a pale tan, but after time and use use should oxidize and turn into a gorgeous darker tan. Especially when the oils from your hand get into the leather where you carry it the most. This is intentional as Louis Vuitton uses a oxidized, high quality cowhide leather.

Inside most Louis Vuitton Monogram handbags, they have a dark canvas lining.
This lining should be heavier and not feel cheap. Although, some styles do have a man made soft microfiber fabric, so make sure to go on the official Louis Vuitton web site to compare the style of the bag to te one you are purchasing.
Date codes are another important way to check authenticity and should be hidden usually under a pocket, inside a pocket or seam. The date code should be an indentation, not stamped and never with a gold, metallic or colored ink. The letters and numbers should be evenly spaced and not close together. Vintage Louis Vuitton handbags made before 1980 most commonly do not have a date stamp. After 1980, the date stamp may be a three digit number, but will have the same qualities as mentioned above to help guide you towards a smart purchase.

The Louis Vuitton date codes from the late 1990's and up are a first two letters and then a series of numbers. The first two letters are the location of the factory. Louis Vuitton handbags are not only made in France, but also in the United States, Switzerland, Spain and Germany. The other following numbers are a guide to the date of when the bag was made.

Here I have included some more information on date codes borrowed from Yoogi's closet. .

This blog forum is another free place to talk to other fashionistas to help authenticate your Louis Vuitton before purchasing it.

I hope that this blog was insightful and guides you in the right direction to owning an authentic Louis Vuitton Monogram handbag. In the future, I will be posting other authenticity guides to buying designer handbags among other fun fashion blog posts I have up my sleeve.

Ciao for now!
Christine Sanderson 

P.S. Did you know that we pay 60% to our consignors for Louis Vuitton handbags? Have one to sell? Contact for more details.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Join us for West Fest this weekend - 15% off $50 or more and clearance sidewalk sale!

Join us for West Fest this weekend!

Receive 15% off your purchase
of $50 or more!

Tons of $5 and $10 clearance items!

Saturday & Sunday, July 11th & 12th 2015
- 12-10 am

Get an early start!
Le Thrift Consignment will be opening our doors at 10:30 am!
DISCOUNT APPLIES TO NON-SALE ITEMS. Don't want to carry your purchases at the fest? No problem.
We can hold your purchases and you can pick them up later.

Le Thrift Consignment
1821 W. Chicago Ave.
Chicago, IL 60622

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

How to Have a Successful Consignment Experience

At Le Thrift Consignment we are always hear from potential consignors about their fears about consigning or dreadful past experiences with other consignment stores.

It led me to wanting to write a post about how to have a successful consignment
experience whether you work with Le Thrift or any other consignment store.

When you are starting to go through your closet here are a few tips to help you choose the right pieces to sell.

1. Make sure that the items are in season and also clean or that they are dry cleaned before you bring them in.

2.  Examine the item and ask yourself is this something I would buy from a store? Is it relevant to what people are wearing now? When was the last time I wore this? Am I ready to give this up and sell it? If the answer is yes on all of these, then put it in your consignment pile.

3. At our store and many others, it is always about the quality of items that come in than quantity. The best items are going to sell and therefore make you money. When new

consignors come in with lots of items to go through and most of it we cannot sell, it is a waste of time for both parties. Bring in edited pieces that you feel would sell and donate the rest to a local charity.

4. Do some research on the consignment store before you walk in. Do they have a reputable business? Check Yelp, Zagat and Google to see honest and real feedback from customers about the store you are about to do business with.

5. Have you looked at their store policies? Usually they list them on their web site along with the percentages. If not, it is wise to call in and see what their policies are before bringing your items in. See if they take appointments or you can stop by anytime during business hours. Some consignment stores offer free pickup or shipping if your items qualify for those services.

6. Check to see if the brands you want to sell are carried in their store. We offer a brand list online to let our customers know what we are looking for and the brands we accept.

7. Fold, hang and pack the items you want to sell neatly into bags or containers. Hanging
your items is even better. Again check with your consignment store how they prefer you bringing your items in.

8. Make an inventory list of the items before you bring them in and have the consignment store employee count the items that they accept. Check these on your list as the ones that were accepted. Knowing the number of items you left gives you reassurance and can give you piece of mind.

9. Make sure you read over the contract carefully. I cannot tell you how many people don't read the contract. It is your items, so take your time and make sure you understand the terms of the contract before you leave.

What happens next is different with each consignment store. Some offer online portals so you can see your sales and accountability of your items. Le Thrift Consignment offers this service to their consignor for a minimum fee. If your consignment store does not offer this service, make sure you at least have a handwritten list that both you and the store have a copy of and have agreed to.

Now on to the fun stuff! How do consignment stores typically price your items? The process is usually pretty universal, but always ask your consignment store first.

1. Items are usually priced to market resale value. For items that are worn, they generally sell from 25-30% of the original retail price depending on the wear of the item. Items that are new with tags generally resale for 50-60% of the original retail price. In very rare cases some items increase in value. For example, a rare Herm├ęs, alligator skin handbag from the 1980's would go up in value.

2. Consignment stores usually pay each quarter. In some cases they might pay cash or pay monthly. Ask your consignment store when they pay. How you will receive payment and when your items will want to be returned. Also ask how long they will sell for and how long they hold on to the items after they stop selling. Will they be donated? Can you get a tax write off? These are all important questions to help you have a successful experience.

3. Markdowns often happen at consignment stores as well. Just like big box retailers, consignment stores need to start marking down items to give customers incentives to buy them. If an item sits on the floor too long at the same price, it becomes a "dead" item. Items that sit too long, usually end up never selling at all. A store will have a certain following of customers and the public dictates what that item is truly valued at. So if your items all sell at the original estimated price, you have done very well. But, most times the items that sit longer will be marked down and ultimately that is better in the long run as your items will sell through and your check will be larger.

3. The last point I want to bring up to you is that most consignment stores are trying their best and reputable at what they do. Try to be a great "business partner" and not always be calling and checking in on your items. There is a fine line between a friendly check-in and being a nuisance. If you feel unsure of something go ahead and ask, but then always give the store time and space to sell the items and you will have a better outcome.

I hope this helps you whether you consign with Le Thrift or consign at your local consignment store. As a consignment store owner, I want to share this information with you so that you can know what to expect and have a great experience.

So ladies, clear out your closet and start making some cash!

Christine Sanderson
Le Thrift Consignment

Monday, May 11, 2015

Discovering Vintage Chicago Book Release Party!

Thursday, May 21st we are excited to announce a book release party for Discovering Vintage Chicago by Amy Bizzarri from 6-9 pm at Le Thrift Consignment.

Meet the author and hear about her experiences with visiting and learning some of Chicago's most famous and "vintage" businesses.

During the event, there will be a vintage, rockabilly styled fashion show. Small bites will be served by some of the books featured restaurants and businesses. Enjoy a glass of champagne and shop consigned, designer vintage and contemporary clothing at 10% off. A portion of proceeds will be donated to Bridge to Success in Chicago.

We were excited to interview Amy about her experiences while writing the book.

What was your inspiration to do the book? 

I was inspired by all the businesses that are unique to Chicago; the historic businesses that
Optimo Hats at 320 S Dearborn St., Chicago
make our city so special. How could anyone step into a fast food joint when we live in a city that has Lem’s barbecue rib tips, Kurowski’s kielbasa, Manny’s matzo ball soup, and Lindy’s chili within reach? You can’t even compare the products and services of the businesses featured in this book with those of mass retailers, either: Just try putting an Optimo hat on your head—you’ll ooze with elegance. Burn a beeswax
lambathe from Athenian Candle and watch it glow longer than any candle you’ve ever lit. Bite into an Andersonville coffeecake from the Swedish Bakery—and you’ll have a hard time returning to the artificial ingredient–laden cakes found at most grocers…Chicago just wouldn’t be Chicago without these historic, one-of- a-kind places, and the people that run them from behind the scenes with nothing but love, hard work, and pride.

In a nutshell, what is the book about? 

Discovering Vintage Chicago is a guide to all of the city’s timeless classic spots that take you back in time. The book spotlights the charming stories that tell you what each place is like now and how it got that way. It includes indexes that let you choose the places you want to visit by neighborhood, by category, and—naturally—by era. Discovering Vintage Chicago takes you to classic restaurants, shops, and other establishments that still thrive today and evoke the unique character of the city. They’re all still around—but they won’t be around forever. 

What is your favorite place to go in Chicago? 

Margies Candies at 1960 N. Western Ave., Chicago
I will always love Margie's Candies. Nothing says summer quite like a Hot Fudge Banana Split from Margie's Candies, with its three jumbo scoops of ice cream, swirls of whipped cream, banana, sprinkling of nuts, wafer cookie and of course, a cherry on top. It's even sweeter if you share the happiness that is a Margie's sundae - so remember to ask for two spoons.

What was the most interesting experiences you had while writing this book? 
I was thankful for the many family members who shared their most cherished memories with me. Their hard work and dedication to their craft, whether it be finding a rare record for
Superdawg at 6363 North Milwaukee Ave., Chicago
a customer, drawing out a perfect draft of beer, or serving an ice cream sundae with a smile - are not only the secrets to business longevity but also what makes Chicago the great city that it is. I also have so many personal memories tied to the places in this book: trips to the Berghoff with my Grandma Lofthouse, during the holidays; taking my own children to Superdawg still in our snowsuits after an afternoon of sledding at Caldwell Woods, spending Saturdays just driving around the city with my parents, both of whom grew up in Chicago.

What is your favorite vintage item? 
I love any and all retro dresses. From the elegance of the '40's to the boho style of the '60's, I am inspired by fashions of yesteryear.  

Where can you purchase the book? It's available now on

Discovering Vintage Chicago - Book Release Party
Author - Amy Bizzarri
6-9 pm
Le Thrift Consignment - 1821 W. Chicago Ave., Chicago IL

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Le Thrift Consignment Now Announcing a New Satellite Location at the Aqua Tower

Starting Monday, April 27th Le Thrift Consignment will have a satellite drop off location at the Aqua Tower downtown located within My Storage Suite.

It is the perfect partnership of storage needs and also consignment services for clients. Le Thrift will have the satellite location open every Monday 12-7 PM and the last Saturday of each month from 10-2 PM. Conveniently located in the famous underground Chicago Pedway - which can be accessed through the Aqua Building at 225 N Columbus Dr., Chicago.

This satellite location will primarily be a drop off location for high end, designer and vintage clothing and accessories. White glove pick up services are also available for clients who live in the Aqua building, Magellan Properties and surrounding area. For a white glove consignment pick up call 312-469-0858 or

Le Thrift Consignment will accepting designer and vintage - men's and women's handbags, jewelry, dresses, tops, jackets, pants, denim that are in trend, in season, damage-free and clean. Le Thrift is selective with what is accepted because important to have a positive sell through experience with each consignor. So it is recommended to bring only the best of what you are thinking to consign.

After the items are dropped off at the Satellite location within My Storage Suite,
your items are inventoried and put into a consignor portal which you will have
access to. These items then will be tagged and put for sale at Le Thrift Consignment's retail location at 1821 W. Chicago Ave, Chicago. Items with a higher resale value will be photographed and listed on our Ebay store for sale as well, offering clients two ways to sell through their items.

Along with consignment services, there are storage options offered by My Storage Suite, including their Anything Trunk and Storage Units. My Storage Suite is a high-end, gorgeous storage development suited to cater to city dwellers storage needs.

For more information on the Le Thrift Consignment process Click Here.