Stuff at night
Not So Sloppy: Line up here for fashion ‘seconds’
By Emily Bailey
Posted: December 20, 2006

Sometimes, treasure is unrecognizable. At the Portsmouth location of Second Time Around, the designer clothing consignment store (, a Dsquared skirt originally worth more than $2,000 hung unnoticed, priced at a relatively reasonable $200 (reasonable for such a superhot designer). Meanwhile, knowing manager Angela Drew salivated and wondered when someone was going to snap it up. No one ever did, and eventually, she called the seller back to return the gem.


This is an extreme (and tragic) example, but swanky designers, most with better-known names, grace the racks at Second Time Around all the time. When Marc Jacobs, Betsey Johnson, Diane Von Furstenberg and Adrienne Vittadini come together in one room, along with Fendi, Gucci and Coach (among many, many others), it makes for an extraordinary party.

There’s no serious shortage of Seacoast shops in which to buy fancy frocks and sexy jeans. But for most of us, the ones occupying real estate in the so-called district (since when do a handful of stores make a district?) called Fashion Alley, they are seriously pricey. Earl Jeans retail for roughly $140. True Religion? Around $250. Rock and Republic? You’re looking at upwards of $300. At Second Time Around, you can find pristine pairs for a third, and usually less.

It can make one a little incredulous/envious/disgusted to realize that to someone, all of these beautiful goods were just not good enough any more. I can almost hear it. "Gee, this cashmere sweater is just sooo five minutes ago. And this fur? And this leather? I haven’t worn them for at least a month. They’ve all got to go!"

The clothes retail for one-fourth to one-third of the original retail price, but the longer they remain at Second Time Around, the lower the price goes. Color-coded stickers indicate discounts of 20 percent, 30 percent, and 40 percent (on top of the original savings). But even if you don’t care much about labels, and just want to find something of good quality, that you won’t see on everyone else in line at Breaking New Grounds, this is your new shopping destination.

My favorite thing about this store? Angela the manager rivals Patricia Fields (Sex and the City’s fashion mastermind) when it comes to playing dress up in real life. Just take a look at the mannequins in the front window. Their clothes get changed nearly every day, and there’s always a look for everyone, from drag queen fabulous to prim and preppy. Don’t be afraid to just ask her: "What should I wear?" She will tell you — and she will be right.

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