Consignment shoppers (credit: Laurie Jo Miller Farr)

Last year we gave you this list of the best vintage stores, and this time we’re exploring the city’s best consignment stores. Sellers should read the fine print at each location carefully – as the split will differ, markdowns could occur and unsold items could be donated to charity. Buyers will enjoy searching for the treasures to be found at these five best consignment stores in San Francisco.

Simply Chic (credit: Laurie Jo Miller Farr)

Simply Chic
3038 Fillmore St.
San Francisco, CA 94123
(415) 775-2888

Who couldn’t use another little black dress? Behind the pastel pink awning just off Union Street lies a collection well worth seeing. Carefully curated items include especially good quality designer handbags from Chanel, Hermès, Louis Vuitton and other designer brands, looking every bit like new. If a Birkin is on your wish list, come in and talk to owner May Warren. The same goes for the shoes, belts, scarves and jewelry that make the outfit. Perfect for San Francisco is the cashmere sweater section. No appointment is necessary for sellers of gently-used contemporary designer women’s clothing, shoes, jewelry, watches and handbags. Free house calls within the Bay Area can be arranged. The general consignment policy is 50/50, up to 70/30 for special items.

Cris Consignment
2056 Polk St.
San Francisco, CA 94109
(415) 474-1191

With new arrivals every day, you just never know what you’ll find at Cris Consignment. It’s a good idea to stop in if you’re conducting a search around a particular color, as that’s how the collection is arranged, rather than by size. More than 30 years in the business has confirmed that designers have different sizings, and some items have been altered. Some people love this arrangement and others find it difficult to adjust to. There’s a mix of top designer names from Alaïa to Zac Posen, as well as department store favorite brands in too-packed rails. A small men’s section is available also. Consignors get 50/50 of sold items and should be diligent about collecting unsold items.

Decades of Fashion (credit: Laurie Jo Miller Farr)

Decades of Fashion
1653 Haight St.
San Francisco, CA 94107
(415) 551-1653

Decades of Fashion is the intersection of consignment and vintage. You’ve never seen so many cowboy boots. Browse rails upon rails — touching the clothing by the hanger, not by the garment sleeves, says the signage — all arranged by decade. Gentlemen’s dressing gowns, feathered boas, elbow-length Jackie gloves, flapper dresses…whatever you can imagine having, Decades of Fashion is likely to have from Victorian era through the 1980s. This kind of shop tends to have fine print (a no returns policy) and wannabe museum air (which it kind of is), so shoppers will have a better experience if they indulge the quirkiness, but ask questions first.

Designer Consigner (credit: Laurie Jo Miller Farr)

Designer Consigner
3525 Sacramento St.
San Francisco, CA 94118
(415) 440-8664

The family owned and operated business has a second location at 563 Sutter Street near Union Square. Service is friendly and personable, the inventory is medium-sized, in a medium price bracket, and is manageable for browsing. There’s always a special corner for the Chanel, Gucci, Burberry, Prada and other high-end designer items that come in. Incredible finds do pop up now and again, but these two shops are primarily reliable for career-oriented and casual basics, plus some coats, jackets, shoes and handbags. There’s no need for a seller’s appointment, to whom the shop offers 40 percent of sold items. No website is available, so stop on by in person.

3464 Sacramento St.
San Francisco, CA 94118
(415) 346-6388

Look to the right, look to the left. Goodbyes has two outlets across the street from one another. This is one of the few consignment shops with a men’s section of mostly casual. Across the street, the main women’s store has rails from floor to ceiling, chock-a-block full with items in too-narrow aisles, testing a shopper’s stamina for reaching way up or squatting to see blouses. Better placed are separate rails for Chanel, St. John’s, gowns and newly arrived items. At the rear, a rather large shoe section has fairly quick turnover with a separate shelf for a few dozen of the better labels. Goodbyes is always worth a look, but the buying experience is nicer than the selling experience.

Laurie Jo Miller Farr loves walkable cities. A tourism industry professional and transplanted New Yorker by way of half-a-lifetime in London, she’s writing about the best of the bay and beyond for Yahoo, USA Today, eHow, and on