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Two-Minute Guide to Authenticating Hermes scarves

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When you're at a tag sale you don't always have a lot of time to make sure you're buying the real deal. There are 40 other people standing over your shoulder waiting to grab everything in sight and the coordinators need to get you in and out as quickly as possible so there isn't, you know, MADNESS.

Nevertheless I've scored some awesome, authentic pieces for great prices. Here's how I do it in two minutes with Hermès scarves.
  1. Touch it. Silk feels like silk. Hermès silk feels like the best silk.
  2. Look at the overall print. Everything should (obviously) be clear/unblurry.
  3. Check for "© Hermès" on the upper left corner of scarf.
  4. Check fabric content tag. Written in French or French & English side-by-side.
  5. Look for "Hermès.Paris" (along bottom edge, typically), scarf title, artist signature (not present on older scarves).
  6. Look for front-facing hand-rolled hand-stitched hems.
  7. Use body parts for measurement. I know offhand my hip measurement is around 35" (the exact length of a large Hermès scarf!) and the tip of my middle finger to the inner crook of my elbow is around 15". Knowing a couple of these body part measurements is a great way to surreptitiously measure things so no other shoppers get too interested in what you're holding and no sellers jack up the price on you.
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Even after I've checked all of these things, and even though I know my shit, I only take a chance if the price is an amount of money I'm comfortable losing.

Have you scored any seriously good, authentic designer merchandise at a steal at a sale? Share in the comments or email ali@tagsalestyle.com.

I think it goes without saying, by the way, that once you have one you should wear it All. The. Time.

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  1. Hermès Concerto scarf from an estate sale in Great Neck
  2. Calvin Klein dress from a tag sale in Great Neck
  3. Jean-Michel Cazabat gold wedges, stolen from my mother
  4. Crazy vintage dangling earrings from tag sale in Flushing
  5. Dior Zeli sunglasses from Nordstrom Rack in Westbury


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The only four things you should have on your yard sale sign

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I've seen many thousands of signs for tag, estate, moving, yard, garage sales over the years. A lot of people try to overcomplicate their signs with unnecessary information ("Something for everyone"  I DON'T BELIEVE YOU; "Make 2nd L on Orion and 3rd R on Clarendon" I CAN'T READ THAT) and lose a lot of traffic as a result. Here are the only four things you should put on your sign.
  1. The words "Yard Sale." (Or "Garage Sale," "Tag Sale," "Estate Sale," "Moving Sale," etc.)
  2. The day, date, and time of the sale. ("SAT, 6/17 10-4")
  3. The street address. ("1313 Mockingbird Lane")
  4. A big giant arrow indicating which way your sale is. (← ↑ →)
That's it. I  really do see people write complicated directions, descriptions of items for sale, telephone numbers, all kinds of crazy, unnecessary things. No one can memorize your complicated directions while driving by your sign at 30+ mph. No one can read your list of items for sale unless they are on foot (in which case they're not walking a mile and a half to your sale) and, more often than not, you're scaring off customers who don't think they want the exact things on your list. Keep all this extra stuff confined to your online advertisements for your sale. With your sign, just get your random passersby there and let them judge for themselves.

People need a lot of blank space between your writing to absorb what's written on your sign at all. So keep it simple.

Also, keep it in this order. The first thing someone driving by will need to know is: is that a sign for a yard sale or for some guy who washes windows? The second thing they'll need to know is: is this sale currently going on? Then, finally, they're ready to know exactly where to find your sale. Don't waste your time making the shaft of your arrow thick; just make sure the head is full and easy to read.

Enjoy maximizing your street traffic.

Agree? Disagree? Have an embarassing story or angry rant about street signage for a sale? Let's hear about it in the comments, or email ali@tagsalestyle.com.


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What to wear to a summer tag sale

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When you're visiting a good tag sale, there's a good chance you're going to have to wait in line. Even when you're not early birding and dealing with number systems and dealers. Do this at enough homes in a day, or for long enough at one particularly good estate, and the sun starts taking its toll. These are my tag sale line essentials.
  1. A wide brim hat. I like this particular Missoni for Target hat because it's really lightweight felt.
  2. Medium or dark tinted sunglasses with UVA/UVB protection. And a nice shock of red never hurt anyone.
  3. SPF 40+. I'm in love with this one by Shiseido right now: Shiseido Urban Environment UV Protection Cream Broad Spectrum SPF 40 For Face/Body. People say anything above 30, but all I can tell you is these dials go to effing 11, my friends. I'm also a fan of the Neutrogena sunscreens but I've been favoring this one because it does face and body and doesn't sting my face.
  4. A lightweight shawl to protect my skin and allow airflow. Again, Missoni for Target is my hero. It was the best quality of all the recent Target collabs. A cardigan, denim jacket, hoodie draped over your shoulders works in a pinch, too.
  5. Water. I infuse with strawberry and basil, blackberry and lemon, any combo of fruits and herbs I have on hand to keep the water interesting. I also toss in some chia seeds.
  6. Snack bar. During the Lunchtime Lull is the best time to peruse a tag sale in relative peace and quiet, so I have a snack on hand in case there are too many good sales in a day. ;)

Cue brief, unrelated tangent in which I show off my "new" sterling & turquoise Navajo bracelet:

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I got it at Brimfield y'all. Isn't it the most?

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Incidentally, I like to wear a lot of tag/estate sale finds when I'm visiting sales. It's called SHOWING OFF. ;)


  1. Plein Sud top & skirt from a tag sale in Manhasset.
  2. Missoni for Target hat & shawl, both scored at Target in Westbury.
  3. Dior sunglasses from Nordstrom Rack in the Gallery at Westbury Plaza.
  4. Mulberry bag from a tag sale in Plainview.
  5. Turquoise & sterling Navajo bracelet from Brimfield.
  6. Lace ankle socks from Sock Dreams.

Do you wear a lot of secondhand? What are your tag sale-ing essentials? Let's hear about it in the comments below or email me at ali@tagsalestyle.com



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Tag/Estate Sale Ethics: A Manifesto. Make sure to follow number 4 above all else.


Guidelines every tag sale company should be following.
  1. Make fair prices for both clients and buyers.
  2. Protect/secure any off-limits areas/items.
  3. Research market value on the stuff you don't know.
  4. Do not misrepresent any items. Disclose any imperfections or problems you're aware of in an item and encourage buyers to carefully examine anything they're buying.
  5. Control the number of people in the home and make sure everyone leaves with what was paid for.
  6. Do not sell any items you cannot legally sell.
  7. Manage your clients' expectations. Make them aware of fair market value for their items and help them understand what will go on inside their homes.
  8. Accurately advertise items for sale.
  9. Remove all conflicts of interest related to purchasing items from your own sale. (This one was supplied by Bronwyn at Fine Design LLC. Thanks, Bronwyn!)
  10. Make sure you have enough staff covering areas crowded with small items. (Suggested by Lisa of Antique Revival Sales. Awesome, Lisa.)
  11. Do not disappoint shoppers by advertising/picturing items you have sold in advance. Make sure everything you advertise is there for the day of the sale. (Emailed in by Heidi of Sweet & Harding. Getting this right can make or break your business - excellent, Heidi.)
  12. Be transparent about how unsold items will be disposed of. Avoid conflicts of interest and suspicion that items aren't selling so you can claim them free of charge later. (From comment by Richard at Estate Services. Such an important one. Thanks!)
Have something to add? Tell us what else would be on your manifesto in the comments or by emailing ali@tagsalestyle.com. If we agree, we'll add it on!

Think it's all been covered? Feel free to just pledge to follow these rules by leaving your company name and link in the comments below.



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New Direction for Tag Sale Style


Hey, all. Just wanted to let you know about some new directions we'll be heading in together here at Tag Sale Style. There will still be tag/estate sale fashion and home decor finds. There will still be posts about how to clean and repair items bought at tag sales. There will still be wackiness.

But now there will also be:
  • Exclusive inside looks at upcoming tag sales.
  • Education on how to become a tag sale company and how to grow our already-existing companies.
  • Extra wackiness.
Can't wait to take on these new adventures together. Thanks so much for reading and being part of this with me. You're what it's all about.

If there's something you're struggling with, or something you've always wanted to know about the tag sale business, leave a comment below or email ali@tagsalestyle.com and I'll make sure your question gets answered. :)


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Smokin' Hot Winter in 7 Easy Pieces

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I was speaking with a friend who, not having grown up here in the Northeastern US, found herself at a complete loss when it came to looking cute and feeling warm in a New York winter. This outfit is for her and anyone like her. If I'm maybe a little more outlandish with my clothes than you are, just adapt the concepts. :) So. Let's talk layers.