The stylish secret behind the coveted closets of Dallas' fashionistas
The women of Dallas are known for their impeccable style, bringing their fashion A-game at galas, luncheons, society events, and everyday outings. Their secret to always looking so put-together and of-the-moment? Clothes Circuit, the consignment boutique located in Preston Center.
At any given moment, savvy shoppers can choose from 500-700 different brands and close to 12,000 pieces. From Gucci to Chanel, Christian Louboutin to Jimmy Choo, and Lululemon to Athleta, the brands are top-tier and incredibly sought-after. Currently, there are more than 4,000 active consignors — it's not unusual for women who have moved from Dallas to still ship and consign with Clothes Circuit, meaning that the merchandise mix is not only from closets around Texas but also Massachusetts, Colorado, Washington, New York, Connecticut, California, Florida, and Oklahoma.
This high-end shop has been a pioneer in the Dallas resale scene since 1983, when Irene Mylan and her then-partner, Ethel Sexton, correctly gauged the changing economic landscape and shifting attitude toward shopping secondhand. Mylan's mother was a devoted thrift store shopper, and Mylan now credits Clothes Circuit's enduring success to the lessons she learned while accompanying her mother on shopping trips.
"I am grateful that my mother's powerful persuasion led me to create Clothes Circuit, a place that openly celebrates the thrill of finding a bargain," says Mylan. "I think she would be delighted to know that resale is now quite chic."
Mylan, a graduate of USC and Stanford University, began her career in social services and was an environmental lobbyist in Oregon before moving to Texas. When she first opened Clothes Circuit, it was a tiny shop of just 14 consigners (mostly friends). Within four months, that number had ballooned to 200, and now, 35 years later, 752 consigners are still "originals" who have been active since the beginning.
At the time of Clothes Circuit's opening, only 10 percent of the consigners were also shoppers; today, well over 50 percent regularly turn in their gently used clothing and accessories and walk out with new wardrobe finds.
"When a car went through the front window of the smaller store on Sherry Lane, luckily before opening time, and shoppers and consignors still walked through the shattered plate glass to shop and drop off clothing, I knew the enterprise was a successful one," says Mylan.
Since new items appear daily, locals frequently pop in to ensure they don't miss one-of-a-kind 'deals' on the latest pieces. Professional women who travel to Dallas for business or conventions make it a point to visit, and during any holiday the store is packed with out-of-town families partaking in their shopping traditions.
"I have thoroughly enjoyed working at Clothes Circuit for 30 years for several reasons," says sales manager Adelaide Elliot. "Largely because of our friendly owner who laughs a lot, and the interesting people who come to the store from all over the globe."
Elliot isn't alone in her devotion to Mylan and the store — the average length of employment at Clothes Circuit is nine years. To help give back to the community that has embraced them so warmly these past 35 years, Mylan and the Clothes Circuit team will be donating $1 for every item they sell to a different local charity each week during the month of March. The recipients are:
- March 4-10: Community Partners of Dallas, which aids abused and neglected children.
- March 11-17: Suicide and Crisis Center, which assists those in mental or emotional distress.
- March 18-24: The Family Place, which empowers victims of family violence through safe housing, counseling, and skills that create independence.
- March 25-31: Dallas Women's Foundation, which invests in women and girls and empowers women's philanthropy to build a better world.
As a special gift to shoppers, Clothes Circuit is also offering an anniversary gift with any purchase of $150 or more: a complimentary facial at spa810 Preston Center. Clothes Circuit teamed up with spa810 to create a facial treatment designed to rapidly and safely resurface the skin, diminishing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles while smoothing, softening, and encouraging overall skin rejuvenation.