The resulting shop, originally founded as Hire Style and now extensively remodeled and renamed Style on Lafayette in Suffern, NY, is the largest consignment clothing shop in the Hudson Valley and has been delighting savvy thrifters for well over 20 years. The second-hand and vintage clothing boutique offers a wide array of legendary brands. Names such as Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Prada, Hermes, Yves Saint Laurent, Chanel, Christian Louboutin, Jimmy Choo, Ralph Lauren, and Diane von Furstenberg are happily accepted for consignment, provided they are in pristine condition, clean, and seasonal.
“I’ve always loved vintage. It's my passion,” Kilduff says. “In our Vintage Room, we have beautiful things you can wear with absolutely no danger that 20 other people will turn up at the same place wearing the same thing, and the quality of a great vintage garment is a whole other universe from the ‘fast fashion’ things that are so ubiquitous. I love seeing a 20-year-old put on a 50-year-old dress and be stunned by how it flatters her.”
Thrifting as a Lifestyle
"We’re all very concerned with the recycling aspect and avoiding waste," Kilduff says. "Many things never get worn or get worn only once; why keep creating a demand for them to make more?”
Things that don’t sell are donated to charity. “I work with a great place in New Jersey that helps women coming out of rehab and trying to get jobs [find appropriate clothing], and they are just so grateful,” Kilduff says. “One woman told me, ‘Thank you for making me not look homeless on my job interview.’ That is what life’s about, being able to do something like that.”
Naturally enough, most people who enter Style on Lafayette—among them some very wealthy consigners-slash-customers who swear by the place—are already on board with the idea of thrifting. For those who are not, Kilduff has a swift answer. “I ask them if they ever stay in hotels,” she says. “Because that’s way more ‘used’ than any of my clothes.”
Kilduff herself can’t imagine not enjoying the fun of the consignment world. “If I were a multi-millionaire, I would still be doing thrift,” she says. “I was one of six kids, and Mom just raised me that way. Around the era of Madonna, it became cool again. But it’s always been cool, really.”
But Kilduff no longer has to rely on just the customers who come in, as much as she loves them and even when they’re the Hollywood-on-the-Hudson kind. She now has collections posted on line in Tradesy, Poshmark, EBay and Etsy. “My son set all that up for me,” she says proudly. “It’s amazing. You can just click through and shop.”