Attitudes to charity shops have changed so much over the past few years. I remember when I was a teenager & it was embarrassing to think you were wearing second hand clothes.
Whereas now people are so much more aware of fast fashion & the effect of excessive consumerism. Charity shops are now a sustainable fashion choice for so many instead of a necessity. Although the fact that you can get gorgeous clothing at bargain prices is an added bonus. The stunning red blazer above was only £5 & is a vintage St Michaels blazer, I adore it. In this blog post I’m sharing my tips for charity shopping.
What’s more, according to the Charity Retail Association, charity shops raise more than £295m for a range of causes in the UK every year – so you’re helping others, as well as the environment and your wardrobe. It’s a win-win-win.
I’ve found so many current high street items in charity shops, in fact when I picked up these gorgeous leopard boots, which were brand new still with the tags attached, a friend commented that she had recently bought the exact same pair for full price!
The main draw for me though is not always the current fashion but the vintage finds too, the clothing that you can create your own style with. Plus the designer finds are a bonus too.
Here’s my tips on how to find the best charity shop buys:
1. GO AS OFTEN AS POSSIBLE
There is always rotating stock in charity shops, some store even process fresh stock to the floor every hour. As they rely on donations or stock passed through other stores, it’s ever changing. There can be different items in every day. I don’t have the time to go every day but I aim to go at once a week to try & get the best items or those designer labels. I ended up in the same shop two days running, the first day I found nothing. The next I found this stunning H&M dress.
2. DON’T JUST BUY IT BECAUSE IT’S CHEAP
I did get into the habit of buying everything I liked as it was so cheap compared to shopping in High Street stores but I now think about what I need & try to find that.
If I see something I like, I have to think about whether I have something similar, how often I’m likely to wear it etc rather than just impulse buying.
3. GO IN WITH AN OPEN MIND
It is a second hand shop essentially so there can be quite a lot of stock that you wouldn’t look twice at but you need an open mind.
If like me you’re struggling with the monotony of the High Street fashion, of everyone wearing the same then look for clothes you can adapt when charity shopping. Would that vintage patterned shirt look cool tied at the waist with a modern pair of jeans? Would that ‘granny scarf’ look fab tied up with a mum bun? Try things on, you could surprise yourself with something you wouldn’t normally wear. That’s exactly how I started to develop my own personal style.
4. LOOK FOR THE CLASSICS
If you’re brand new to hitting the charity shops it can be easy to get overwhelmed as they’re not always set up like your usual clothes shops are. They could simply be in size order, maybe grouped by colour schemes.
Look for the classics, Velvet, tweed, leather and animal print are all must-haves. Start there, and build to more adventurous styles as your confidence grows. I’ve found some amazing leopard pieces, including this stunning blazer.
5. DON’T PAY TOO MUCH ATTENTION TO THE SIZING
Don’t pay much attention to the sizing. Clothes could have stretched or shrank in the wash. I’m a size 10-12 but this striped jumper is an 18 but it looks fab oversized. I try to look for patterns, colours & textures that stand out to me then try them on rather than sticking to looking at clothing in ‘my size’ range, especially as sizing has changed over the years. Vintage clothing really needs to be tried on in store as the dress size on the tag probably won’t work out as the same dress size we currently have in our stores today.
Hopefully these tips will come in useful for you & you’ll not only be restocking your wardrobe sustainably but you’ll be saving yourself some money along with helping out charities too.