A shares her most valuable shopping secret: the charity shopThe charity shop steal is now a viable fashion find. The rise of the Great British high street means that hot-off-the-catwalk styles can be found almost too easily. Scouring vintage boutiques was once alternative and affordable but is on its way to becoming just as élite and budget friendly as a trip to New Bond Street. The last bastion of value shopping is the local charity shop, and even that now is being ravaged by the fashionista and lauded by the style columnists. Pot. Kettle. I know.
Now, I ask you to take me at my word; I have always shopped in charity shops. My Mum has always been a thrifty, creative sort of soul, and an after-school trip to a charity shop was a happy treat. This habit of shopping in charity shops ensured I had something unique through my uni years, saw me through my lean, mean first years in London, and now provide me with absolute fashion gems.
Quite apart from the one-off status of the pieces to be found in your local Octavia or Marie Curie, buying this way fits with my aim to shop more sustainably. At a charity shop, I can shop slowly, not determined by trend or season, and buy quality clothes, finding use from other’s waste. In turn, I know my pre-loved goods will find an equally loving new home.
The final benefit is possibly the most obvious, the fact that in said charity shops, though they may ask way above retail value for an H&M vest top, you may just as likely find yourself paying £20 for a Cos dress or £40 for a pure wool MaxMara dress. (All real examples, if you’re sceptical.)
A New Kind of Dress
This dress is stunning, incredibly well-made in a structured, thick wool, it fits like a glove and makes me feel a million dollars. Likely as not I would’ve looked at it in Cos and been convinced it wasn't really me, but having bought it for only £20, I love it! In fact, this dress might be the beginning of a new look for me!
Not Just Any Cropped Jumper
This is not just any cropped khaki jumper, this is an old-school M&S jumper. You know, from the days when M&S was a revered retailer of quality garments that every Mum would swear by. Side note: happy to say M&S’ quality is still good and their collections are getting better with each passing season. Oh, and it was £9.
As I recently discovered, I have a slight shirt problem. For you it may be bags, shoes, jewellery even, but me, I love shirts. And trainers. And accessories. But shirts, for me they are an outfit solution in themselves. Smart or casual. Winter or Summer. A shirt is the answer. So a good quality shirt, especially a Fenn Wright Mason or Jaeger shirt for nine of my good English pounds is a good deal by me.
My latest charity shop hauls are from my new local haunt in Richmond, where although the prices are nowhere near dirt cheap, they are still very reasonable. The quality of donations is high and you are undoubtedly helping a good cause. These savings mean I can use the money I do have to spend in a more considered way, shopping somewhere with great ethics, buying better quality clothes with longevity. It’s a win-win situation.