Do you want to save money and still look good? Do you want to be original but not so weird-looking people scatter when you approach?
We’ve already looked at the trend towards vintage clothes but how do you make sure you’re more chic than geek? Here’s my take on successful charity shop hopping. Perhaps you have some more you could add?
Be Alert At All Times
A charity shopper never sleeps, or at least never ignores an opportunity to have a good rummage. I’ve found hidden gems (including a fab Zara handbag for £3) by making sure I pop into my local emporia EVRY time I go past them. This is not hard by the way. Some may even say it’s a pleasure. Ahem.
Don’t Be a Snob
So somebody else has worn it? So what? If you buy something from a high street shop it could well have been tried on by umpteen people already. If you make sure you wash/dry clean everything before you wear it, there’s no issue. Is there? In fact there is now almost an inverted snobbery around charity finds – I do tend to get very excited telling folk what a bargain I scored (Yes, Avoca! Yes, £5!!)
I speak from painful experience. My bedroom is heaving with ‘finds’ waiting for me to jazz them up (see below). Be warned, this type of shopping is highly addictive. While you have to be alert to the happy chance treasure, you have to be realistic too – can you really fit 6 extra pairs of shoes in your wardrobe?
When is a skirt not a skirt? When it’s a strapless top. Believe me, this works. Don’t be afraid to experiment, chop and refashion. You could have a look at blogs like NewDressDay.com , the fashion bogs hosted by Oxfam and to a very minor degree, my little corner StitchThis.net . There’s loads of inspiration out there. Chopping has never been so chic.
Know Your Stuff
You have a better chance of spotting stuff you’ll love and wear if you know what to look for. DO you favour a particular designer or brand? I go for Hobbs, Boden and Avoca. And I have a wardrobe full of those and similar labels to prove it, all sourced from my local charity shops. DO you like specific colours, prints or styles? My weakness is flippy skirts which I wear over leggings – I’m wearing one now in fact. That, and necklaces. As you get more familiar with your local shops you’ll work out which are more likely to be up your metaphorical style street. But don’t forget Rule Number One!
Be Sensible With Your Cash
Oh I know, here comes the boring stuff…but it will save you future heartache either financial or storage related or both.
Recently a lot of charity shops have started hiking their prices. There are conflicting views as to whether this is appropriate, after all they have to make money, but regardless of your ethical stance it clearly doesn’t make sense to pay over the odds. Charity shop no longer automatically equals bargain, sadly. For example, if you see a beautiful silk dress as I did recently then you might be happy to pay say £20 for it. Let me note that £20 is a LOT for anything for me! On the other hand if you see a tatty off the peg (albeit Designer but a diffusion line) number for £89 then my advice is to walk away, purse intact.
SO, I hope you enjoy your next exploration of your local establishments – send us a picture of your finds so we can all admire your new, one of a kind, look!
Thanks to Stitch for this great article. Her blog StitchThis.net is chockablock full of great crafty ideas. Go check it out.
Featured image copyright of StitchThis