I love charity shops. One of my favourite things to do on a solo weekend is to take £10 and have a good browse. More than often it’s just books and nick-nacks I come away with (I bought a vintage shortbread dish a few months ago – it’s so cute!) but I’ve gotten some pretty fabulous fashion bargains too. I’m quite picky with the clothes I pick up from a charity shop, only ensuring I come away with real gems, so here’s the questions you should be asking yourself before parting with your cash…
1. Do you really need it? Will you wear it?
If you’ve got a wardrobe rammed with clothes you don’t wear already, it’s probably wise not to add to it. There’s also the big question of whether it will actually get worn. You may love the statement skirt, but if you know you aren’t brave enough to wear it it’s best to leave it.
2. Is it actually a bargain?
I’ve noticed recently that you can pick up a lot of lower-priced brands in charity shops – I’m talking Primark, New Look, Peacocks etc. I have no problem with this, but I do take a bit of exception to the price being charged. Most charities have a set price for items, which is fair enough. But I’m not paying £2.50 for a second hand Primark t-shirt that’s seen better days when they are £3 new in-store. I try to go for high-end brand, or at least the more pricey end of the high-street!
3. Does it fit?
If it doesn’t fit, the likelihood is you won’t wear it. And then it’s not a bargain. Having said that…
4. Could you alter it?
Complete contradicting my last point! But there are occasions where you find something so exciting, so should-be-expensive that even if it doesn’t fit, it needs to be purchased. Most clothes can be taken in by up to two sizes, bottoms can be added if missing, hems can be taken up or let down. If the changes seem feasible, go for it! Just remember to factor in the cost of alteration when considering the price.
5. Is the condition good?
Yes, most charities check items but things still filter through. Check there’s no damage that can’t be fixed, no dodgy stain and (most importantly for me) no odour. Gross but true.
Having said all of this, thrifting clothes is great for switching up your style and experiment – you can test out if you feel comfortable in something completely different without spending a fortune.
Image: The Lovecats Inc– one of my favourite blogs!
Other top tips;
- Pick and choose your area – charity shops in a more affluent area tend to stock better quality brands, simply by default through donations.
- Learn when stock rotates – pop in regularly and chat to staff, or even volunteer yourself.
- Take cash – most have a card spending limit.
- Try not to be too specific – don’t go in think ‘I want some Topshop Joni jeans’ but instead ‘I’d like some nice fitting jeans.’ You are more likely to find great bits if you aren’t searching for a particular item.
Do you buy from charity shops? What’s your best bargain?