How to Find Gems in Charity Shops

A forementioned in my last post, I do try to shop in a sustainable way.

One of the main ways in which I do this is through visiting charity shops. I do like the more curated vintage shops with cool interiors etc but they do always seem to come with an inflated price tag. That ‘reworked’ velvet shirt I saw at a vintage store for £28 was waiting for me on the rail at £2.99 at the British Heart Foundation. Both are second hand, just one gave me another £25.01 to spend on vegan sausage rolls.

Besides, beyond the obvious low price point and sustainability of charity shop shopping, you’re also giving money to a worthy cause. As well as owning a piece that very few people, or no one else has. My most treasured items of clothing are all second-hand, and they are also some of the items I receive the most compliments for.

All you need initially to successfully charity shop is a little imagination and time to rummage.

Leopard Print Shirt £2, Faux Leather Jacket £14
Processed with VSCO with a6 preset
Skirt £2.99, Faux Leather Jacket £9.99 – this was Zara and had tags on still!

A lot of people I know are put off hitting the charity shops as from afar the rails can seem to have a lot of unwanted crap (some of it is, as with any shop really) but one person’s rubbish is another’s treasure…however that saying goes.

Here are some of my top tips for finding a gem…

May Texture Be Your Guide

In the same way that it is impossible to walk past a big fluffy dressing gown without going to coppa feel, the texture stroking is massively required in the chazza shops. Charity shops are filled to the brim with gorgeous satin, velvet, faux suede and leather trinkets, and identifying these textures will often lead to you to higher quality staple pieces with longevity. Especially in the shirts/blouses department, this is how you will find some real jewels, and it’s faster than looking through everything on the rail.

Aim for the Top

It is so much harder to find well-fitting trousers in a charity shop than tops and jackets, its just a fact of life. Also chances are that most of the trousers will be low-rise or more on the old fashioned side of vintage than the retro cool. I tend to buy my jeans and wide leg trousers high street, then style them up with a vintage shirt or coat and accessories. However you will find some super cool midi/maxi skirts that fulfil all your 90s grunge dreams (see in pics).

Midaxi Skirt £4, Faux Leather Jacket £9.99
Faux sheepskin coat £3.99

Ridin’ Solo

Make like Jason Derulo and take this trip alone. Charity shop shopping requires real rummaging and patience, you don’t want your mate tapping their foot and the end of the rail eager to ditch and go for coffee. Being alone also allows you to think more creatively about your purchases, plus you’ve got no one to talk you out of that MAD yellow Harry Hill Collared mens shirt.

Forget Sizing

Most stuff I buy in charity shops isn’t of my usual size, first of all sizing has changed overtime. I find on the whole for items of more traditional shops like M&S the sizing is a little bigger than say Topshop today. Also, when it comes to shirts and dresses I sometimes shop around 2 sizes bigger either if I want that oversized look, or for dresses if I know I’m going to add a belt. So in order to find a treasure, don’t limit yourself to the rack labelled to your usual dress size.

Dress £2.50
Paisley Zara Blouse £1.99

Throughout the post are some of my shop find of the last year or so, but there are many more!

If you have any questions or want any other tips don’t hesitate to comment below or drop me a line on Instagram!

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