A guide to charity shop chic

Bethany Jones
Written by bethy143

A lot of young people believe that charity shops are musty places full of relics from the past which are only visited by the elderly, meaning that they steer well away from them. What they don’t realise is that charity shops are actually full of hidden treasures, and that many of the clothes in them are unworn with the labels still in tact. A lot of the clothes may only have been worn once, or they may be vintage, or designer.

The reason that I initally started shopping in charity shops was because my mum has always been really into it. She always came back with great finds, and eventually I got into it too. Since moving out to live on my own, I’ve started to check out charity shops even more.This is not me being cheap but simply being style savvy. Why trek around the high street, spending money on clothes that will soon go out of style, when you can visit a charity shop and get kitted out with an entire outfit for around twenty quid? Last week I went into a charity shop, purchased a gorgoeus pair of heels, a pair of brogues, a kimono, a jacket and two dresses for less than that. The dresses were from H&M and still had the labels in, and the heels look unworn and are from Debenhams. If this isn’t a bargain, then I don’t know what is.

If you’re going to charity shop though, then you need to know a few things first. Therefore, I’ve put together a guide of how to get the most out of the experience.

1. Don’t be intimidated– Seeing as charity shops are usually quite quiet, and full of people who are perhaps not in your age range, it can seem a bit daunting to walk right in . You might feel as if you don’t belong there. But ignore this fear; I promise that once you get inside you’ll find that no one cares that you’re there. I’ve also found that the staff in charity shops are super friendly, probably because they’re volunteering their time there.

2. Pick a charity shop which has a changing room- If you’re lucky enough to be the type of person who can pick up an item of clothing and it immediately fit, then I wouldn’t worry about this one. But for a lot of us, we like to try before we buy. It’s really frustrating to find something in your size and then realise that there’s no changing room so you’ve no idea if it’s worth a buy. As a student, despite charity shops being cheap, we still like to know that our student loans are being well spent. Sometimes if they don’t have an actual changing room, it’s worth asking a member of staff, as charity shops often allow you to try on in the backroom.

3. Check the clothes for hidden wear and tear- Although staff check the clothes before they put them out on the rails, sometimes they miss things. Therefore it’s always worth checking for yourself before you purchase.

4. Don’t buy things you don’t need- Yes, it’s inexpensive, but would you really buy that if you were in a high street shop? If the answer’s no, then put it back down. There’ll be an owner for it somewhere out there and it’s not you. A couple of years ago I went through a phase of buying things from a chairty shop that I never actually wore. It lended up clogging up my wardrobe, and I eventually got too frustrated and took them back to a different charity shop. 

5. Spend a good amount of time browsing everywhere– If you don’t look over the entire shop, you might miss a fabulous buy. Often charity shops are quite muddled, and it can be difficult to see everything that there is at first glance.

6. Persevere!- Just because at first there doesn’t seem to be anything that you’d wear, don’t give up. Keep searching! It can be difficult to sift through what’s bad and what’s good, but eventually you’ll find that something special. 

Do you like charity shop shopping? If not, would you give it a chance?