If you’ve followed me for a while, you’ll know my unhealthy obsession with charity/thrift shops, however, I feel less and less alone nowadays as more people turn to second-hand shops to source there clothes. I’m sure this has either come from more people becoming aware that buying consistent new clothes all the time isn’t sustainable, but also that shopping in vintage or thrift shops is becoming a little bit..dare I say it, ‘cooler’ which is a great thing for independent shops and charity shops.
It wasn’t until recently talking to a friend who works for the charity, Guideposts UK, that I learned charity shops are not just part of the second-hand trade market for us, but it is there means to stay afloat and our donations as buyers are absolutely crucial in there funding and who it directly effects. Who, in their case would be those affected by the challenges of caring, ageing, learning disabilities & mental health but also employees of that charity who need a living wage and potentially the volunteers too.
If you’re feeling a bit unsure about thrifting, knowing that your money is supporting charities like these, I’m sure will bring you some comfort.
Right! Tips, Ideas – where to start!
Referencing the above photo, I picked up that delicious green jacket for £6.99 in a Barnardos shop; that 70s collar, extremely good quality wool and adorable cut made it in absolute find, however, unfortunately, there was a button missing. Tip Number One; buying second hand, you may come across the odd defect but for that price and considering the quality, don’t be scared to put it away for something that can easily be fixed.
Top Tip Two; finding those luxurious items. After my video with WYL came out, I had some people asking me that they simply don’t know where to start or where to go to find good charity shops for those odd designer pieces. Thrift shops can honestly be a bit of a minefield, if you like organisation and sizes to be all in order etc, it may not be your favourite experience so here are a list of places where you’d find some thrift shops that have often been vamped up, very spacious and organised.
- The Hospice of St Frances, Berkhamsted
- Mary’s Living and Giving Shop for Save the Children, Pinner
- Barnados, Pinner
- Oxfam, Kings Road Kensington
- British Red Cross, Kings Road Kensington (incredible designer pieces)
- Royal Trinity Hospice, Kings Road Kensington
- Fara, Richmond & Notting Hill
- Mary’s Living and Giving Shop for Save the Children, Notting Hill (this place is one of the trendiest thrift shops I’ve ever been in)
Top Tip Three; Don’t be afraid of a little chaos. My personal favourite shops are the ones that are a bit all over the place, you’ll often find that crazy coat that belonged to the eccentric lady down the road, or a vintage Gerry Weber shirt for the smallest of prices. Here are some of my favourite thrift shops that are a bit more on the wild side and if you’re wanting a good retro bargain.
- Fara, Pentonville Road Angel (Absolutely huge array of things to choose from)
- Any charity shop in Falmouth is an absolute steal
- The Peace Hospice Shop, Watford
- All Aboard, Chalk Farm Road Camden
- Sue Ryder, Camden
- Holloway Road including Scope, British Heart Foundation, Oxfam
Top Tip Four; don’t be afraid to get a little dirty. Now let’s face it, you don’t know where donated items have come from, I’ve found a tissue in the pocket before, I haven’t been impressed by the smells sometimes however they’re really just clothes that have already had a bit of a life before I came along. To be honest, when buying brand ‘new’ from retailers it’s a similar situation; you have absolutely no idea where those fabrics have come from, who made that item and what conditions they were in. All I know is that some volunteer in the back of that charity shop has pulled through endless bags of donations, culled and taken out suitable items, given them a steam and popped them on a hanger for us all to look at it. Once you’re over that inital try on, all it needs a good ol’ wash and tumble and you’ll never think of it again.
Top Tip Five; Pricing. As a bit of a thrift freak, I sometimes get a little irritated over prices where they’ve marked it as the same price in the original shop it came from, however, it all depends where you are and who their audience is. If you’re in Kensington, you’re not going to find a Stella McCartney bag for £20, but you know that the items might be a little more high quality considering who they might be getting donations from. But it all depends on what you’re looking for, I often like finding 1970s pieces so I like to look on the outskirts of London where charity shops haven’t been raided by vintage traders and the garment will have a reasonable price.
Top Tip Six; Travelling and Holidays. The best thing about thrifting is that there could be a treasure absolutely anywhere. You might be in Notting Hill and not find anything, but you could be visiting your aunt in Dorset and that charity shop down the road might have an unimaginable amount of goods.
If you’re looking for inspiration then here is a list of my favourite influencers who thrift shop and some interesting documentaries that may inspire you to become an avid charity shopper.
- Megan Ellaby, Second Hand Haul
- Wear I Live, Youtube Channel
- The Fashion Citizen, Youtube Channel
- Naomi Jamieson, Instagram
- Mary Queen of Charity Shops, Documentary
- Fabulous Fashionistas, Documentary
What I’m Wearing:
Green Jacket | Thrifted (Barnados, Watford)
Purple Corduroy Trousers | Made by Me! (Fabric from Thrift Shop in Falmouth, Cornwall)
White Tee Shirt | ASOS Reclaimed Vintage
Western Boots | Old Zara
Brown Stripe Bag | Thrifted (unknown)
Earrings | Monsoon
If you have any charity shops suggestions, tips, places then let us know in the comment section.
Happy Shopping x x