As promised in this post here are my tips for successful charity shopping taken from my experiences of shopping and actually working in these amazing places..
Some of my favourite charity shop jewellery finds.. And each piece cost me under £5 !!
Where to start..
Ok, so you want to try charity shopping but haven't a clue how to.. My first tip is start with the accessories. Charity shops stock endless amounts of unique, one off pieces at teeny tiny prices. Sometimes you don't even need to go into a shop to get a feel of what they have to offer. Both the amazingly good and amazingly bad window displays are constantly being added to as people buy and also donate different items. With endless supplies of scarves available from as little as pennies they're perfect for either wearing as a scarf, a headband, tying round your bag or using it to add a customised pocket to your plain t-shirts. Before you know it, you've started to charity shop..
Getting to know your charity shops (Yes, really)
We all know of a charity shop that doesn't have the best reputation. Maybe it's in a not so nice part of town, or there are just a few sad coat hangers and a faded picture in the window. Until you go in, you can't be sure you're not missing out on a host of vintage treats. Did you know Urban Outfitters donate to charity shops?
Yep, it's quite well known that in a nicer part of town you'll probably find some nicer bits and pieces.. But you might also be faced with a higher price tag.
Regular visits to your local charity shops gives you an idea of what they sell and how often they update their stock. The ladies at the shop I used to work in were obsessed with Marks and Spencer, slapping the highest price tags on and refusing to reduce M&S items because in their opinion 'you can rely on St. Michael's.' At the same time, they weren't so hot on 90s Topshop and Miss Selfridge..
A few of my local (and favourite) charity shops
Just as with high street shopping, it's good to have a budget when charity shopping. It'll help you work out what you really want, if you really will wear it and guaranteeing the overall satisfaction of getting a real bargain. Don't forget to leave a bit of money spare if you don't have the expertise or inclination (like myself) to customise clothes. Leave it to the professionals (for only a few extra pounds..)
Have something in mind
I love finding something that I can go into a high street store and say 'I found something just like that in a charity shop for a fiver!' Other times High Street stores serve as inspiration before starting your charity shopping. Looking at Topshop today; the 90s are making a comeback, grunge is big, you're a weird if you don't have tie-dye in your wardrobe and pastels are the colours to wear for summer.. I guarantee if you know what you're looking for, you are more likely to find it, or versions of it, or at least find items that will work with what you already have in your wardrobe..
Customise and accessorise
Need I say more.. ?!
Look through EVERYTHING
When I'm charity shopping I head straight to the dress section. They are my charity shop weakness. But I don't just look through my size. I start from the smallest and end on the biggest. So many times I've found something a little bit too big and rather than putting them back on the rail I've stuck a belt on, wore oversized or cut up and customised. Same with smaller sizes.. 'Er, hello. My tummy is meant to be on show..'
And don't just stick to the women's section. Get amongst the men's.. Men's items are usually cheaper as it's harder to sell, but if you fancy an oversized t-shirt or shirt this is the section you head towards.
Unfortunately, not every trip to your local charity shops leads you to find oodles of vintage one-of-a-kind pieces. But give it a bit of time and you'll never be able to walk past them again without popping in..
At the moment my charity shopping inspiration is coming from Laila at The Kittens Whiskers..
She has a wicked sense of style with the ability to mix her charity shop finds with the rest of her wardrobe, leaving me with mega wardrobe envy.
SO, have you found these tips helpful? What are you charity shopping tips? Who (or what!) is your inspiration at the moment?