Charity Begins At Home, But Fashion Can Begin In Charity Shops

People often say they love charity shops, but how often do they go, charity shops are something that take time and effort. They change stock quicker than any High St brands rotation and everything is a one off piece that could go at any second. You may have guessed today my post is going to be about charity shops and how to get the best of them.

I love charity shops, not just vintage shops but actual charity shops, or thrift stores to my readers over the Atlantic. I’ve always loved them, they are the ultimate “Pop UP” shop. I live in a town that has at least 10 shops so Saturdays can be spent checking what the new stock is, I love browsing the books and records, the oddities and nic-naks, but most of all the clothes. Yes the clothes, where else am I going to find classic tweed jackets for £10, or the original 1960’s Levis for £5 that have been some of my finds.

Yes it takes time to visit them all, but its so worth it. When your on a budget you have to work within confines, and they suit my budget. Yes some may say that the quality of goods has dropped due to eBay and those places that will buy your old clothes at 50p a kilo but for me they are still a place to carry on my love affair with sartorial elegance. And anyway that train of thought isn’t always true.

So when I’m shopping what are my top hints and tips,

Go often, you have to make the effort as its here today gone tomorrow.

Think about the area you shop in, your not going to find couture in the average town, but in places like Kensington & Chelsea there are amazing finds to be had if your after high end garments. (in fact in Alderly Edge, where Man U players etc live some are appointment only).

Try things on, most shops have a changing area, and older items will have changes shape over time possibly or in the case of jeans etc shaped to the wearer.

Don’t be afraid to dig through rails and clothing bins, those bargains could be at the bottom.

Get to know staff, then if there is something in particular you want you can ask them to keep a look out and let you know if it comes in at any point.

Experiment, try things, that t-shirt may work, find out for £1, and if it doesn’t then you have only lost £1 and you did some good with the money anyway.

Don’t get disheartened, not every trip will end up with as many items as a trolly dash through Primark, but when you find the perfect item its all worth it.

Of course there is another option, charity shop online, yes online, people like Oxfam are now selling over the web, so you can browse away at your hearts content from your own sofa, we like this idea, and having used the service from them we know its good.

So thats why we have the love affair, its cheap, you get unique items, and lets be honest sometimes this fashion industry set up is less than wonderful, heres a way to look great while helping others. Oh and of course when you go anywhere you can be sure that nobody will have the same outfit as you.

Charity shops are more than just retailers, they are part of our community, they are part of our ambition to help people, and they are just awesome quite frankly.

So get shopping and donating and lets really celebrate these institutions of our High Streets.

About Ross Pollard

Since starting writing on my 31st birthday in 2011 I have held a number of positions at magazines and websites as well as regularly producing articles for numerous publications alongside contributing to TV & radio shows as a freelance fashion journalist including Hoxton Radio & Fashion One TV. Alongside writing, I have worked in other industries helping to design & grow digital platforms, develop businesses and support operations practices. This experience has proved invaluable in building an understanding of how businesses work, and the landscape in which retail, B2B commerce and other commercial operations develop. Knowledge of commercial interests has helped shape my fashion industry insights beyond critiquing of garments


  1. nextroutestyle

    We must admit, we don’t go to charity shops as much as we like, it does take more time but you’re right it is certainly worth it. Great post; you’ve definitely uplifted us; they are part of the community.

    x Roch & Tash x

  2. I have an amazing charity shops down the road from me which always has something interesting and I go every week. This week’s purchase a vintage looking compact for my bag and a necklace!

  3. I’ve never had any luck in any charity shops and it makes me really sad. The charity shops in the city centre are sooo over priced, i’d probably want to buy a new thing instead. I know it’s for charity, but I’d rather do my bit a different way. I always have a root around though, just in case. I’ve been luckier at car boot sales, which sucks because I don’t get to go to them as often.

  4. Tara O

    I really wish I lived near a charity shop! I have a blog friend who finds the most amazing pieces, if I lived closer I would definitely make friends with the staff and check back a few times a week. There are gems to be had, unfortunately I never find any!

  5. Great post! Sometimes I can visit a charity shop a few times and find nothing but then go and find complete bargains. I love the fun of it especially on a student budget. Really useful tips 🙂

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