When it comes to style picks, I often find myself stuck between premium ethical and sustainable brands, or faced with visiting charity shops and eBay. Recently, I’ve been visiting lots of different charity shops (nine in total) to see if it’s possible to find items that suit your wallet and style, and have found that there is indeed a knack to it.
Here is my list on how to shop smarter in charity shops and find whatever you’re in need of, be it brand new clothes, up-market or high-street brands, or certain styles, in the most ethical way possible. And there’s always the added bonus of giving money to charity for every purchase you make!
1. Choose your store carefully
Every charity shop is different, and I’d say the main differences are down to location rather than charity. I’ve found some great high-street picks from charity shops on the high-street, but if you’re looking for something higher-end, go to the high-end areas. Case in point, when I visited Barnardo’s Marylebone, I was sifting through brands such as Aquascutum and McQueen, rather than the usual H&M or Zara.
2. Shop by colour
A lot of charity shops are stocked by colour. I’m actually so used to it now that when I go into a charity shop that isn’t, I’m immediately put off! Right now, my wardrobe is quite monochrome, so I go in for the black, white, and grey sections first, then quickly looking at anything else, including the new stock.
3. Mix your sizes
A well organised charity shop will also have every hanger labelled, and there’s usually a mix of numbers and letters based on what the garments themselves say. I’ve found now as a steady size 8 that clothes sizes from shop to shop vary, so give the sizes on either side of your own a look just in case. There may also be a changing room available – I’d make good use of it if you’ve got time.
4. Have a budget
This may first sound quite stingy, but it’s the same approach you’d normally take for the high street, and certain items may be close to those prices. I’ve found that I still need to make sure I don’t go out of control and buy things I don’t need. The pictured top is a brand new & Other Stories top that I found in Barnardo’s Marylebone for £19 – the same price I’d be prepared to pay first-hand.
5. Look for labels
The best thing I found on my few visits to charity shops is that certain places like Barnardo’s have different labels depending on the quality of the garment. That means that if you only want new, or like new clothes, you can still give charity shopping a go!