Being of limited stature and even more limited budget, charity shops can be occasional Aladdin's caves of cast off treasures. As a long-time fan of vintage (I should have been a child of the 70's, not the 80's) and an appreciater of a good bargain, for me finding a wee charity shop gem is much more exciting than spending a whole day on the high street.
I do have a few golden rules though:
- I don't buy shoes in charity shops. You can wash or dry clean a previous owner out of clothing, but I can't bring myself to wear someone else's shoes. Boke.
- If it doesn't fit, you can have it altered (within reason). A sleeve shortened or a shirt darted is a simple enough job for any good tailor and can make your find even more unique
- Just because it's cheap, doesn't make it a bargain. Don't be tempted to hoard pieces you don't wear when you could have invested in something you will use.
- Be patient. Don't expect to find something every time. Become a regular with your local stores; find out what days they get deliveries, tell them what you're after and ask them to keep you in mind.
- What goes around comes around; if you don't wear it, thrift it. Give someone else the chance to find something special by donating your unwanted clothes. Avoid those big bins in carparks, the contents often get so wet and ruined they are just shredded and the fibres recycled.
These are some of my favourite thrifted finds from over the years:
|I picked this little leather cafe racer jacket up in Oxfam a couple of years ago.|
I've only recently started to wear it - I was too chicken to try before!
|You can't really tell from the picture, but the jacket|
is actually burgundy.
|This is probably my favourite jacket in my entire wardrobe.|
I picked it up when I lived in Nottingham over 10 years ago - perfect fit; sleeves and all!
Tweed for a tenner is hard to beat.
|I was told I look like a waxwork in this picture...|
|Satin remnant from a waistcoat I made a few years ago - instant pocket square!|
|An unbuttoned top button is much more relaxed.|
|I've layered my tweed jacket with a wool waistcoat, another bargain at £3.50!|
Your waistcoat doesn't have to match your blazer. Experiment with contrasting textures and tones.
|I've worn the jacket and waistcoat over a tee, but it works equally well with a crisp shirt.|
NB:Always leave your bottom waistcoat button open!
|This is my most recent find in the British Heart Foundation.|
Grey wool with chalk strip, no flap, single button.
|Worn over an H&M henley tee, I like the combination of grey and burgundy|
|Anything Miley can do...|
(BTW I am loving my new jeans; grey skinnys from Primark, only £10)
There is a ridiculous stigma attached to charity shopping. If you can afford new clothes; great. If you can afford to do this regularly; good for you, not everyone can. Saving some money, helping a good cause and picking up some quality clothing all in one go is not bad in my books.
Savin' my money and I'm hella happy that's a bargain, bitch!
PS: Don't leave your breast bare this season. Jackets have button holes for a reason. Pocket squares, brooches and boutonieres are everywhere, so play about with some colour and interest to refresh an old jacket.
You saw above a simple swatch of satin can be used as a pocket square. Visit your local haberdashery and ask for a fat quarter (don't snigger); they'll know what you mean and you'll sound like you know what you're talking about.
|I made this from an oversized button and a brooch back; both bought from local haberdashery|
|A little bit of rural regality from Topman|
|I found this in the Argento clearance shop for £1.00|
Sequin skull brooch? Why not?!