Five Tips For Charity Shopping

It’s pretty safe to say I harbor a bit of a soft spot for charity shops. Before university, I worked in a few of them, spending my Saturdays sifting through donation bags to find suitable stock. During university, charity shops were the ultimate godsend, a perfect place to spend a Sunday sorting through shelves and racks to find a new book to distract me from coursework or a little designer gem to wear to lectures. My favorite charity shop find ever is the result of one of these university visits, a Men’s small navy Ralph Lauren Polo Rugby shirt which, with a £5 price tag, I couldn’t have left there! It has now become my go-to around-the-house top, something that is comfy enough that I can relax in but also makes me feel stylish, thanks to that little horse embroidered on.However I completely understand that shopping in a charity shop can be an overwhelming task which is why I thought I’d share a few handy tips I’ve learnt along the way to help you bag your ultimate bargain!

Ready .. Set.. Shop!

Tip One: Don’t Rush It!

The chances are that on your very first trip to a charity shop, you won’t find something. Like any other shop, they can be hit or miss but if you put the time into it, you will find something amazing! Charity shops often get new stock everyday so if there’s not anything today, chances are something gorgeous will arrive tomorrow! Also the term ‘Hidden Treasure’ applies to a lot of charity shops!  They do have some amazing piece but chances are they’re hidden under a pile of jumpers or buried deep in a rack of coats so you’re going to have to search high and low to find it but I promise you that it’ll be worth it! I would dedicate an afternoon or a day to charity shop shopping, pick a few that you want to go to and start hunting through the rails for that little hidden gem.

Sometimes all you need is a good pair of black jeans to make an outfit!

Tip Two : Dress For Success(ful Shopping)!

Charity shop shopping is like going swimming or running a marathon in that if you don’t have the proper equipment; it becomes a lot more difficult to be successful! When shopping in a charity shop, it becomes very difficult to imagine wearing a certain piece and you’re left debating whether to buy it because you’re not sure whether you’ve got anything you can wear with it. This problem can be easily solved by either bringing or wear one of your favorite pieces for matching! For example, wearing your favorite pair of jeans makes it so much easier to try on new tops and create new outfits! Similarly a plain white top allows you to try on loads of new trousers and skirts. Both of these allow you to see the item as part of an outfit rather than solo piece and that’ll make choosing whether to buy it so much easier !

Tip Three: Make Do And Mend !

Have you ever walked in to a charity shop and seen it, the perfect piece? It’s just hanging there, it’s exactly what you wanted and even better, it’s going for a steal. You pick it up, marveling at your own amazingly savvy shopping skills and then you realise why it’s going for so cheap: it has a rip down the back or a secret stain that you’ve only seen on second glance. It happens to us all but all is not lost! Why not take a chance and have a go at fixing it yourself? A lot of the time it is easier that you think and you’ll shock yourself with how handy you are! Often you’ll find that these are the pieces you love a little more because these are the pieces that you’ve put some hard work and love into!

Tip Four : Take A Mate !

I firmly believe that shopping should be a social event. There’s nothing better than gathering up some friends, doing some serious shopping then going for dinner after! Not only is it the perfect opportunity to have a catch up but it also allows you to gain some very helpful advice during hard decisions! Should you buy that top? But have you got anything you can wear with it? These are the questions that your best friends have the answers to. Similarly if you can’t find anything, you might find that your friends are amazing at shopping for you! They’ll choose things that you would’ve never thought of and more often than not , these pieces will end up being your favorites!

We've got time to hit one more shop before dinner, right?

Tip Five : Try Everything!

This is probably the best advice I can give anyone who wants to find that ultimate hidden gem. A charity shop offers you the most varied and unusual shopping experience possible so take advantage of it! Where else are you going to come across vintage 80’s power suits or 60’s shift dresses? You might as well try them on while you can and you never know, you might find that you absolutely love them! It may not be what you’ve come in hoping to buy but if it catches your eye in a good way, then it’s worth a try! This goes for other departments too. Men’s departments are often left untouched by women but a lot of the time they offer some very stylish pieces that are unisex. Love that designer bomber jacket but you won’t try it on because it’s in the men’s department? Give it a go and see how good it looks!

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