Tips for Charity Shopping & Favourite Finds
I like charity shopping, because it allows me to find quality pieces at an affordable price and it also allows me to pick up clothes that are out of my comfort zone, but are worth a try when you can pick them up for a couple of quid (maybe a bit more at some charity shops as they are not always cheap).
It does take a bit of time and patience going through all the rails trying to find something that takes your fancy which comes in your size. I think that if you are a smaller size, then charity shops can be amazing because you can sometimes find high end and even top designer pieces at really great prices. If you are more of a bigger standard size, then you are in the majority and the pickings are not quite as easy to come by, but keep looking because those gems are out there waiting to be found.
First of all I wanted to give you a few quick tips for successful charity shopping (I apologise in advance for numbers 8-10 but they are critical. I saved them till last but be prepared to be grossed out):
- Check hems to make sure they have not been taken up. If they have and they have been sewn well, then it's just a case of checking the length is suitable, but some home jobs are pretty bad.
- Check collars and cuffs for wear and ingrained dirt.
- Checking for missing buttons and make sure zips are fully working
- Check for general wear and tear and stains. Don't expect the charity shops to have gone through everything with a fine toothcomb, as they just don't have time.
- Take a chance on an interesting piece that you wouldn't normally buy. You can wear it once and if it doesn't suit you, you can always re-donate it, but at least you tried something new.
- Bare in mind that these charity shops are there to raise funds for worthy causes. If I buy something and it doesn't fit, or I notice a flaw that I didn't see in the shop then I usually don't bother to return it for a refund. I will either put in in the rag bag, or re-donate it if it's ok to resell. That being said, if you paid up for something really nice, then I think it's ok to get your money back, just don't return everything that you buy. Feel good about donating to a worthy cause instead.
- Remember to donate your unwanted clothes to charity shops. Give them a wash before you donate them, because there is nothing worse that finding something you like, only to find massive stains on them or even holes. It's unbelievable how many people wear something and then just donate it without washing it first. Donating dirty and damaged goods is not very nice and why would someone want to buy other peoples dirty cast offs?
- Check armpits for sweat marks (I know gross, but I speak from experience).
- Check inside bags to make sure nothing dodgy is still in there (I'm pretty sure that I bought a bag which had spider eggs in it (I have never run so fast to the outside bin in my life I can tell you).
- Finally and I'm so sorry for this next one but it has to be included. Always, always check the crotch (I speak from experience again as I have had a few gross moments, but I won't go into any details here).
I've found some great stuff in charity shops and even if you don't always find something to buy every time you shop, the thrill of finding something occasionally is enough to keep me going back. Some of my tops finds include:
- A Fossil leather bag and belt costing £6.99 and £1.50;
- A mint velvet top which cost £6.99;
- Topshop jeans which cost £4.99;
- Adidas tracksuit top £5;
- A brand new with tags Next maxi skirt which cost £9.95 (price on tag £45);
- Some of my favourite Adidas tops and Under Armour tops for £3 - £4;
- Hotter sandals for £3;
- Jaeger wool winter coat for £12.99;
- London Fog winter coat for £8;
- Diesel Cord Bag £3.99
None of them are what I would call designer brands, but most of them don't come cheap, so I am happy to buy things secondhand to top up my wardrobe, save clothes going to landfill and support charities at the same time. I have had a few fails, the most noteable one is (what I thought was) a Michael Kors bag. I had a feeling it was a fake, but it was only when I got home and looked closer that I noticed on the metal badge on the front of the bag that it said Michael Michele not Michael Kors. Oh well, you win some you loose some. I can still make use of the bag, so I havent bothered to return it, but its a lesson learned to look closer at things like this as I really should have noticed it.
Give charity shopping (or thrifting as some people call it) a try and let me know what bargains you find.