A Personal style blog

31 October 2018

How to nail the best bargains in your local charity shops

Since I can remember I have been an avid charity shop lover, sifting through rails of jumbled together clothes and random bric-a-brac is the idea of pure heaven to me. What is it they say… one person’s trash is another person’s treasure? I owe my love of vintage fashion and charity shops to my nan and grandad, since I was young they dragged me and my sister in and out of Hampshire’s best second-hand shops, carboots and antique fairs and I grew to become absolutely obsessed.

I not only enjoy a good old rummage but I am also pretty good at it. I’m not blowing my own trumpet here, but I have been a serial thrifter for years, and it comes to a point when you kind of just get a sense of what to dig out and what to leave behind. I also LOVE vintage shops, so as you can imagine my initial move to London where I bagged a job on Brick Lane was a bloody dream. However, my enjoyment is all about the initial rummage, and with some vintage shops they have done the hard work for you. The thrill for me is all about sourcing the best bits myself, I get such a buzz off those dusty old garms.

Dress - Charity Shop in Lower Clapton, East London

There are plenty of benefits in shopping savvy – aside from the thrill of bagging a bargain – it’s also a great way to save some cash whilst donating money to a good cause. Charity shops sometimes have sales too (IIIIII KNOW) and if you’re lucky, you might stumble across a £1 rail (yes, these are a thing) with the coolest pair of trews on just waiting for you to take them home and wear them with love.

I have a few pals that are scared (read: repulsed) by the thought of wearing someone else’s seconds but the trick is, to not be! Take away any stigma that you have attached to charity shops and just give them a whirl. I thought I’d put together a little thrift shopping guide for ya’ll so the next time you spot a Marie Curie or Red Cross, you’ll be equipped to rummage.


Why not have a little nosey over the latest trend pages or street style shots on Who What Wear before you plan to thrift shop or carboot so you’re well versed on what’s hot, and what’s not. There’s no better feeling than bagging a bargain that is bang on trend.

Focus on colours

What is YOUR colour or, the colour of the season? Some chazza shops like to get a bit organised and put the donated clothes in colour order which means all you have to do is head straight for your fave shade.

Don’t be put off by sizes

I have so many amazing funky shirts that are a size 18, and work perfectly worn oversized or un-buttoned over an LBD.

Always look at the labels

Whether it’s vintage M&S (St Michael) or a COS top for a fraction of the price, make sure you check out the labels as it will give you a good indication of the original cost and quality. Just before I planned to book my flight to Oz, I found the perfectly fitting pair of jeans in an East London chazza shop by a brand I’d never heard of before called, Rollas. The quality felt amazing and the fit was next level but it wasn’t until I googled them  I realised that they were by a very cool Aussie brand who are known for their incredible denim. The jeans cost me £6 and they retailed for £90, I also thought it was a sign. To this day that thifty purchase cemented the fact that I was always meant to book that one-way ticket to Oz!

Always ask

If you’re on the hunt for something don’t be afraid to ask the lovely volunteer. I was recently in the market for some new workout wear and on the off-chance asked the lady behind the counter if they had any more exercise leggings available. Next thing you know, I am in the store cupboard knee-deep in athleisure gear and bagged a pair of Lululemon leggings for 5 bucks! Which, is one of my best steals yet. Lululemon is PRICEY!

Things to look out for

I always go straight to the coats, winter or not, a good coat can sometimes be hard to find and cost you the most. I once found a black cape coat with a leopard print faux-fur trim from Harrods in a Winchester charity shop for £18 and it was one of the best days of my life. Since that day on, I rule out the coats and blazers first. Don’t forget to check out the accessories too, it’s crazy what people part with and the amount of cute vintage scarfs I have found that look fresh out of Pinterest when tied in my hair bun is just ridic.

Don’t forget the guys

Shop unisex is another top tip when charity shopping. Cool army jackets and vintage shirts tend to be lurking in the men’s rails too!

Take your time

Charity shops are full of the weird and wonderful so you must dedicate a little time to the hunt. It’s a process, a thorough investigation, and totally worth it because you might just find exactly what you didn’t know you needed.

Enjoy your thrift shopping!



  1. A girl after my own heart!! When the kids were young all their designer stuff I got from boot fairs or charity shops. Natalie would dive into my bag to see what I had brought home. I am always looking for unsual patchwork quilts or blankets. Love the rummage! ♥️♥️

    1. I am obsessed with them! You'll have to show me the best ones in Kent! xxx

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