We all know how to shop, don’t we, and heaven forefend that I be seen as teaching grandmothers to … you know, but as you walk into a charity shop what do you see – a mix of colours and a mass (or mess) of styles, and you just don’t know where to start?  Or perhaps you don’t even go in.  Maybe your pension is OK (*sighs*) so it just isn’t your thing.   Or you’re ever so slightly horrified at the thought of wearing something someone else has worn.

Me, I like a bargain and the slightly raised pulse that heralds that hunt!  I also like the idea that the clothes have been worn before.  Charity shop shopping is, in the best sense, a kind of recycling.

And there are ways to cut through that mass of garments, and get to what you want.   First of all, know your area.  There are towns that are just the best, and then there are places, like the East Coast town I went to last year, which had 9 charity shops in its High Street (maybe that was a clue!) which on closer inspection were stuffed with clothes from the cheapest end of said High Street.  I don’t know about you but I am looking for something a bit more than that!

So, once you’re in the shop look around, and you can tell.  It’s not exactly instinct, but sometimes there’s something about the layout and how the clothes are displayed.  Now ask yourself, are the prices right?  I expect a top to cost £2.50, a skirt £5.00 a coat £15, and a sequined long frock maybe £15.00-20.00.  If tops are starting at £20.00 beat a hasty retreat!

Then off to the racks and I look for colours already in my wardrobe.  And I love the feel of wool and cotton.  So I go along the rail feeling the texture and quality of the garments.  That latter bit is essential – you’re not going to lower your standards just because you’re in a charity shop, are you?   And then only when something grabs my attention, and satisfies that criteria, do I start looking at labels because, wow, have I been surprised by a couple of very fine items from George (Asda) and Florence and Fred (Tesco).

I buy hats, one of which I am wearing in the film made by my very good friend Lorna.  And if I find a pair of shoes I’ll have them.  I also try not to buy anything the slightest bit boring – there’s a certain type of mid-calf length skirt that is a no-no for me. What I’m saying is even if it’s the biggest bargain in the shop don’t buy it if it’s, at the same time, utilitarian or dowdy, whatever that is for you.  This means I prefer shorter skirts that are knee length with a bit of bling if possible.

So, my message is, as always, go ahead, treat yourself, be daring, it might give you a lift, and you can do it – in a charity shop – for very little cash.

And for my bargain of the week, well, I needed some jeans and thought, OK, this time I’ll buy new.  Went all over the place and couldn’t find anything.  Most were too short and I even tried a pair costing a cool £66, and that, would you believe, was their sale price!  The very next day went to a charity shop and found 2 pairs of jeans (both long rather than regular) for £2.99 each – wow!

coat-with-fur-collar-webBut they made boring photos so, with the money saved by buying in a charity shop, here is something I bought online at Urban Outfitters UK.  Was £145 – yikes!  But in the sale, £35.00, which is good enough to go in the blog, I thought, and yes, it’s another coat!

That’s all for now

With love

Penny

The Frugal Fashion Shopper

P.S Met up with Tricia Cusden and had a great day and got some very good advice on makeup – more about that in a future blog

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