And a big thank you to the people who’ve subscribed to my blog since the mention on Tricia Cusden’s blog two Sundays ago. Hi there and welcome!
Anyway, from time to time people have commented that they admire me for buying clothes in a charity shop, but can never find much themselves. So I thought why don’t I share my five golden rules.
Here they are and the first rule is:
1. Always look! Sounds rather trite, but, really, do you? Now this takes time, and I admit I look on average about once a week. Being an average, that’s not every week. I can go for some weeks not looking, but when I feel in the mood I do dedicate the time. Mind you, when I was working, I didn’t have the time. And I could afford quite high-end High Street clothes, but with not a very good pension (sigh – if you’re younger than me and still working, sort it out, do!) I choose to spend money on my hair, and a trip or two to the beautician. But because I know I can find good quality gear it’s a charity shop for my clothes – so always, always go into that charity shop and look.
2. But don’t drop your standards. I love linens, cottons and above all wool, so I run my hands along the rack feeling the quality of the cloth. Here’s a film made about 3 years ago by my good friend Lorna with me doing just that. (Go to Lorna’s website if you’d like to commission her to make a similar film). And then I look at the label, and it’s surprising how you can find really good labels in these shops. Even better is when you find a completely new piece of clothing like this dress I found last month.
It’s a Monsoon dress and was, what I consider, expensive for a charity shop (see 5 below) as it was priced at £15, but I couldn’t resist it – what a lovely dress and it’s unworn!
3. Don’t buy random clothes just because they’re a ‘bargain’ instead refine your skills and eye. Charity shops tend to display the clothes in types and sizes, which is great, but the colours are all mixed up together and some people can be really put off by the myriad of colours that greet you. I’d say just hone and refine that eye of yours to spot ‘your’ colour and ‘your’ style.
4. Still not finding clothes that suit you? Perhaps you live in an area where either the charity shops are not that good, or the clothes are fine, but not exactly your style. For instance, there’s a particular kind of mid-calf length skirt that I absolutely abhor, and there are loads of these in UK charity shops. When I see several on a rack I quickly retreat out of the shop! You might have a particular piece of clothing that you detest. OK, that means you need to find the town or the city where the charity shops are good. The rule is know your area, know your style, and look for your charity shops.
5. Also, be aware of the prices you should be paying as some shops are sneaking them up. In my small town most things are under £5, in the next town too, apart from one charity shop that will be nameless. But once it gets over £10 the garment has to be very special, like the orange/red dress featured above.
Finally, charity shopping should be fun! That adrenalin rush when you’ve found that bargain, I love it! But, here’s the thing, shopping in a charity shop is taking an ethical stance against consumerism and the pressure to buy, buy, buy. No, instead, you’re re-using discarded clothes that could’ve gone into landfill and you’re giving money to a charity – everybody wins!
That’s all for now
Penny, the frugalfashionshopper
P.S. Sharing with Catherine Summers and her #iwillwearwhatilike blog post