Hello everyone

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

With love

Penny, the frugalfashionshopper

P.S. Sharing with Catherine Summers and her #iwillwearwhatilike blog post



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7 thoughts on “How to find clothes in a charity shop? Always look!

  • 26th April 2016 at 8:22 pm

    I love your comment about consumerism! Materialism is so rampant these days and society
    loves to present to us all these images of the home, hair, makeup, and clothes we SHOULD
    have. I think it’s a major problem in our society today. I love that I’m thrifty, I so enjoy
    shopping the thrift shops, and it’s very important for me to contribute to charity. As an
    added note, other ways to contribute without much effort are : donating your used magazines
    and books to nursing homes or other facilities that could put them to good use, saving your
    empty gallon water jugs/glass jars/even toilet paper tubes and donate them to schools or
    nursing homes for art class/activities. I also save and donate the plastic bags I accumulate
    (I have my own reusable bags, but inevitably you get the plastic ones too) and donate
    those to the thrift shops so they don’t have to buy bags. My husband and I have just
    started a craft business and a lot of our supplies come from thrift shops and discarded wooden
    pallets. I really enjoy your blog. Julie Moore

  • 27th April 2016 at 7:24 am

    Hi Julie and so nice to meet you! I completely agree with you about our consumer society and it’s so good to hear from like-minded people. In the UK the charity shops also take other items such as books, ornaments, china, utensils and other articles so the bags of stuff I take to the charity shop of my choice include all those things as well. I try to be minimalist but inevitably I buy something on the way out!

  • 3rd May 2016 at 10:18 am

    Thank you for the mention Penny! I loved making the film with you, and your particular instruction to “Be proud of your bottom, even if it is quite large” has stuck with me! Lorna x

    • 5th May 2016 at 7:27 am

      It was a great experience, Lorna, thank you so much. You are so skilled and the filming is something I hope you go far with xxx

  • 4th May 2016 at 7:46 am

    Hi Penny
    the dress looks fantastic on you and the film is very good. I will definitely give your tips on charity shop buying a try. I find the proliferation of cheap fashion depressing as these are all seen as “throw away” clothes. The trouble is where is all this “stuff” we consume going to end up. I know some charity shops won’t even take it. I find fashion blogs by older women very inspirational and yours has given me lots of ideas. Thanks keep it up!

    • 5th May 2016 at 7:31 am

      Hi Gail, so nice to meet you. Yes, some charity shops can be off-putting, so it’s really important to refine that ‘eye’, so that you know when not to waste your time, or, if you’re lucky to continue. I should have said that another rule is, ‘be prepared to walk out empty handed’ (!) as one must never drop standards – only buy perfect clothes that fit and suit you perfectly 🙂

  • 11th June 2016 at 7:41 am

    I love charity shops. There is so much variety. I often reconfigure clothes that I see potential in. I adore lagenlook but cannot afford the designer price tag, so I buy plus size, unpick and redesign. Keep pushing them. One woman’s trash is definitely this woman’s treasure

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