Thank you so much for all those lovely comments wishing me well going on the cruise and then saying you were pleased I was back. You’re all lovely and I appreciate you lots.

In that first post written after I got back I kind of hinted that I‘d brought the wrong clothes. Again!  (I did. I’d forgotten how hot it is in the Caribbean).  One person, noting this, wrote why not splash the cash and buy in the High Street before the cruise instead of in local markets and, of course, UK charity shops.

Ah, indeed, and why not? Well, the answer is I simply don’t have the cash to do that. And yes, I do go on the occasional cruise (from a savings pot, actually).  But, OMG, my pension situation – not good.  Anyone younger than me reading this, I’m telling you now, sort your pension out.  Anyway, primarily, I go to charity shops because the clothes are cheaper than the High Street, but there are so many other reasons to shop in a charity shop.  And I have some good tips for you as well.

Here they are:

Do your research. Yes, not every town has good charity shops.    Nowadays charity shops in the UK are predominantly run by big well-known charities and under some kind of quality control from HQ and aspire to look like boutiques.  Even so, the town you live in can determine the type of clothing that ends up in your local charity shop.  Some towns have charity shops with very poor quality clothing.  It’s not that they’re worn out or moth-eaten, it’s more that they’re tired and old-fashioned, and that’s why they’re in the charity shop – they’re not the look of the week!  But a bus or car ride away you might find the charity shops are little gold mines of quality high-end, hardly worn High Street clothes.  So, the charity shops are not good in your area?   Go find them, they are there.

This brings me to one of the most important rules. Never, ever, drop your standards.  Why would you buy something that is worn, unfashionable and not to your taste?  You wouldn’t in the High Street – you don’t in a charity shop.  I look for and buy the very best clothes in these shops.  The ones that are hardly worn and are made by, for example M&S Per Una, Monsoon and Next.  And I’m always on the lookout for designer wear, and especially outfits by Karen Millen, which I do find from time to time.

But understand pricing. Some of these charities are upping their prices big-time and I don’t like it one bit.  These clothes are second-hand after all!  A skirt should be under £5, a dress under £10 and a coat under £15. I’ve had to give myself a good  talking to, as I really must avoid that charity shop in London near Victoria Station where prices seem to start at £75!

Here’s what I mean.  This quality, hardly worn Boden skirt cost £3.99 and the top, a little short cardi, cost all of £2.99.

This lovely outfit illustrates my next two tips. Always aim to supplement your wardrobe and the outfits within it.  I love the colour green and have lots of green bits and pieces.  The skirt and short cardi will complement other articles of clothing I’ve got already.

And last of all – experiment and have fun. I’m moving to Brighton at some point this year (more about that soon) and there’s a Brighton ‘look’.  It’s a shorter skirt (usually a bit straighter than this one) over leggings or jeans.  I shall be experimenting with that look and I can do that at that price. If it doesn’t work £3.99 won’t break the bank, but a £30 or £40 skirt, oh no, I’d be stuck with it.

And isn’t that skirt fun – I love it.

It’s such a good colour to wear during these cold, grey days.

That’s all for now, but back soon with more posts on de-cluttering and moving and hats!

With love, Penny, the frugalfashionshopper





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12 thoughts on “Reasons to be cheerful Part 1 Shopping in a charity shop!

  • 10th February 2017 at 7:51 am

    I do agree with you about charity shop prices. Some shops are charging ridiculous prices. My particular bugbear is Primark clothes at higher prices than they actually sold for in the first place!

    • 13th February 2017 at 7:57 am

      I completely agree with you about Primark clothes on sale in charity shops. Also there are a couple of charity shop ‘names’ that are guilty of hiking prices to such an extent that you think – no, it’s not fun shopping here anymore. It’s a pity as surely the more you buy in a charity shop the better it is for the charity. Thanks so much for your comment!

  • 10th February 2017 at 7:59 am

    I’m lucky, I have a couple of really good charity shops nearby which for you would be a gold mine. However I am a tad bigger (in all directions) than you and the larger sizes are mostly just not there. I do keep looking though!

    • 13th February 2017 at 7:59 am

      I’ve noticed that some charity shops (Red Cross, for one) do have sizes up to UK 24 and a good selection of clothes in these sizes as well. Charity shops are getting there, but of course they need the donations in those sizes to be able to offer them.

  • 10th February 2017 at 2:00 pm

    I travel a couple of miles now to two good charity shops run by St Clare’s Hospice. I need to get a lot more choosy about what I buy though – I picked up a black jacket which was £15 (Betty Jackson, but for Debenhams) and it had a missing button which will be hard to replace, plus it doesn’t fit very well. Hope to get a few more of your tips!

    • 13th February 2017 at 8:07 am

      Yes, while it’s great to have a good charity shop with quality clothes nearby, my most important tip would be always buy the same stuff at the same quality as you would normally in the High Street. And I stopped buying clothes that needed altering as I’m just not good with my needle – and life’s too short!!!

  • 10th February 2017 at 3:47 pm

    Thanks for the more detailed tips on charity shop shopping! Would especially like to see some ways to use skirts and leggings on older women. And I must say Penny, your hair is looking fabulous!

    • 13th February 2017 at 8:09 am

      Thank you so much, Lorraine! The hair will take a long time to go completely white but the longer style is better for me I think.

      Re: the skirts with leggings look. I’ll be experimenting with that over the next few weeks and months so you’ll definitely be seeing more of that look.

  • 10th February 2017 at 4:47 pm

    Very nice outfit! What is the skirt material?

    Gail…change the buttons on your jacket…make it your own…

    • 13th February 2017 at 8:13 am

      The skirt is lovely, albeit a bit puffy all round, as in the front panel isn’t smooth so I have to be careful what I team it with. The material is a thick cotton with a beautiful green satiny lining. Despite the cotton being thick it’s not really warm enough for these cold damp wintery days, so it’s more a Spring/Summer skirt – looking forward to a bit of warmth!

  • 12th February 2017 at 1:55 pm

    I agree about the prices – charity shops used to be cheap! But my main complaint here in Oz is that they always put too much on the rails and nothing is ever sorted into size or colour, so it’s hard work to find something you like.

    • 13th February 2017 at 8:21 am

      That lack of a stylish, boutique-like display in Oz charity shops sounds very similar to the US. Both countries, imho, are missing a trick here. Or is it that the hundreds of small High Streets in the UK just give charities that added incentive to make their charity shops attractive. Charity shops here used to be scruffy but it’s very rare now to find one that’s untidy. All have skirts, dresses and coats lined up in their sizes. Even colours are co-ordinated. And the shop windows have displays that equal any High Street shop, because of course, they’re competing for customers. That means that some charities are hiking their prices and that’s the down-side.

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