More than a few of my friends have commented on my usually successful trips to the charity shops in my area (I live in the mecca of charity and vintage shops), and often ask how I always come away with at least one thing. Any time I wear one of my new treasures, someone always asks where I got it and most are surprised when I say the charity shop!
But, surely, they no doubt wonder, that’s where bad clothes go to die, after languishing at the bottom of the wardrobe for years – unloved, unwanted?
Well, no. Not always. Don’t get me wrong, I usually have to rake through an awful lot of crap to find a diamond, but there is always items that have simply been donated out of the goodness of people’s hearts (or they ran out off storage and were forced at gunpoint to get rid of some stuff they loved but hadn’t worn in ages – who, me?) , and they’re there to be had.
Today, I was only supposed go to the bank, then the doctors, but walked back into my house with a skirt, a pair of jeans and a pair of shoes. All from charity shops.
So, I started thinking – what are the rules I stick to when I go shopping? Charity and vintage shop finds account for over 80% of my wardrobe, so I must be doing something right if I’m constantly complimented!
So far, here they are.
1. Never buy anything originally from Primark. If you didn’t buy it in that place, you’re not likely to really want it now, are you? Plus it’s so cheaply made, everytime!
2. On that point, look out for labels and brands you know and trust, or that have been recommended.
3. Know your colours. That neon green halter might look fun and kooky on the hanger, but is it really something you’d enjoy wearing if you usually wear pastels?
4. Sizes ALWAYS vary, so don’t be depressed if that size 12 fits more like an 8.
5. When you do have a potential diamond in your hands, check stitching, for any flaws, frays and discolouring. In shoes, check the heel tips, inside the shoe and for any scuffs.
6. Yes, I know you like that black cardigan, but you have 12 at home. Do you really need another?
7. No matter what style you lean towards, every woman needs a little black dress, a white shirt, good fitting pair of jeans.
8. The more of an idea you have of what you’re after, the better. There’s less of a chance of coming away with either nothing or something just to buy something.
9. In saying that, be open to something amazing to appear out of the blue (and bargain bin!)
10. Don’t spend more than you intended to. My rule of thumb, especially with vintage is asking if I would be happy paying double the tag if it was brand new. Mostly, it works out!
Go forth, and happy shopping!!!