Shopping in Charity Shops. Yes or No?

Shopping spree

Do you enjoy shopping? Have you spent every penny of your salary on new clothes but still wondering what to wear?

If the answer is YES, then continue reading as I built a few outfits from charity/second-hand shops. Obviously there are pros and cons to shopping second-hand, but I hit up some charity shops this week to see if the pros (cheap prices; this season’s styles for less) outweigh the cons (more off-season stock and clothes that have seen better days).

Instead of paying £10 or £15 for this Topsop vest, I paid only £1.50 in the second-hand shop. New Look skorts would be £15-20 in the shop, but in one charity shop I picked some up for a measly £2.50.

Honestly, I’ve never been a big fan of second-hand shops – I’m not gonna lie, from window shopping alone, it always seems like they’re flogging old-fashioned, tasteless, cheap clothes. Let’s be frank: second hand shops are hardly ‘modern’, at least not in a visual sense, so forgive me for feeling put off by them. On the other hand, I never know how to deal with that odd feeling of wearing clothes from someone who I’ve never met (and will probably never meet) in my life… I mean, who knows who the original wearer was and what she was doing in that particular item of clothing.

Many of my friends love second-hand shops and I’ve always wondered, ‘What’s the appeal?‘ So I decided to join my friend for a charity-shopping session to find some answers. Also, I came to the conclusion that even if you buy clothes in high street shops, you never know if you’re really the first wearer, as usually you can return anything within 28 days and get a full refund. So, if you think about it, you can never really be sure if your newest wardrobe addition is in fact ‘first-hand’. I decided that, at the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter where you shop.

This Next Jacket would cost at least £40 in the shop but I only paid £4.50… definitely a bargain! Collection by Debenhams’ smart top costs around £30 in the shop but, again, we only paid £4.50

I’ve checked with some experts in the field and learnt that most second-hand shops launder their donation before putting them out on sale. Do you think high street shops do the same? I guess not. There are dos and don’ts when it comes to second-hand shopping. If you’re lucky, you can find high-end fashion at an affordable price. However, you’ll need to have a browse around both the men’s and ladies’ sections, and often the clothes are not merchandised appropriately. It does takes more time to find fashion-forward items but that shouldn’t deter you. These sort of shops are usually packed to the brim with every sort of item you can imagine, which is probably why it’s even more difficult to picture yourself in that pretty printed shirt when it’s hanging next to an unattractive frilly, gray shirt from the 80s. But learn to approach your finds in other ways. Try to picture it on a hanger-on the back of your bedroom door. Looks better, doesn’t it?


What do you think of this fab Topshop dress, which we found for only £4In-store you would have to spend at least £35 for something similar to go out in.

Once you’ve found your favourite second-hand shops, get friendly with the staff. They can tell you when they’re changing the stock (charity shops often do this a few times a week), plus maybe even offer you further discounts or, if you’re looking for something specific, they may have the perfect thing for you in the storage room. When you are not sure about the price, make sure to check online to see if it’s fair or discuss it with the staff. If you’re in a charity shop rather than a broader-reaching second-hand store, though, consider how much a few quid spent here and there for a quality item could benefit those in need.

P.S. My article was first published on #TheCloset.

I would love to find out more about your thrifting experience. Leave a comment in the section below.


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21st October 2016 11:58 am

So great to see that you have started to embrace thrifting! Reading your actually blog reminded me of myself a couple years back. I used to never like second-hand shops, with the exact reasons you listed. However, I’ve learnt to embrace all the benefits of thrifting and I’m now in love with it! I agree with you in that second-hand shops are never visually appealing. But why? The difference here is that retailers actually pay people to be their visual merchandiser, whereas second-hand stores, which are majority charity run, obviously don’t have the funds to do so. It’s also true… Read more »

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