Share This Article
Why don’t more people shop at charity shops?
I never really understood the charm of charity shops until I started going into them. I had a misconception of them, as a place full of old and used clothes, alongside junk that people didn’t want anymore. Although this was a pretty big misconception on my behalf, many of us still think this way.
In a world where we are constantly buying into the latest fashion trends, and fast fashion is a massive issue, why aren’t we doing more to help the planet and giving our money to charity shops that provide money to those in need?
Although being plus-sized can make it hard to shop in charity shops, it’s still possible to find on-trend second hand plus size clothing in immaculate condition. I won’t lie and say I never buy anything new anymore as this would be a lie.
However, cutting down the amount, I believe, is a start and thrifting (as our transatlantic cousins would say) is fun. I have been thrifting in America since I visited Pittsburgh, and whilst I was stateside, I met up with Nicki. From shopping alongside someone who was a pro, it was clear why people do this regularly, whether for fun or to get some new wardrobe staples at a fraction of the cost. Plus they’re usually in massive places with rails and rails of clothes.
In America, thrifting is usually seen as cool and exciting, especially when you find huge discounts.
In the UK, shopping in a charity shop doesn’t have the same vibe about it; most people would stick up their noses at the idea of even going into a charity shop, let alone wearing items from one. So I am here to debunk some charity shop misconceptions and share with you my top tips for finding some bargains.
The clothes are dirty and well-loved:
Walking into a charity shop and browsing the rails, you’ll be surprised at how many items look completely unworn or are new with tags in the shops. Oh, and those clothes which are worn are still in excellent condition. Charity shops aren’t just full of old junk. They’re usually full of hidden gems. Most of the charity shops I’ve been in are filled to the brim with Topshop, New Look and River Island clothes, most of which appear completely new.
I know when I donate to charity shops, I’ve either gained weight, changed styles or ordered something, and it did not fit, and me being me, forgot to return it. So I’ve literally tried it on and hung it up in my wardrobe and left it in there. Until a few months later, when I decided that my wardrobe needs a vast overhaul, I stop hanging on to those bits that I’ll probably never fit in.
Although some charity shop clothes are obviously worn, there can be high end pieces, even some designers. I recently found some FCUK jeans in a charity shop for £1 and saw brands such as Ralph Lauren, Armani, Kurt Gieger, and Lindybop, all at reasonable prices. Doing a quick search of the designer items can find some original £100+, so getting them under £10 is a fantastic deal.
I never find anything good in my local charity shops:
As charity shops rely on donations, it does mean that stock is completely random. Although you may find some great bargains in your local charity shop, if you are looking to splash the cash, there are some seriously good shops out there.
When shopping locally, the way to get the best items is to go in as often as possible and not search all of the rails. I usually head towards the shoes first, and the £1 rail as you never know what might be within.
London is the only place with good clothes
London is known for being fashionable and setting trends. Therefore, it is often a misconception that London is the only place where you can find the real deal. However, there are plenty of towns and cities across the UK with plenty of treasures to be found.
Although cities have an advantage in the variety of clothes they have in store, due to more regular donations. You can find great charity shops all over the country.
If you are looking to spend a day looking for the best thrifty finds, here’s a list of places known for their selection of charity shops.
The clothes are old fashioned:
Of course, some of the clothes will be for older people as it depends on who donates items. However, I’ve seen some online stores like Boohoo, Missguided and Misspap in charity shops every time I visit. It’s a great thing that the shops have items for different styles as it allows more people to shop there.
Finally, a few tips I’ve learned from regularly shopping in charity shops:
- Only buy things you really want, as tempting as some offers can be, if you’re not going to wear them, it is pointless spending the money on it.
- Thoroughly browse to find the best items, as you never know what might be hidden away.
- Chat to the staff. It can often go a long way when looking for items as they’re more likely to keep things aside that you may want to buy.
- Check the charity shop’s eBay pages, British Heart Foundation, Red Cross and Sense all have their online stores to get bargains just as you would in the shop. They tend to sell more rare/vintage items on their eBay store.