Shopping with Experts: Charity Shops



This whole new frugal chic vibe is putting the fun back into shopping for The Women’s Room. This weekend we went scouring our local charity  shops looking for a bargain and found one. A black and white silk chiffon wrap dress by DKNY for £20. It is in perfect condition and being a wrap dress has no buttons or zips to check and no problems with fit.


The buzz of finding it was half the fun and reminded us of what we love about shopping, that sense of excitement and the potential discovery of a cheap (ish) treat. Charity shops are full of great clothes that have hardly been worn, a side effect of the disposable economy we’ve been so used to until recently. This may not last so our advice is get out there quick before it all changes and broke bankers pick up all the bargains.


Our favourite buys are those home made dresses and shirts from a time when everyone made rather than bought (the 50s, 60s and 70s) and anything in fabulous fabric. Until last week we would avoid anything that reminded us of the 80s and shoulder pads, but now we're not so sure…


There are rules for buying charity, here are ours.

1) Shop in smart areas, people don't go that far when donating so if it's a smart area the clothes will be better quality.


2) Check for wear and tear, under arms, elbows, knees etc, never buy anything in poor condition as you can rarely revive worn out fabric. Seams can be fixed and buttons sewn on but zips and major mending just adds to the job list.


3) Look for fabulous fabric such as cashmere, tweeds, silks and good quality cotton (we love Liberty prints).


4) Check out the menswear section for great tailoring and quality shirts. We hunt out old Viyella shirts for their amazing softness and great checks.


5) Always wash everything before wearing, if you can afford it then dry clean, as moths don’t like the taste of the fluid. Give any wool or cashmere items a good check for moth holes and never buy if you see any, an infestation is a nightmare situation.


5) Check for good labels, a designer label is likely to be better quality in both make and fabric and will hold up better than a value range.

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