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How to find nice clothes in charity shops

February 8, 2015



Some of my favourite items of clothing were charity shop bargains. For example, the blue bias-cut party dress above was originally from M&S, but I bought it from the St Ann’s Hospice shop in Stockport for £8.99. And the ‘non-iron’ shirt would have been £39.99 had I bought it new from Lands’ End, but it only cost £4.99 in the Stockport Oxfam shop.

Here are my tips for finding good clothes in charity shops:

1. Keep looking!

I go into charity shops every chance I get. Sometimes I don’t find anything I want to buy. But if you don’t look you could miss out on really something good.

2. Try things on

It is only by trying things on that you can really see whether you like an item enough to buy it. Also, clothing sizes have changed a lot of over time, and vary between brands. Sometimes a British size 12 will fit me just fine, other times a size 14 is too snug.

3. Be choosy

Only buy things you really love and will definitely wear. Don’t buy something just because it’s a fantastic bargain or a designer label. There’s no point cluttering up your wardrobe with items of clothing that don’t earn the space they take up.

4. Check the condition of the item

If something needs a minor repair, such as a replacement button, I’ll buy it and do what needs doing. If it needs a complete overhaul, then I will probably leave it in the shop.

5. Machine or hand wash?

I prefer to buy items I can wash myself, either in the washing machine or by hand. That way I can avoid the inconvenience and expense of dry-cleaning.

6. Natural fibres tend to be best

Natural fibres such as cotton, linen and wool, tend to age better than polyester and nylon. This is important when you are buying something that has already been worn by its original owner!

Linking up with Fabulously Frugal at A Thrifty Mum.

Fabulously Frugal
31 Comments leave one →
  1. February 9, 2015 3:02 pm

    I love this and it is great to see you linking up with us. I look forward to reading more posts from you

    • February 11, 2015 3:35 pm

      Thanks! Now I’ve discovered ‘Fabulously Frugal’ I’ll definitely link up future posts

  2. Mellissa Williams permalink
    February 9, 2015 4:06 pm

    Can I also leave a tip. If you are going shopping in charity shops, go to the more affluent areas. You are more likely to get designer clothes than in a poorer area.

    • February 11, 2015 3:37 pm

      Great tip! There are really nice clothes in charity shops in more affluent areas (though sometimes the downside is that the prices are much higher!)

  3. February 9, 2015 4:50 pm

    loved this and ought to follow your advice i find a bargain and always bring it home and often does then go on to wear it .. i need to select better!

  4. February 9, 2015 5:53 pm

    Great tips and great bargains! I’m lucky around where I live there are so many charity shops…I should visit them more often though!

  5. February 9, 2015 6:10 pm

    I volunteer at our local charity shop and we get first dibs on everything that comes in, it’s great 🙂

  6. February 9, 2015 6:14 pm

    Great tips! I’ve found some lovely clothes in Charity shops but have happened lucky on some days and others I have spent some time looking before finding something I liked. I am always pleasantly surprised by the Charity shops in our area.

  7. February 9, 2015 6:47 pm

    I agree you can pick up some great clothes in charity shops, and as kids grow out of clothes so frequently it’s a very cost effective way of replenishing their clothes 🙂

  8. February 9, 2015 6:53 pm

    I never spend long enough looking through the rails, I should really as there is probably a hidden gem in there waiting for me

  9. cherishedbyme permalink
    February 9, 2015 7:17 pm

    Great advice, thanks very much, I will use it next time I am hunting a bargain

  10. snowingindoors permalink
    February 9, 2015 7:20 pm

    I’m useless at finding clothes in 2nd hand shops, now books, books I’m the master of finding 😉

  11. February 9, 2015 7:50 pm

    i used to love shopping in charity shops used to buy brand new jeans that still had tags on for like 2 quid when they were tagged with prices that were 30 quid , bargains galore x

  12. Cass@FrugalFamily permalink
    February 9, 2015 8:27 pm

    Some great tips – my 12 year old loves charity shop clothes shopping because the things you buy are often more individual and she knows no-one else will be wearing the same thing!

    Thanks for linking up with this week’s Fabulously Frugal linky, we’d love to see you again x x

    • February 11, 2015 3:36 pm

      Thanks! Now I’ve discovered ‘Fabulously Frugal’ I’ll definitely link up future posts

      I probably started charity shop clothes shopping when I was about 12!

  13. February 9, 2015 8:36 pm

    We have some fab charity shops round us, often see Coast/Monsoon stuff in there x

  14. February 9, 2015 8:46 pm

    Excellent tips, you can find some amazing stuff at charity shops! Another tip is to save time by only looking at clothes in colours which you know suit you.

    • February 11, 2015 3:39 pm

      Yes I tend to look for teal and raspberry-coloured clothes in charity shops because I know these colours suit me. This is made easier in charity shops where the clothes are arranged by colour.

  15. February 9, 2015 8:49 pm

    I love charity shop shopping, there’s nothing better than the thrill of discovering a gem amongst the junk! xxx

  16. emmysmummy permalink
    February 9, 2015 10:55 pm

    I do miss a good charity shop, sadly my town doesn’t have any left

  17. Mina Joshi permalink
    February 9, 2015 11:11 pm

    I always visit Charity shops to look for unusual props for my food blog. I never think to look at the clothes. But next time I go in there – I will take a look at the clothes rail too.

  18. February 10, 2015 6:48 am

    We have just had a charity shop open near me and I have grabbed a couple of bargains so far

  19. February 10, 2015 1:33 pm

    I love charity shops, but tend to use them more for homewares and vintage crockery – I have had some good clothes buys over the years though – great tips!

  20. February 10, 2015 7:20 pm

    Some great tips. We have millions of charity shops by us. Never found anything for me (always old lady stuff) but hubs has had a few bits and so have the kids

  21. February 10, 2015 9:14 pm

    That dress is really lovely and thanks for the tips x

  22. February 11, 2015 7:25 am

    Oh I do love a bargain and this is why i love charity shops! I remember that shopping at the charity shops in wimbledon and Chelsea was the best as lots of very good looking clothes were to find 🙂

  23. February 11, 2015 8:45 am

    love charity shop bargain hunting!

  24. February 12, 2015 12:16 pm

    We don’t have many charity shops near us. We love giving clothes to Charity – I’ve got a bag of Hayden old clothes and clothes hes never worn to give.
    Thanks for sharing these awesome tips.
    Charlotte x

  25. February 12, 2015 12:31 pm

    Buying clothes in charity shops is something I never ever saw myself doing, but last Summer I bought three tops for 8 pounds. They were all brand new, and would have cost about 50 pounds minimum at full retail so I was thrilled. I have worn them lots and love them. When needs must, it is so worth it. BUT postcodes vary so much in terms of what charity shops are like. Thrilled I have finally found a good one, that is as clean as a store. Also in the same year 2014 I started shopping in Aldi. So it’s frugal all round for me now that I am a SAHM xx

  26. February 15, 2015 3:22 pm

    I’m such a charity shop fan, I often find I need to be in the zone though. Once I’ve spotted one thing I’m usually on a roll or I tend to find nothing, never in-between! x

  27. ginacaro permalink
    February 18, 2015 9:20 pm

    Fab tips there! I’m a charity shop addict. I hardly ever by new these days. I find you get so much more choice by buying second hand rather than buying the same clothes as everyone else.

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