Since I do love a bargain, everyone knows that, I thought it would be nice to share with you the spoils of my latest couple of charity shop hauls. I know these posts aren't to everyone's taste and I'm not one to brag but I always think it's exciting to see what people manage to find in charity shops, especially when you find some good bits and pieces. So many people say to me, oh, where do you find these things, I only ever seem to see rubbish high street discards and floppy old Primark specials. I don't have the answer really other than to say, you've got to be prepared to dig, you have to keep your eyes peeled, and you have to go with no expectations at all. This haul is from two seperate trips but prior to this I hadn't found anything decent for months. I'd say there's a bit of luck involved, also timing when you go is important-hit your local charity shops now, as people are slinging things out that they got for Christmas but didn't want/won't wear. Let me know in the comments if you've found anything good, as I would really love to know about your finds too!
Oh one other tip I have is to search out secret spots off the beaten track. Places with a high student population seem to get quite picked over, and places that are too trendy will have the obligatory "vintage" rail where tatty old rags are priced upwards of £20 just because they have an interesting and 'old' looking lable. The best sites for charity shops, indeed where I've found my richest pickings, seem to be in the suburbs of cities, so if you can be bothered or have the time, hop on a bus and head out of town, I always seem to find the best things off the beaten track.
Charity shops fall into two categories. They are either "charity chains" such as Oxfam, St Peter's Hospice, The British Heart Foundation; ones you'll have in your town or will know at least due to their presence on the high street. These ones tend to be the higher priced end of charity good suppliers, this isn't gospel, but only my opinion, but I've found these ones tend to be the most "shop like" in that the goods are laid out in a logical manner, like with like, colours and sizes merchandised together, and shopping is easy. You may find they also stock some of their "own brand" product or specific charity based goods.
The other category is by far and away my favourite; the little known charity shop; maybe a small charity or one local to you, that has managed to secure a small unit to sell goods to raise money. Again, these may be logically laid out, with lots of interesting things to look at, and there's no saying that these will be any cheaper than the more well known charities. However, you may find they are less commercial and more a jumble than the aforementioned. These are the holy grail of charity shops; less common these days than when I first started charity shopping with gusto aged 14 or 15; but when you find one, it makes all the others, with their clean, rubbish-free floors and non-musty smells pale into insignificance. My very favourite one is in my home town of Barnstaple in Devon. It's a Rotary Club one, literally it popped up one day in an empty shop and every surface is crammed with all sorts of unimaginable junk. Exercise bikes nestle against straw totes. Vintage shoes in boxes are stacked next to tubs of elastic-banded cutlery and the whole bustle is fettered away in a long, smelly, chilly shop which has many a strategically based bucket and/or child's paddling pool catching the drips driven through the ceiling by the rain. It's heavenly. Nothing really costs more than a fiver and I have found some absolute blinders there: Vintage Celine slippers, anyone? It's always my first port of call whenever I head home.
If you ever come across a charity shop like this, go inside, spend time looking and enjoy the atmosphere (if not the smell.) You're bound to come away with something fantastic.
Back to my finds! These came from a mixture of both types of charity shop; some higher-end ones, some good old, root-about-for-treasure-ones. There's a heavy knitwear bent emerging; which suits me fine because I love a decent jumper, me. In the first shop I visited, I found a salt 'n' pepper rollneck, slightly cropped, possibly shrunk but fits as if it were made with me in mind-£3.50. I went on to a Hospice shop to find three more knits: A Gap grey cable roll neck (£5), a Jigsaw blue crew (new and unworn, £6) and a Toast sage angora rollneck (unworn, £6). I also found a cute vest top which is not winter appropriate but will feature in another post and will be put away for my summer hols!
My second trip was actually one in which I broke one of my own rules-I went out looking for something in particular, which almost always ends in disaster but actually this time, it didn't. I wanted a new belt and managed to find 2, one of which missed the photocall because I was wearing it! But you can see the other one here. It's a leather belt from Jigsaw and it cost £2.99. I also bought a pair of Topshop skinny jeans in this charity shop and they cost £3.99. Finally, I picked up a mohair rollneck in a silvery blue colour and a grey cashmere poloneck from John Lewis. The mohair was £4.99 and the cashmere was £9.99 which I still think is a really good price for a cashmere sweater! Last of all, I found the rosy pink, granny knit cardigan in a charity shop bargain bin for 50p so I couldn't not add that to my pile!
So, that's the sum of the past couple of charity shop trips. What do you think?