Thursday, 23 May 2013

Charity Shops- not always the cheapest option ( but I still love them!)

zebra jacket -from a charity shop
I was walking down the High Street of my local town today, in no particular hurry, ogling the shiny things in shop windows as I passed.
My friend needed to nip to the bank so I stood with her daughter outside a charity shop, looking at their attractive window display.
A dress was on a mannequin - a pretty grey and black 1950's style - the sort of thing you might wear as a wedding guest, or to a Christening or if you work in a smart office.
It was lovely - had an upper-end High Street name I recognised and looked in "good as new" condition but still I was shocked to see the price tag- £70!
OK so it was probably twice that new but even though I live in a wealthy area I can't believe many people would jump to pay that for a second hand dress (or even a BNWT donated last season dress) from a charity shop.
The days of 50p bargains seems to largely be gone in my local charity shops - I confess I paid £12 for an Abercrombie and Fitch hoodie for my son recently from my local Oxfam but he's worn it so much I definitely had my money's worth. It's good quality and looks as good after ten washes as it did new probably.
The going rate for a suit in my local charity shops seems to be between £25-40. (Wonder why I'm suit shopping in charity shops? Fast-growing sixth former required to wear suits to school!) Again, worth it as although I can buy one new for that from supermarkets and budget clothes shops the ones I buy from charity shops were originally expensive, are well-made and stand up to the demands of an active 17-year-old!
I have heard people say it's good to shop in charity shops in posh areas as you can pick up posh clothes.
Recent experience has shown me that it's worth trawling through the faded Primarche tat in charity shops in the less salubrious areas because sometimes, just sometimes, you can pick up a quality bargain.
rug-£2 charity shop bargain
You see in the posh areas the volunteers seem to recognise the "good" names and price accordingly.
While in a nearby town crushed amongst a 1970's size 22 crimplene smock and a size 6 leopard-skin nylon boob tube I found a gorgeous Laura Ashley vintage-esque cardigan, a ribbed white top and on the next rack, a gorgeous pair of three-quarter length fat face denim jeans still with the labels dangling inside - total outfit price? £10! That's more like it!
Although I love the money-saving aspect of shopping in the pre-loved outlets, I also love the unpredictability of them. I often drag my friends round the whole gamut of charity shops down our local High Streets and we have a giggle trying on mad hats, ridiculous shoes and pointing out tasteful trinkets.
And nothing beats the pleasure of occasionally finding a bargain, something unique, something unexpected to take home without breaking the bank.
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