If you’re a consistent reader of mine, you’ll know just how much I adore all things thrift or vintage. The reason why I began to write about fashion was due to my love of them, and to document any of my findings. Sometimes creativity can lead you down different paths; I’ve shared my viewpoints on topics that are important to me, discussed ensembles I’ve put together that also include high street gems, and so on. But I thought I’d dedicate a post to specifically all things thrift, as that was my initial intention, after all…
Over the last year or so, I’ve more or less become obsessed with finding a second hand gem in a charity or vintage shop whenever I get the chance. This obsession of mine was only to grow when I landed a job right next to two charity shops… whenever I walk in, they say “here she is again”, so it’s safe to say I’m a regular.
The thing is, with charity shops, people deemed them as, quite simply, “a load of old tat.” And I’ve got to give them credit where it’s due – a lot of the time, it is exactly that. But I think this is after a quick scan through the hangers and out again. Sometimes you need to enter knowing exactly the kind of thing you’re looking for, and a good old rummage through the rails. Sometimes they can really cater for your needs – or you’ll find something that you never even thought you wanted. It’s a flair one needs to grasp and through practice it soon becomes a breeze. The art of thrift shopping is a lot more complicated than it may sound. That’s why I’ve put together a few little tips to get you started…
1. Avoid Being Brief
I have to admit, when I enter a charity shop I get the vibe whether I’m going to be lucky or not within the first 5 minutes of being there. It sounds strange, but I think it’s pretty legitimate. But I’ve learnt to shrug off my initial vibe of a shop and refrain from any hesitancy to really dig deep. It’s difficult when it’s not like a regular high street shop and everything is jumbled, I know. Some even go all out and colour coordinate their stock – those are the ones I’m in favour of. But if not, you have no choice but to accept the challenge in front of you. You can’t expect to find an anomaly of a gem in a sea of old rubbish if you flick through a rail or two in a huff, give up and walk out…
2. Assortment Boxes
A lot of charity shops have little odds and sods boxes. In these you can find plenty of vintage-esque jewels, whether it be ornaments, neck scarves, purses… sometimes the best things are hidden out of sight, just waiting for the perfect person to get their hands on them.
3. First Hand Picks
Sometimes you can rummage to your hearts content and then some, but you still won’t find anything that tickles your fancy. If after this you’re still yearning to get your hands on a bargain, politely ask the shop assistants if they have anything that is about to be put out that is available to look at. One time, I was browsing a shelf of handbags when a (faux) fur coat on a rail by the back door caught my eye. The lady noticed me gawping at it and welcomed me to have a look at the rail. I definitely would’ve been too shy to ask, so that was a bonus – but there’s nothing wrong with enquiring, anyhow.
4. Your Size In Disguise
Now, I think we can all agree that clothes sizes are a load of bogus 99% of the time. Ive noticed on social media lately people discussing high street stores and their misleading size measurements – for example, you could buy a pair of jeans in two separate stores in the same size and one could fit you and the other couldn’t. It’s madness – who’s to know what size they really are?
Moving on: in charity shops, I browse all of the size measurements, as you can be surprised at what will fit you, what can be adjusted or what looks great a little bit oversized. I basically take no notice at what size something is until I try it on and figure out how it can be worked around… there’s no reason to limit yourself at all; this can also be applied regarding the gender that the clothing is labelled for.
5. Look For Discounted Rails
A lot of charity shops have £1 or 99p rails, and I must admit that these are where I find most of my gems, believe it or not. It doesn’t hurt to have a search…
Here are also some of my favourite things I’ve managed to bag from charity shops, and other second hand treasures, with all items being bought for under £15…
Blouse – £1.99 | Shorts – £12.00
Coat – £3.50 | Necklace – £3.00
Blouse – £1.00 | Scarf – 75p | Jeans – £4.00
Top – £1.99 | Bag – £2.50
Jeans – £4.00 | Shoes – £5.00
Blazer – £1.00 | Bag – £2.00
Jumper – £1.99 | Skirt – £2.75 | Shoes – £3.00 | Bag – £3.00 | Jacket – £4.99
Dress – £1.00 | Bag – £2.00 | Heels – £3.00 | Jacket – £4.00
Jumper – £1.99 | Skirt – £1.95 | Heels – £3.00
It Doesn’t Always Have To Be Clothes…
Set of Shelves – £3.00
Rug – £3.00 (Cat wasn’t included…)
I’ve also picked up a few gems for my boyfriend, including a Levis jacket for £3.00, a wax coat for £1.99 (that is sold in a vintage shop near me for £45.00…), etc. But my favourite of all is for sure this suede bomber jacket for £10.00 – when I found it, it gave me major ’70s vibes…
So that’s a wrap…
I hope you’ve enjoyed diving into my world of second hand shopping.
Until next time
Thanks for Reading | Lucy Violet x