Even before I started my blog, I was always on the hunt for a bargain when it comes to shopping. One of the best places to find a bargain when it comes to clothes, shoes and books is thrift (or charity) shops. I know people may have negative opinions about shopping in thrift shops, but there's really nothing to be negative about when it comes to them. I've actually got some of the nicest dresses, skirts and tops from them over the years for very inexpensive prices, so I'd really encourage you to check out your local ones. Not only are you getting a bargain but you're supporting the charity too - guilt free shopping, yay!
I understand though that there's people that just don't know where to begin when it comes to shopping in them, and that's where Shelly Says So comes in with my advice on shopping in them. Some of these tips can also be applied to shopping in general. You're welcome! xo.
Tip No.1: Be patient!
As a rule, charity shops are as organised as can be but they're quite a different experience from shopping in Penneys (Primark for all my lovely British friends!) or New Look. In Penneys you walk in and you see a pretty dress. That pretty dress is all in different sizes, all on the same rail. However, it's quite a different story in charity shops (with the exception being the British Heart Foundation here in Carlisle, everything is so organised). You see a pretty dress, but it's not in your size and on the same rail there could be up to thirty different dresses. It leads to expected frustration, so you must be patient. Rummage through rails like your life depends on it because you never know, the dress of your dreams could be stuck behind a load of other boring dresses....
Tip No.2: Know when something is a bargain or just shite!
From personal experience even from shopping in the likes of Penneys, I know how easy it is to get swept up in the moment just because a product is a low price. Charity shop clothes are of good quality, there is no way anything would be allowed through their doors and put on a rail if they had holes in them where there wasn't supposed to be holes or were in need of rescue. But I've lost count of how many times I've fallen in love with what a dress looks like and the low price of it and abandon everything else that's important when it comes to selecting an item of clothing. Yes, it looked nice on the rail and was as cheap as chips, but when I came home and tried it on, wanting to wear it for a night out, I found that it just wasn't the right fit and was drawing attention to the parts of my body I'm insecure about. Therefore it was a mishap on my behalf and felt like money down the drain (a fiver doesn't seem like too much but when you're a student, a fiver is loads to spend and could have been used for other things (like alcomohol haha), and the dress never did get it's night out on the town.
Tip No.3: Think practical!
This kind of ties in with my second tip above, and it's a mishap I'm equally guilty of making when it comes to thrift shopping, as well as regular shopping. Again, I fall in love with a skirt, dying to wear it out, and then realise it doesn't go with anything else in my wardrobe whatsoever. I know fashion is all about experimentation, but fashion is also like a relationship; if it's a strange fabric/material/colour it could be difficult for it to get on and work well with the rest of your clothes. Same thing applies if you have a million of the same type of clothing at home. If you already have a LBD at home that you barely wear as it is don't bring another one home with you - no matter how cheap it is - to hog further valuable space in your wardrobe.
Tip No.4: Try to not get disheartened.
It's happened to me many times. I walk in one week to a charity shop and I come out with a bagful of bargains, the next week I go into the same one and I'm lucky if I find a book in it I want to read. It's often a matter of luck and being there at the right day and at the right time. Anyways, shopping should be fun, and shopping in charity shops is even more fun, if you let it be that way. This may be a sign I'm getting old, but I enjoy nothing more than spending an afternoon browsing through the rails, even better if I have a friend with me and we can laugh at some of the items for sale in the shop (High School musical calendar from 2005, anyone?). It's such a good feeling when you finally get a good bargain that you weren't expecting that it's well worth it.
Tip No.5: Wash the clothes!
Like I've mentioned already, charity shop clothing is at a very high standard. You'll never walk in and see clothes with vomit or any other bodily fluid on them, but they do have quite a strange smell that obviously transfers to the clothes, so I always wash the clothes after I purchase them, just to make sure all smells are off them and they smell fresh and fancy for your nights or days out.
So here are a few of my charity shop bargains!!
Flowery Dress: NCBI (National Council for the Blind Ireland), Ballina, Co. Mayo, Ireland. Cost €5.
Polka dot Dress (by AX Paris)
: Oxfam Dublin, €5.
: Oxfam Dublin, €5.
Polka dot dress (by AX Paris):
Oxfam in Dublin, €5.
Oxfam in Dublin, €5.
Shorts: 50c (NCBI, Ballina, Co. Mayo, Ireland).