The power of charity shops

Lizzie discusses her charity shop finds.

Lizzie Yockney
16th February 2022
Image: Lizzie Yockney

I am certainly no stranger to a charity shop. My mum would drag me from shop to shop when I was younger, hunting for a bargain. She was, and still is, a big fan of picking up something for cheap that would be more expensive elsewhere. I also volunteered in a local charity shop for a while, which I absolutely loved, as I would finish my shift and race to buy the item that I had been eyeing up for the past two hours. These experiences have definitely shaped my love of charity shopping and helped me to hone my skills of seeking out those hidden charity shop gems, which is ideal on a student budget. 

After fuelling up with a full English brunch, I headed to the British Red Cross charity shop, which is next to Grainger Market, as this is currently my go-to place. The British Red Cross is partnered with Zara, so there are plenty of really good pieces to go at for a fraction of the price you would pay on the high street. I didn’t venture out with a specific idea of what I wanted in mind, instead I was just looking for clothes that caught my eye. Usually, I find things that I like based on colour and pattern - the shape and fit factor in later! 

Usually, I find things that I like based on colour and pattern - the shape and fit factor in later! 

Firstly, I found this beautiful gold star-covered dress which is originally from NastyGal. I have been agonising over what to wear to my friend’s birthday party next week, and I was honestly planning on buying something last-minute online from PrettyLittleThing or a pricey outfit from Urban Outfitters. Luckily, there is no need! I spotted the pattern first, as the bottom of the dress was peeking out from the rack. Not only is the pattern perfect, but the milkmaid shape and the slit in the side of the dress are really flattering on me. The only thing I would change about this item would be the length, so I am going to shorten it, using my (very) basic sewing skills. I’m really excited to style this, probably with thigh-high boots (when it is shorter) and gold eyeshadow to match the stars. This dress feels like an absolute steal at £15.

Next, I picked up some basics. I absolutely loved the blue puffed-sleeve Zara jumper I found, It's really comfortable but looks quite elevated. My plan is to wear it into uni with jeans and ankle-length boots. I can dress it up or down. I am a fan of a jumper, so I picked up another one in a Zara cable-knit. When I tried it on at home it was a little bit itchy, so I think that it would be sensible to wear it with something underneath, like a turtleneck. I am also really excited to style this white cropped jacket. I will probably pair it with my gingham flares (as per usual) and my black and white platform Vans, as I think that a monochrome look would work really well. This piece is perfect, as it is versatile and will be great to wear into spring and summer over dresses. 

As is inevitable when it comes to charity shopping, two pieces that I bought did not fit. This is especially likely if you are like me, and don’t try things on in the shop. I definitely wouldn’t recommend this. I bought the burgundy lace top and black cropped shirt as I thought that I could style both to wear on nights out. Unfortunately, as both do not fit, my options are to re-donate, sell them on or to try to flip them into something wearable. Hopefully, inspiration will strike soon, and I will be able to wear them out into town.

I think that in moderation, charity shopping is a great way to find unique pieces on a budget that would otherwise be chucked away, helping the planet and your pocket. 

I really enjoyed charity shopping this week and I am happy that I managed to pick up some great pieces whilst I was at it. I think that in moderation, charity shopping is a great way to find unique pieces on a budget that would otherwise be chucked away, helping the planet and your pocket. 

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