Charity shop shopping has a bad rep. It's often assumed that charity shops only sell the things that people don't want, which is true, but another persons trash is another persons treasure.
After investigating fashion supply chains and fashion disposal during my final year of university, I took Traid's pledge
to source 70% of my wardrobe from second hand sources and the other 30% from sustainable and ethical brands and makers.
I buy a fair bit of Vintage clothing (There's a vintage haul coming next week!
) and as I'm still on a student's budget, I thought I'd give charity thrifting a go. Granted, it's not as glamorous as vintage thrifting, and the quality of product isn't the same standard, but there are bargains and treasures alike to be found!
So here are some items I've bought over the past few weeks, there's lots of smart casual pieces that I'm going to dress up for work (I'm starting a new job, exciting!)
and dress down for the weekend. I'm aiming to maximise the wear of each garment, so will be doing some styling blog posts soon to share with you my ideas and looks.
First up is this houndstooth print esque long sleeve, pyjama style shirt. It's 100% polyester and in primary colours of navy and red. Originally from Autograph at Marks & Spencer, bought from Acorns Children's Hospice Charity Shop dot £3.99.
Due to the fantastic condition of this top and the style, I'd say it's less than two years old and has only been worn a handful of times. I love the pyjama, yet smart look and busy print. It's a size UK 14, but I always like to have some wriggle room in my tops for my expressive arms.
Onto my vintage charity shop find! I picked up this Vintage Tesco blouse from Cancer Research UK for £2, it's the second vintage Tesco blouse I have from the 50s/ 60s. It's plain baby blue in colour, with pretty fold and embroidered scalloped detailing, a gentle vintage piece.
100% Polyester, with cuffed sleeves, this subtle piece will be a tran-sesonal piece and very versatile for casual styling and work appropriate looks. There are a few marks on the material from day to day wear, so will give those a good dose of stain remover before popping it in the wash. The label again, states a 14, but is a good fit.
The next one was a conundrum. I was instantly drawn to the print, a lovely bright summer print, but was disheartened to discover it was Primark. I can't stand the place. I'ts so unethical and mass produced and everything I stand against. But here it was, a pretty top, unworn and pretty much brand new.
Whilst I would never purchase new Primark, I reasoned that I could give this item a good home, get lots of use out of it and one day, when it can be worn no more, re-use, up-cycle or recycle responsibly.
I can see myself being reminded of Rana Plaza whenever I wear this top. It's definitely going to fuel my sustainable fashion mission, that's for sure. At least Cancer Research UK got £2 for it and I hope that that money can go towards something good.
My next find is perfect for the flared and bell/ tulip sleeve trend currently in fashion. A short sleeve tulip sleeve blouse from TU at Sainsburys, 100% Polyester. I picked it up in a size 12 for £3.29 its a flattering fit, whilst fun with the sleeve cut and super appropriate for the time of year with the neutral flower and leaf print.
I'm going to tuck the top into smart trousers and leave over the top of jeans. It's not very often I see a top that has print and statement detail, but this top mixes the two really well.
The tag has been ripped out of the Classique blouse, but by the feel of it, again It's polyester. Three quarter sleeves and a super jazzy print. Fun, free and easy to wear, this is the ultimate summer shirt!
It's in super condition and was just £5.49, I'm going to get lots of wear out of this one!
Red is the colour of the summer season this year, so I was chuffed to find this pretty short sleeve jumper with frill v neck detailing for £3 and on buy one get one free offer. 91% Viscose 9% Nylon and from Bonmarche, a very unusual product pick up for me, as I thought Bonmarche only made clothes for pensioners, that said, I do tend to have a grandma chic look.
For my free item, I picked up this vintage M&S short sleeve men's shirt for Adam. I couldn't find anything I fancied for me and I'm not in the habit of buying just for the sake of buying. Hopefully it fits him and he likes it!
It's not just clothing I've been picking up at charity shops, I've managed to get my hands on a pair of navy Dune sandals for £6, which are super comfy and have only been worn a few times judging by the minimal wear and tear on the bottom of the shoes. I'm supper picky about footwear, especially second hand, but you can find great shoes in great condition at great prices.
I've also been picking up small styling bits and pieces to make the most of my clothes and develop further outfit options. Belts are super cheap, usually around £1 and can make an outfit. They're super useful to have on hand and charity shops always have loads of different shapes, sizes and colours available.
But my ultimate bargain was this lovely yellow pop of sunshine, at £4 it was a great buy, especially for a brand new bag, then I found it was still available in accessorize for £27. Someone clearly didn't fancy the gift they'd been given, but fair play for donating it to charity, so someone else could enjoy it and the charity could benefit.
The environment is really important factor for me and 95% of clothing thrown away to landfill can be recycled
through charity shops, textile collection and main stream re-cycling, so next time you're finished with clothes, shoes and accessories, donate them to a charity shop, to help support that charity, whilst saving the environment and allow your old items to become treasures to other people, just like these old items have become my new treasures.
Reduce, re-use and recycle!