Vintage charity shop shopping!
Ok so I know that there are hundreds of tips floating around on the internet on 'how to shop in charity shops' but I thought I would share my top tips on shopping for vintage items with you lovely readers :)
My vintage wardrobe mostly bought from Charity Shops.
1) All the tips online say to shop in wealthier areas as they receive the best donations. I do somewhat agree but from my experience charity shops in less wealthy areas often have more hidden gems! Sure you might have to trawl through rails of second hand Primark and George clothes but it is worth it if you can find a vintage designer item that people in the poorer areas are generally unaware or not bothered about.
2) Shop in the independent charity shops, Most of the main charity shops charge a lot more, have less vintage or old-fashioned clothing and I have noticed that most of the shop space is filled with 'bought-in' goods such as jewellery and ornaments that they have made especially to sell at a profit. Although there is nothing wrong with wanting to make more money for the charity by selling these items I think it detracts from the charitable element of receiving donations for free.
3) Try and shop in areas where the population is much older. That might sounds a bit odd but they honestly donate the most amazing vintage or handmade clothes! There is a little town a couple of miles from where my mum lives and I would say about 75% of the population are over 60 and I have found some lovely vintage items in the charity shops there. My favourite thing to look out for are hand-knitted jumpers, you can usually tell these apart because they don't have a label inside. I just love the time and effort that has gone into making them and you can usually find some pretty wacky designs!
4) A bit of a gross tip but if an item really really smells just leave it, the smell will never wash out! Most independent charity shops cannot afford to wash all the clothes that comes in so some just spray with a bit of Febreeze or granny perfume (Eau De Charity Shop) or some just leave them as they are (stinky!)
5) Pretty much all of the vintage items I have found say 'dry-clean only' on the label but as I don't have the money to get every item dry-cleaned or even have the time to wash them all by hand I just put them in the washing machine on a 30 degree wash on the quickest cycle and I haven't (touch wood) had any disasters yet. Then I just hang them on hangers and leave above a heater to dry. *avoid the tumble dryer at all costs!*
6) Don't go to a Charity Shop with something in mind eg 'I really need a blazer' because chances are that they won't have what you're looking for. Instead just have a wander and the might have something similar to what you wanted or you might spot something that you didn't think you needed but you want anyway :)
7) If there is something that you really want but don't have the money at the moment in time just ask the volunteer to keep it for you. They are usually really helpful and don't mind keeping it for a couple of hours. Otherwise you risk some cheeky beggar coming and buying your beloved item! This has happened to me far too many times so I have learned my lesson. Or if there is something that you really want but you keep 'umming and aahing' about it-JUST GET IT! That is my mother's best piece of advice haha. There is nothing worse than thinking about something all day and when your brain clicks and realises that you really do need that item in your life it has been sold to someone more spontaneous than you!
8) Consider altering clothes if something doesn't quite fit you in the way that you'd like. If your not a whizz with the sewing machine then many tailors can alter a garment for around £10-£20 depending what the item is and how much work it needs. Say you buy a skirt for £2 and it costs £15 for it to be measured and altered exactly to your shape then I think £17 for a perfect skirt is still a bargain considering the prices of mass produced high-street clothes.
9) Think about dyeing clothes too, a pack of hand or machine dye costs roughly £3.99 and it can totally transform an item. If you want a lime green blouse its gonna be much easier to find a white one and dye it. Ask your friends and family if they want to share the dye with you because one packet usually does a few smaller items.
10) Visit the shops regularly. I usually go once a week and this way it ensures that I don't miss too much!
I hope these tips help you guys :)
Thanks for reading