Charity shops are like treasure troves to me, an Aladdin’s cave full of possibilities. Given the option, I’m always going to choose thrifting over new buys – not because I don’t like purchasing new things but it’s that sense of the unexpected and the ‘you’ll never know what you might find’ wonder that keeps me excited and going back for more.
Ever since I can remember this has been a favourite past time of mine. It’s a real de-stresser and just endless hours of fun. Now that i’m working in a new area of London, I’m using my sporadic lunchbreaks to explore the area and what charity shops it has to offer. Much to my excitement I found two right beside one another the other day and had myself a very mini haul in the form of this blouse – which I found in the ‘large’ section – and a super cute leopard print midi dress that I’m sure I’ll put up on the blog at some point.
I was in a particularly good mood when I bought it and also when I wore it, so I feel sure this little blouse is going to become a bit of a feature in my wardrobe over the summer months – I’m even planning on using it as a cover up with my Toast polka dot bikini when we finally hit those Cornish beaches. Many times when people thrift (especially if the clothes have already been divided into sizes) they stick to the section they think will fit them and avoid all the others. My rule is to look at every section including the men’s because you might be missing out on some real gems – I actually found an awesome men’s Hawaiian shirt recently but foolishly decided not to take it ….major shopping regret!
And this is not meant to be a dis to those wonderful people who volunteer their time at a charity shop (I admire those peeps a lot) but for the most part they don’t really know what is good thrifting material and what isn’t. By that I mean, they often don’t put out the ‘crap’ from the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s because they think people want the newer stuff – I’ve even overheard them say as much. I can totally see why they might think that too. But that’s not the only reason there is a lack of real vintage in our charity’s shops at present. You know those places that curate the vintage clothes for you, places like rokit and beyond retro? Yeah, well they buy up all the proper vintage from the charity shops before it even hits the rails only to sell it at a premium price in their stores, and I kinda have an issue with that to be honest but anyway.
Another thing those lovely Ladies and Gents in the charity shop aren’t really up on is sizing – and why should they be, so this is not a criticism I’m simply just pointing out the facts. Larges end up in small section and vice versa. They also don’t take into consideration vintage, European or American sizing, which is how I’ve come to find a US12 in the small section and a European 36 in the large – and forget about vintage sizes, they honestly haven’t a clue and will just chuck it anywhere. So the lesson is ….check every rail, every section, every cubby hole and also ask if they have anything out back you could take a look at, and maybe tell them what it is you’re looking for, i.e. a colourful 60’s printed dress, a great 50’s skirt etc. If it’s a charity shop you regularly visit why not ask them to keep aside any items they think you might like for the next time you come in – you never know what fantastic pieces you could end up with!