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The beginner’s guide to second-hand shopping (and getting amazing bargains)

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Because having vintage style doesn’t have to cost the Earth… 

Charity Shopping

By Rose Munday

Every year millions of unwanted garments end up in land fill just because they don’t fit their owner any more.

Just think, if these items all ended up in charity shops there’d be tons more bargains to be had (and who doesn’t love a bargain?), so make sure you donate your clothes to your local shop.

Not only is charity shopping eco-friendly, it’s also a lot of fun, especially as vintage-chic is so in right now. This week, we’re sharing our best tips for bagging a bargain in charity shops…

Start small
If you’re a nervous vintage beginner, start off with a new bag or necklace. There’s nothing better than the buzz you get when you bag a bargain, but leaping straight into the world of woolly jumpers and tweed coats can be a bit overwhelming, so start small by adding accessories to outfits you already have. Remember to keep your current wardrobe in mind – there’s no point buying a cheap skirt if you have to buy a new high street top and pair of shoes to go with it. Begin with baby steps and you’ll be a vintage queen in no time!

Visit often
Many charity shop pros nip in to all the local shops daily to snap up any new stock that might have just come in. To prevent them getting there first, pop your head round the door on the way to work or on your lunch break. Getting pally with the staff can also be a great move as they may get an idea of your style and be able to advise you on what they’ve got in and even hold things for you.

Get creative
Don’t despair – if a shop doesn’t have a lot in your size, think outside the box. One person’s top could be another person’s dress worn with leggings and a belt. Also, get creative – if a shop has a floor-length skirt in a great print but you’re more a fan of knee-length or shorter skirts, get arty with a pair of scissors and some thread and make the item right for you. This also works two ways – quirky home-knitted jumpers from charity shops can totally be passed off as your own knit-work to impress friends and colleagues.

Visit them all
You might think that if you don’t live in quirky-cool area of London, you won’t be able to find stylish vintage buys. But often higher-end charity shops come with a higher-end price tag and more competitive vintage buyers snapping up new donations before anyone else gets a chance. Sometimes the local shop in your gran’s village actually proves best for really cheap and unusual bargains if the oldies don’t yet realise that tweed and lace are actually super fashionable again.

Give back
Lastly, don’t forget that charity shopping is a two-way process. Now your wardrobe is bursting with new vintage buys, your old clothes are probably being worn less and less. We all have those ‘I-might-wear-it-one-day’ items that we know we never will, so how about bagging them up and donating? It gives you a rewarding feeling plus you never know – charity shopping karma might come around and find you some fab new bargain buys.

So if you’ve got nothing planned for the weekend, or even your lunch break, impress your friends by grabbing a vintage buy for under a fiver.

As Macklemore and Ryan Lewis say… “I wear your granddad’s clothes, I look incredible, I’m in this big ass coat, From that thrift shop down the road”… and so on…

frankensteinHere comes the science bit…

GC articles show you one of four ways (the one in bold) to live greener…

/ Be a winner (not a binner) /
/ Turn up the style (not the heat) /
/ Love the trend (not the spend) /
Do it in public (not the car/plane) /

Pic: matness4dummies

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