Even as the High Street as we know it seems to be in steep decline, the rise of the Charity shop as a permanent fixture seems to be on the rise. Lately, even bigger retail parks have seen the introduction of shops that can be classed as charity superstores, large stores that also sell furniture as well as clothes and accessories.
I love charity shops, I love the thrill of finding a bargain, of finding something that is both brilliant, sustainable and cheap in terms of price, if not in terms of quality. I like the idea that your purchase is giving something back, and I regularly donate bags of my own unwanted clothing to Acorns, a local Midland charity that supports the families of children with life limiting illnesses. Charity shops are great fun, they are an excuse to have a rummage to find something unique, and many also carry vintage lines and finds that I consider to be real treasure.
You can also find designer labels in charity shops,and although sometimes the price tag attached to these can be off-putting, there are still bargains to be found out there. I have found pieces from Marc Jacobs, Lulu Guinness, DKNY, Marni, Malene Birger, Tods and Clements Ribeiro amongst others.
I tend to do a trip to look around local charity shops at least once a week, and choose different towns each time. Current favourite hunting grounds include Cannock (decent quality stock and not over expensive), Bilston (lots of charity shops and as cheap as chips) and West Bromwich (an Escada polo neck for £1 and tons of cotton vintage dresses make this a fave). I tend to avoid weekends and go in the week when the towns are less busy and shops have their deliveries, and although many shops are now bright and shiny with laminate floors, I do not avoid the less salubrious ones, as these are often the best when looking for vintage buys.
If you haven’t yet checked out your local charity shops, I totally suggest you do it, you may just discover a treasure that is waiting just for you.