It’s been a busy January so far, new challenges for me and clients thinking about weddings and parties that suddenly seem very close.
One day last week was a fun one, and a challenge…how to find the best bargains from charity shops. There is an excitement in the not knowing what I will find. I look for classics but also know it’s a great chance to experiment with new shapes for a few pounds. I actually love the fact that the garment has a history to it, worn before in another life, and obviously it is very pc to be engaged with the recycling bug and put money back into your charity of choice.

The challenge was on. From the nine charity shops, yes 9, in Godalming, what could I find to fit my client’s brief?
Prefers quality but not brand led, classic but also likes the odd flourish too. I will always encourage, ‘The never have enough jackets’ mantra and to try on new ideas even if they don’t look great on the hanger.
I pre-selected from the shops after a speedy hour, putting one or a few hangers worth aside in each, I check fabric content and care instructions, knowing that she prefers washable, natural fabrics. No knitted wool garments, and I know the best sizes to choose for her body shape. After a coffee break we met up and she tried on the selected and after an hour and half, we ended up with 5 great pieces for under £35.

MaxMara soft black blazer with stitch work and cord edging, £5.50 Age UK Marella navy and black lace trimmed top, £5.25 Phyllis Tuckwell

Riess blue waffle blazer, £9. Oxfam

Paul Costello navy classic jacket, £8.50 Cancer Research

Unknown brand, soft Tencel denim shirt, £4 Phyllis Tuckwell

10 Top Tips for Charity Shopping

1. Wear easy clothes and slip on shoes for quick try-ons.
2. Go early.
3. Skim along the rail, until your gaze fixes on a print or colour you love.
4. Check over delicate fabrics as they will often rip under arms or across the back.
5. If its good but too big be prepared to pay to fit you perfectly.
6. Tailored jackets are often the best value as the stronger fabrics will still be great condition.
7. You love the skirt print but not the style.. so make into a summer top or gorgeous cushion.
8. Remember buttons can be changed, hems and sleeves shortened, so think creatively.
9. Take your own recycled carrier bags and drop off your own unwanted items.
10. Just wash or dry clean if needed, to spruce up the fabric.

Try it as an addition to your wardrobe especially if you want a great jacket at a reduced price. A wardrobe works best with a mixture of high street, vintage, second hand and a hint of designer.

Let me know how you get on.

K x