For years now I’ve found myself noticing lovely dresses that my Mam was wearing. So many of them have caught my eye. So often when I asked her where she got them she might tell me it was from a charity shop. I usually replied with a polite “oh lovely” but I knew that it just wouldn’t be my cup of tea.
And then it happened again. And again. The dresses I was noticing had expensive brand labels and were in pristine condition. They were dresses that stood out and that I didn’t see anybody else wearing. I was intrigued but not enough to actually consider shopping at a charity shop. I’ll be honest, it was the idea that the clothes had been worn by someone else before. Someone I didn’t know a thing about. It just totally freaked me out.
One day myself and my Mam were strolling through Crumlin and she asked could we pop in to the charity shop for a few minutes. It was a particular sale day, a Tuesday I think, and everything was half the marked price. As my Mam trawled through the dresses curiosity got the better of me. I couldn’t believe it when I saw a Zara dress and then a gorgeous River Island top. Neither were in my size but both were in my style. It got me thinking. And then I saw how much money my Mam handed over for about seven items. I think she got change from €20. Everything she got smelled clean and looked perfect.
That very week I made an order on Boohoo.com. When the order arrived I was really disappointed with the items. I had spent about €50 and 2 out of three items looked and felt nothing like what the website portrayed. What really stung though was having to pay to send them back. I got a refund but when you took the delivery fee in to consideration I ended up spending more money (and time) on clothes I didn’t get any joy out of. In fact, the whole experience was a bit of a pain if I’m honest.
I’m in Crumlin village quite a bit so I decided to drop by that charity shop myself one day (it’s the NCBI one). I had twenty minutes to spare before a nail appointment and I had nothing to lose. I went in with an open mind and I left with a full bag of clothes for €20. I got a Zara Dress, a pair of Clarks shoes, a Per Una Dress and an Oasis dress. I couldn’t believe it. What shocked me more was that when I tried the clothes on they looked and felt great. I had spent €20 on a haul that would have easily cost €120+
And then I was hooked. I’d visit that charity shop every couple of months. Sometimes I would leave with nothing and other times I’d leave with a great selection of things. Just last week I picked up a Zara dress for my sister and New Look tan sandals for my Mam. Both were in perfect condition and were €5 each. I think I may have even convinced my sister to give it a bit of thought now too.
The Clarks shoes that I got that first day have come to be my favourite shoes ever. They are SO comfortable, go with everything and you would think that they had never been worn. Maybe they hadn’t, who knows?
I had to laugh – just this week I was in town with Peter on our way to a concert. It was a gorgeous day and I didn’t need a coat but made a comment about being a bit raging that I didn’t bring one for that evening. He said “why don’t you go in to one of your charity shops and pick up a coat?”. It made me giggle but five minutes later we were in an AMAZING one on Camden Street and I was handing over €3 for a Leapord Print rain coat that I will totally get wear out of. I folded it up and it lived in my handbag for the evening until I needed it. A great buy! I will definitely be visiting the Charity shops on Camden Street soon because if that one was anything to go by I am in for a treat.
Shopping in charity shops has honestly been a game changer for me. I have about twenty dresses now that I just adore. I have shoes and boots that I wear the life out of and the best thing is that because they are not current high street nobody else is wearing them. I have clothes in my wardrobe with labels that I just wouldn’t justify the money for but here I am with a nice collection.
And the best part? The money goes to charity.
If you’re reluctant to try a charity shop for the same reasons as me then maybe think about this. The clothes you are buying weekly are probably made in a factory in China, also by someone you don’t know. They travel via plane or boat in boxes and are packed away and on to hangers by someone who you also don’t know. Oh, and many of them have totally been tried on by people like you or I who then went on to decide not to buy them.
Get on board with charity shop fashion, it’s honestly brilliant!
Here are some of my favourite pieces that I’ve picked up in various charity shops around Dublin.
So this is my ultimate favourite. This is a Zara dress and I got it for €5 in a charity shop. It was literally my dream Christmas night out dress. We had a girly night in December over the Christmas period and it felt perfect with some bright lippy paired with tights and boots. I have worn it three times and I LOVE it. The back of it is just the netting that you see on the arms. It is so wearable and will no doubt we worn many more times. It’s a size 8 which I would never go for but because it’s a stretchy material and had been worn before it fit perfect.
I wear these shoes every single week at one stage or another. They are my go to Spring/Summer heel when I am doing my Slimming World group or when I want a fresh look for an occasion with jeans and a nice top. I cannot emphasize how comfortable they are. The material (fake snake-skin type material?) goes really soft the more you wear you wear them. They are really versatile and I just love having my toes out! These were €5 – it seems to be my lucky number!
And finally, you can’t really see it very well but in this photo with my sister I am wearing a black dress. I think it’s from Forever 21. It’s a lovely length and has a gorgeous neckline. It works with sandals or flip flops and equally with tights and boots like I did here for a gig we were attending. I love it! I’ve worn this at least five times already and it was €3.
So there you go – I am well and truly converted. Some day soon I’m going to head in to town for a little charity shop crawl. I’ve also heard that heading out to areas like Dun Laoghaire, Dundrum and Blackrock is a good shout.