Charity shop lover Kathryn Houldcroft has been shopping since her teenage years and explains why she’s still charity shopping in her 40’s…
As someone in their mid-40’s you would have thought that charity shopping is something I would have grown out of by now. But I guess I have been second-hand shopping for so many decades that my brain is now hardwired to head straight for the thrift stores. I also love the thrill of a bargain, the individuality of charity shop purchases and the feeling I get from giving to a good cause, such as Barnardo’s. And there’s other reasons as well:
1) It’s something I haven’t grown out of.
I first started second-hand shopping in my early teens when charity stores circa 1985 were very different to the ones you see now. Ironically, although these places were frowned upon, they were stocked with amazing pieces from the ’50s and ’60s that would now be classed as vintage.
2) It’s my own personal style and no one will have the same outfit as me.
I have to confess this was the reason I began charity shopping many years ago. As a student I wanted to look individual. I wanted to wear the shirt, jacket or shorts that no-one else had. I guess this is a habit that has stuck with me.
3) It’s cheap.
As a teenager of the 1980’s, I imagined my future self to be some highly driven career woman buying all my clothes from designer shops – or M&S at least. When I worked full time in my twenties I did buy my work clothes from High Street stores. However, since having children and taking on a range of part-time and freelance work, I have less of a budget, or indeed a need, for buying first hand work wear. As a result, I can stock my casual wardrobe with low price second-hand clothes.
4) It encourages re-use, and donating to good causes.
Long before we knew about the three R’s, (Reduce, Reuse, Reycle), charity shops were there to enable us to buy re-used clothing. I truly believe that by purchasing second-hand clothes we are extending the life of a garment. We are ensuring the resources that are used to make, transport and package it are stretched for just a little longer. Our hard earned cash is also going back into the charity pot, rather than into the hands of an anonymous corporation. But in order to keep the cycle going we must remember to donate our pre-loved clothing to charity shops too.
5) The ‘feelgood’ factor.
This comes down to the fact that I love browsing and getting a good bargain! I’m still feeling smug about the green dress I wore for New Year’s Eve from a charity shop whose lookalike was on sale first hand for £159! Okay, so mine was pre-worn and I had to sow the buttons back on the cuffs but I like to feel it has a story to tell and, if I take care of it, I can pass it onto my daughters so its durability will carry on for a very long time…
While I never believe you should dress ‘age appropriate’ there are a few charity shop outfits that I no longer aspire to wear. Browsing through all the great posts from other (younger) bloggers on The-Thrift, I know there are dress lengths and styles that I no longer feel comfortable wearing. However, the nineteen-year-old me who used to wear a pair of shorts made from old curtains is still there – she just has to turn the curtains into a below the knee dress now…
Kathryn Houldcroft has her own blog Second-Hand Tales where she shares her latest charity shop finds, upcycled goodies and advice on leading a more sustainable life.