Whilst being stylish on a shoestring budget may seem difficult, I’ve always been a big believer that you don’t have to break the bank to be fashionable. Whether you want to rock Cara Delevingne’s grungy style, channel Blake Lively’s boho vibes or simply create your own signature look, charity shops are the way to go! The holy grail of all things thrifty, charity shops have long been my ultimate haven, because not only are they full of stylish steals, but they’re also thrillingly unpredictable.
Although I’ve always been a thrifty shopper, my foray into charity shopping only began a few years ago when I started volunteering in my local Barnardo’s.While I’d like to pretend that I’m a 10/10 gal who volunteered out of the kindness of my heart, in reality, I took the role so that I could add some much-needed work experience to my CV. However, my six months volunteering did more than just boost my employability; it opened my eyes to the true potential of charity stores and led to a change in my shopping habits that kick started my style evolution. A devout eBay junkie at the time, I used to spend hours endlessly browsing the web searching for funky finds and whilst eBay served me well in the style stakes, it wasn’t until I started volunteering at Barnardo’s that I really found my funk and earned that self-proclaimed title of thrifty fashionista.
Each Sunday I would spend four hours at my local Barnardo’s sifting through donations and display them on the shop floor. My time there made me realise that charity shops have so much more to offer than you’d initially think. Brimming with an eclectic mix of stylish gems, charity shops hold a mesh of old and new, high street and vintage. Rather than being restricted by themes and what’s popular this season, they have a little bit of everything and because there’s such a diverse mix of clothes, you really get to experiment with your style. I’ve personally found that some of my favourite thrifty finds have either been clothes I never thought I’d find in a charity store, like my Yves Saint Laurent button up shirt (pictured above) which I snagged for the oh-so-cheap price of £5 or pieces I didn’t think I’d be interested in, like this Pull&Bear bomber jacket, (pictured below) which I was initially unsure about but has become a staple of my wardrobe!
Whilst my interest in charity shopping may have stemmed from wanting to diversify my wardrobe, the more time I spent volunteering, the more I learned about how important the Barnardo’s cause is. This played a big part in my decision to shop pre-loved. From helping children living in poverty to providing counselling, Barnardo’s work with over 240,000 children, young people, parent and carers in the UK and run services that directly make a difference in vulnerable children’s lives. Whilst I may have originally shopped pre-loved due to being financially challenged (my £1 a week pocket money wasn’t getting me too far – big surprise), I now actively choose to do so as I think it’s a great way to support a charity’s cause. While it might simply be a shirt or a jacket to me, the money that Barnardo’s receives goes a long way to help improve a child’s life.
Priyanka – Small, Brown and Stylish