‘I found it in a charity shop’ is a phrase I must say a hundred times a week. My wardrobe is almost entirely pre-loved – once you’ve thrifted a pair of Versace sandals for £4.99, it’s hard to go back to the high street.
I’m a Kid of The 90s. I spent my childhood wearing glittery flares, butterfly hair-clips, Claire’s Accessories chokers and Tammy Girl combat trousers. Today fast fashion is awash with 90s nostalgia – but if it’s authentic 90s brands you’re after then look no further than the lime green doors of Barnardo’s. Like most charity shops, Barnardo’s is a time capsule for 90s clothing. Shelves stacked high with diamanté mini handbags, baby pink tube tops and spice girl worthy platforms. It is the only place on my shopping list if I want genuine 90s pieces. This week I’ve scouted out all the best treasure that Barnardo’s has to offer to take me back to the days of cassette tapes and Girl power.
Across a fortnight I took myself to as many Barnardo’s stores as I could find around Essex and Suffolk. As I stepped into each shop I could almost hear the sounds of an All Saints mixtape and the beeps of the dial up internet. Before long I had thrifted some Morgan de Toi bootcut jeans, an Elle mini dress and a selection of Etam crop tops. One store offered up a pair of denim kitten heels for just £2.99 and the Barnardo’s in Bury St Edmunds had an unworn pair of Skechers platforms that I only wish had been in my size.
In any charity shop if it’s 90s pieces I want to find, then the accessories shelves are the first place I go. Shoes, bags, belts and hats are key pieces that can transport any outfit into another decade. First I thrifted a leopard print faux fur hat for the bargain price of £1.50. I haven’t taken it off my head since. Next, hidden on the shelves of Barnardo’s Colchester I found some metallic blue kitten heels for £4.00. They were purchased solely so I could feel like Carrie Bradshaw next time I went out for cocktails. Lastly, I found a ridiculous, fluffy, handbag in Barnardo’s Sudbury. It was buried in a sale basket for just 50p. I had to buy it. No 90s outfit is complete without a bag to carry your Nokia 3310.
These are the final looks from my 90s Barnardo’s haul. Each outfit is 100% thrifted. Everything from the jewellery to the jackets are charity shop finds inspired by 90’s style icons. From Rachel Green to Cher Horowitz. Kate Moss to Baby Spice. Empire Records to 10 Things I Hate About You. Barnardo’s is my teleport into 1999.
Bag – Barnardo’s £2.99 Skirt – Barnardo’s £3 Hat – Barnardo’s £1.50 Boots – Barnardo’s £5.00
Hat – Age UK £1.50 Dress – Barnardo’s £4.99 Bag – Barnardo’s £2.99
Dress – Barnardo’s £3 Bag – Barnardo’s £2.00 Top – Sue Ryder £3.50
Bag – Barnardo’s £0.50 Blazer – Barnardo’s £6 Necklaces – Barnardo’s £1 Each
Hat – Barnardo’s £1.50 Jeans – RSPCA £4 Top – Barnardo’s £3 Belt – Barnardo’s £1
Coat – Barnardo’s £8 Flares – Cancer Research £3 Tube Top – Barnardo’s £1.50 Necklaces – Barnardo’s £1 Each
Tips and Tricks for Thrifting 90s Clothes
KNOW THE NAMES TO LOOK OUT FOR
The same 90s brands appear in charity shops time and time again so look out for these labels: Jane Norman, Etam, Morgan, Kookai, Skechers, KIT, Barrats, GAP, Ravel, Steve Madden, Kickers, Principles, Bay Trading
DON’T FORGET TO ACCESSORISE
The best things about thrifting jewellery is that it’s normally only £1 for a necklace. That’s cheaper than your morning coffee. Chokers, bangles and heart shaped pendants will add a little 90s style to any outfit.
IT’S NOT ALL ABOUT BRANDS
Search for key pieces instead of brands like double denim, animal print, leather coats, tartan mini skirts, spaghetti strapped dresses, Mary Jane shoes, flared trousers, PVC handbags, halter neck tops and anything sequinned.
£1 GOES A LONG WAY
If you only have a little bit of change in your pocket then spend it wisely. Handbags, belts and hats are the cheapest way to add a 90s twist to any outfit.
KEEP AN EYE OUT FOR DESIGNERS
I’ve thrifted so many 90s designer pieces over the years including a Burberry bucket hat, Moschino jeans, Versace top, Tommy Hilfiger Jumper, Prada sandals and a Mulberry handbag. Whenever you see that lime green Barnardo’s shopfront – it’s always worth a look. Shop preloved. Spice up your life. Recycle style.
Big thanks to Eliza for sharing her pre-loved finds with us this week on The-Thrift, we are obsessed with all things 90’s. Be sure to head over to Instagram and give her a follow for even more fab pre-loved pieces.
Want to share your top Barnardo’s finds with us and feature on The-Thrift? Comment below and we’ll get in touch!