How to get charity shop chic

clothes rail

Look for luxe. Keep an eye out for cashmere, linen, silk and pure wool – these quality fabrics will last a lifetime.

Buy ahead. Charity shops don’t stock seasonally, so think outside the season. You might find your new favourite coat in summer.

Many shops have stock in the back so if you have a specific item in mind, just ask.

Take cash with you as not all charity shops accept credit or debit cards.

Before you purchase shoes and boots, check they don’t need re-heeling, which may cost more than the shoes!

Get creative and see potential. A shapeless dress may look better with a belt. A plain top could look amazing with the right statement necklace. A jacket can be transformed with new buttons.

Shop in upmarket areas as you’re more likely to come across higher-end labels and designer cast offs. Also, keep an eye out for stores off the beaten track – they’ll have more stock and more gems.

Have a look at the care label How do you clean it? If it says dry-clean only, consider the extra costs, or decide whether you could wash by hand.

Look for classic accessories. A great designer bag will always be an investment buy. Snap up retro looking sunglasses, from Ray-Bans to ‘Jackie O’ styles, and you can’t go wrong.

Don’t buy it just because it’s inexpensive – if you’re not in love with it or can’t see its potential, think about leaving it to someone who might.

Zips will give away the age of an item. Metal zips are vintage, plastic zips are modern.

Try before you buy as sizes will vary. Standard clothing sizes have changed drastically over the decades. A 1950s size 14 would be the equivalent to size ten today.

Eveningwear is often a good buy – what could be more timeless than a little black dress?

Look out for holes, broken zips and missing buttons. If the price is low, minor damage might be worth fixing yourself.

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