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Out with the old and in with the new – a guide to charity shop shopping in Mid Sussex

Out With The Old And In With The New – A Guide To Charity Shop Shopping In Mid Sussex

As High Street prices continue to rise, have you thought that there might be a cheaper way to get your fashion fix closer to home? 

I’ve been an avid fan of shopping in charity shops ever since I developed an interest in vintage clothes and stepping into them is like embarking on a voyage of discovery that leads to acquiring all sorts of gems.

Whether it be a British Heart Foundation shop or an Oxfam shop – both of which call Haywards Heath home, I step through the door and it doesn’t take long for the ‘shopper’s desire’ to take effect.

I look at the collection of Fairtrade chocolate, the miscellany of second-hand books, vinyl and rails upon rails of clothes.

Charity shops embody a sustainable fashion ethos, and essentially they recycle or upcycle clothes and homeware.

It’s an ethical way to shop, and there is a sense of self-satisfaction from knowing that your money is donated to good causes.

Trends are forever being reincarnated, whether on the catwalk, in Topshop or your local Cancer Research shop, so if you like to keep up-to-date with the latest styles it’s an accessible and affordable way of staying on trend.

However, if you’re like me and like to dress with a sense of individuality, rummaging through rails of second-hand clothes could be your ticket to expressing your creativity and uniqueness.
If you visit frequently, you are more likely to experience the ‘EUREKA!’ moment when you find a Dolce & Gabbana dress in your size or walking out of the door with a vintage 1940s day dress for which you only paid a pound.

Charity shops can sometimes be overwhelming places to shop in because of the range of products, so grab your friends and head into one of the many across Mid Sussex with these three tips in mind and you’ll become a connoisseur in no time!

These outfits were both less than £50 and were sourced from charity shops around Surrey and modelled by my beautiful co-shoppers!
These outfits were both less than £50 and were sourced from charity shops around Surrey and modelled by my beautiful co-shoppers!

1) Leave your preconceptions about buying from charity shops at home. There is nothing down-market about buying from a charity shop and if you find it icky touching second-hand clothes, just remember that we were blessed with washing machines for a reason!

2) Be creative and adventurous. I’ve found that this concept is easier to grasp when you are with your friends as they might find a piece that you would never think about wearing, but could, in fact, look absolutely fabulous. Sometimes clothes require a pair of creative hands to make them look great. You could customise a pair of jeans with vintage fabric patches or if you find a top that is too big you could ask yourself: Could I crop this? Could I belt it? Remember, anything your size and up is your size.

3) Don’t play it safe. Charity shops are full of the deliciously bizarre and the affordable chic, so use them as an opportunity to find those hidden gems. If you have difficulty imagining yourself in something, take it out of context and imagine it on a mannequin in Zara or Mango. Two of my vintage co-shoppers, Sara and Lucy, have been at my side in many a-charity shop expedition. As one of them has said, “its hugely satisfying being thrifty, you can get three or four outfits for under £50 – and it’s ethical as well.” So go forth and be charitable – happy thrifting!

By Georgia Lambert

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