‘You can spend a dollar on a jacket in a thrift store. And you can spend a thousand dollars on a jacket in a shop. And if you saw those two jackets walking down the street, you probably wouldn’t know which was which’ – Helen Mirren
I’m the type of person who takes pride in their second hand bargains. Other than the purchase of a very gorgeous Kate Spade dress which I still maintain I’m going to get loads of wear out of (despite having had it almost 2 years and not worn it once yet) I still like to maintain that I don’t spend a lot of money on clothes.
Well that statement is open to interpretation isn’t it? A large percentage of my monthly salary probably does go on clothes, however I don’t spend a lot on single items of clothes, I just buy cheap clothes often. I’m definitely one of those people who doesn’t brag about how expensive her clothes are (other than the Kate Spade dress perhaps) I brag about how cheap they are; Oh this? 99p on eBay babe.
Taking part in #nospendoctober last year really opened my eyes to how much money I spend on clothes that I will only wear once then sit in my wardrobe forever more going untouched. As it’s now January where we have to make Decembers pay stretch over almost 6 weeks, I’ve imposed a similar rule on myself. No none essential spending until the end of January (other than my Christmas money). It’s not like i’m going to be going out much to warrant something new anyway.
I’m a real fan of second hand bargains and eBay and local charity shops are my favourite hunting grounds. It also makes me feel like I’m doing my bit for the environment, taking on something that someone no longer wants, upcycling, recycling whatever you want to call it. Their loss is my gain. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a magpie as much as the next girl when it comes to clothes and am not adverse to hitting Primark, New Look and H&M come pay day but when you’re a quantity over quality chick and you want your meagre earnings to stretch as far as humanly possible then you have to put in the leg work and hit the charity high street.
I’ve had my fair share of disasters, especially when you order from eBay and you can’t see the clothes in person but when you become as experienced as I, you learn what size you are in each shop and how well certain things are going to fit you. For example, an H&M Divided size 12 is not the same as River Island size 12, in fact I’m starting to wonder whether H&M sizes actually reflect age rather that than clothes size. A top tip of mine would be to use the ‘lowest price + p&p’ filter option, sometimes that sparkly top you’ve got your eye on may look cheap until you realise the seller has sneakily added £5 postage on. Buggers.
Charity shopping is far easier obviously as you can see the quality of things up close and even try them on in most places. My experience has shown me that cancer charity shops usually have the best stock, I suspect because it’s a charity close to a lot of people’s hearts and people like to donate to charities that are personal to them. We also have an Oxfam in Newcastle situated in-between two large universities so a lot of things get donated there at the end of term.
So, here are some of my favourite second hand bargains I’ve picked up over there years, that I’ve worn to death and have cost me very very little:
T-shirts of some of my favourite music for £5 each on eBay – beats paying £20 at the shows!
I don’t get my knees out too often, but when I do, they’re out-out! l-r pink dress (Matalan) gold dress (Mango) and playsuit (Kookai) all under a tenner each on eBay
Calvin Klein shift dress, £6.99 from Oxfam
I’m 99% sure this Levi demin dress was £1.50 in the Cancer Research shop sale
Two bargainous winter coats from Oasis and Primark respectively, one was 99p and the other £4.99 from eBay
What’s your favourite bargain…?