This is a snapshot of my wardrobe and everything that you see is either second-hand or homemade or maybe from the sale rack at Primark (for those not in the UK – a really, really, cheap clothes shop).
I love clothes and in my young and single days I would spend rather a lot on very nice clothes – some of which I still own and love today. But now, being a budget conscious working mother, the thought of going into a REAL shop and buying clothes at the REAL price brings me out in hives. In fact, I can’t remember the last time I went into a REAL shop. Even when I went home to Australia, I only went into the second-hand shops!
So, I am going to tell you how I do a really, really, effective second-hand clothes shop.
- Find a town near you that has filthy rich people living in it. You see if you were to second-hand shop in my town – not many filthy rich people here – you won’t really have much luck finding the nice quality stuff. That is because us poor people don’t go out and buy silly expensive clothes and then take them to the charity shop. We either keep them and wear them every day to get the value from them or we sell them on eBay. We aren’t just going to waste our money and give expensive clothes away! I’ve found gorgeous clothes in the filthy rich towns that still have the labels on!!!! WHO DOES THAT, spend a fortune on clothes, hang it in the wardrobe for a bit, never wear it and then decide you need more space to hang more expensive clothes, so you give UNWORN clothes away! The mind boggles.
- A week day is the best day to go shopping, and start early, wear comfortable easy to get changed in and out of clothes and take a big empty shopping bag and a bottle of water. You see this isn’t a stroll around the shops glancing at the pretty display type of shopping – this is a purpose driven mission and you must prepare seriously.
- Do not go into any other shop other than second-hand clothes shop. You must be focused and you must not be distracted from the main objective.
- When you walk into a second-hand shop, start at one side and work your way around the rails. Ignore the sizing. Rummage and touch everything, take your time. Do not go for plain boring things – look for gorgeous fabric, soft fabric, colours, good brand labels, things you wouldn’t normally try. The point is that you can go to your cheap new clothes shops to get plain t-shirts, trousers, skirts etc. Second-hand shopping is about the things you would never ever buy normally, or even try on normally or ever be able to afford normally.
- Try everything on. Even too small sizes or too big sizes – you never know what will fit or how – just try. Try things on that you think probably won’t suit you – but the colours are gorgeous – because you never know once it’s on, it actually might just suit you after all. BE BRAVE – this is not something that is going to cost huge amounts of money, if it makes you smile and is fun – BUY IT! And there are no snotty sales ladies trying to sell you things – so don’t be embarrassed to try everything on. The people working in the charity shops are happy that you are there and aren’t in for the hard sell.
- Think outside the box!! My Baby girl is good at this, currently her favourite jumper is actually a winter wool dress for a 3 year old, but on her it’s a gorgeous tight jumper. Her other favourite is little dress with printed bows on and a peter pan collar – which is actually a small ladies mini dress – but fits her lovely as a long dress. And this is my latest think outside the box.
It’s a pair of curtains that I got for £2.95 and I LOVE the colours. This weekend, I am going to sew them together at the edges and thread some elastic through the top and I will have a fab new, gorgeous skirt.
I do hope that I have inspired you, because it is one of my most favourite things to do – a proper full on second-hand shop followed by a large cappuccino. Sipping that frothy coffee whilst you look over your bargains and feeling properly smug that you now own a “insert expensive brand name here” for a tiny fraction of the price, is such a lovely feeling. And if you are having a cappuccino in the filthy rich town you have just plundered, you can look around the café at all the silly women wearing their expensive brands, that they would have spent a fortune on and giggle to yourself. You have got to love that!