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Fashion is now more relevant than ever before, whether its online or on the street, it’s so easy to spot incredibly well-dressed people. In a sea of fur coats, denim and heels, seeing someone wearing a unique, bold and one of a kind piece can be a maddening moment. Sometimes it is very difficult not to run up to them and shout: where the hell did you get that bag?! 

And then comes the crushing response, the charity shop. Why is it crushing? Because there is very little chance that you’ll lay your hands on the exact same one. 

Charity shops have always been a firm favourite of mine. They’re a popular activity in Ireland’s sleepy towns where there is no Penney’s or Topshop. On rainy Saturday afternoons, when there isn’t much to do, scouring your way through the local hospice shops is an excellent idea. It’s a calm, easy process, no one is pushing or elbowing anyone out of the way to grab the latest H&M collaboration. 

On the other hand, stands the high street with its fast-moving fashion giants, Penney’s, River Island, Adidas and Forever 21. Racks and racks of the latest, hottest trends, seas of customers and dedicated shoppers and when one pair of shoes is grabbed, another pair is brought out. Sale is perhaps the most surreal time, people rush to shops to snap up whatever they can for a little cheaper.  

It is true to say that charity shops can be very dodgy. No one can ever know what to expect. Around 70% of stock is useless to the typical young adult, questionable shirts from the 70s with weird beige patterns and very stained dresses. Unless of course, that is the desired look.  

Here’s the trick, time investment. Sadly, there isn’t an online option when it comes to charity shops. Scour the local charity shops and decide on a few favourites. Then, take the time, every week, every fortnight, once a month and simply wade through them. Look at all their stock, even the men’s clothes, maybe there’s a Levi’s jacket that will fit you. With enough time, gems and hidden treasures will begin to pop up and often for a very low price.  

As with high street, the only secret is disposable money. The more money you have, the more stylish you will be. Timeless pieces are difficult to be found, although it helps to shop smart and look for things that you only need and not impulse buy. Lots of beautiful, detailed and good quality pieces can be found on the high street but it requires knowing exactly what you’re looking for and building on your own sense of style not someone else’s.  

One thing is clear, charity shops will undoubtedly save you a lot of money. However, any smart shopper will know to shop around and look for the best deal. When it comes to style, shops and temptations, ask yourself, do I really need that? 


Photo by Gyorgy Bakos on Unsplash

Photo by Clem Onojeghuo on Unsplash

19 year old Journalism student, writing for anyone who will publish me. Deputy Opinions Editor for the College View, Senior Style Staff writer for Oxygen.ie and columnist for the Roscommon Herald.
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