BEGINNER’S GUIDE TO NAILING AW14 CHARITY SHOPPING
I understand from my personal style clients that sometimes charity shopping can seem a bit daunting if you’re not a seasoned pro.
So with the season transition on the approach and the shop floors switching into Autumn Winter mode I wanted to give you my Top Three Stylist Tips for nailing Autumn Winter 14 on a charity shop run.
BEGINNERS - DON’T BROWSE
In some respects, if you’re unprepared charity shopping can feel a little like sale shopping. For those who are not a pro I find it’s best to go at it with intent to avoid feeling overwhelmed or unsure. So, decide on a look or outfit you are going to update your wardrobe with or an outfit you need for an occasion and look first for a key piece you can build around. This key piece needn’t be from the charity shop it can be from your existing wardrobe, but if this is the case be sure to bring it with you. The easiest place to start is the new AW season’s trends so here’s a helping hand with three of my favourites…
60’s - Look for retro shift dresses, fancy rain macs, funky prints and modern fabrics to keep it fresh - think about mixing in some metallics and leathers and white polos always fit the bill. See Mui Mui, Gucci and Louis Vuitton for inspo.
Winter Pastels - Look for ice cream shades with nice texture details. Layering and detail are the key to nailing this look, so maybe keep an eye out for a pastel knit to get started.
Military colours as the new neutral
Military vibes always come back whether in hue or shape style. This is an easy one to do in a charity shop because you’re bound to find something that works. Look for Khaki mixed with florals, earthy materials like this lumberjack shirt and workman textures. If you’re feeling less adventurous seek out a nice military hue green gentleman’s sweater and team with a pretty skirt to be bang on trend for ‘sweater dressing.’
KEEP IT CURRENT
This ties neatly into my first tip. Most people who are not au fait with charity shopping fear looking less ‘modern and fresh’ and more ‘hand me down esque’. oooh look that sort of rhymes! So choose a trend (as above) and try to really focus on capturing the essence of it on your first trip to the chaz shop. Then when you’re feeling a little more confident you can go hell for leather with mixing trends. But for now, simple is winning.
LOOK FOR THE GOLDEN RAIL
Right - not sure I should be sharing this but I’m going to anyhow. tee hee.
Because of the way the sorting is done in charity shops, more often than not the lovely volunteer staff will be well adept at curating and putting aside all of the best bits. What this means is that you should keep a keen eye out for the golden chalice, the pirates treasure, the cherry on the top of your sundae…. of rails. Now I can’t promise it will always be there but in my experience there will often be a special rail somewhere on the floor with many of the best goodies on it. In some shops this will be a vintage rail and others it may have some fairly recent Stella McCartney on it (for example). Have a look for it on your first few visits and soon you’ll develop a knack for spotting it within minutes of entering the shop.
SHOP LOCATION SMART
Recently a friend told me a about a great little analogy her therapist used when trying to explain why we go to certain friends for support with some things and certain friends for others, and why we can’t expect things from our loved ones that they are not inherently best placed to deliver.
She said this…. ‘You wouldn’t go to Wilko’s to get the best smoked Salmon now, would you dear.’
I digress I’m sure, but the crux of it is that there are specific charity shops that have specialities. Here are some very usable very quick tips for you to go ahead and use:
For Recent Designer Pieces -
Head to British Red Cross WESTMINSTER branch (incidentally where we’ll be hosting #Charity Fashion Live on the 13th September) - Here you might find A Burberry Mac, perhaps a Diane Von Furstenberg sequin dress, Ted Baker bits and bobs or even an authentic 80’s varsity jacket. I spotted all of these things in there, just last week.
For Retro Galore and a bit of Vintage
You’d be better off with Oxfam Dalston where one might find, Miami style Hawaiian swim shorts, fabulous coats and 90’s denim for example.
To channel cool urban looks and celebrity trends
From Cara Delveigne style outfits to Alexa Chung’s gamine parisian charm, or even to pick up a fabulous vintage wedding dress try Traid Clapham Junction. Stay tuned for more on this in an article coming soon!
Catwalk images from glamour magazine.co.uk