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Looking fabulous for less!

Posted 23 June 2015

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Why spend hundreds on fancy designer gear when you can pick it up for a few pounds, if you know where to look.

Looking fabulous for less is so doable these days. If you’re prepared to wait, you can pick up last season’s designer clobber at knock-down prices in places like TK Maxx. If you’re not that bothered about things being slight seconds, you can opt for factory shop outlets. And if you don’t mind your clothes being pre-loved, you can grab a second-hand bargain from places like ebay and gumtree.

But where do we think the new best place to pick up a designer bargain is? You might be surprised to see it’s in your local charity shop.  So, here are our best tips and tricks for finding big names for tiny prices, leaving you more to spend on the things that really matter – like that coffee and cake you’ll need after all that shopping!

Tip 1      Choose you shops wisely – choosing your shops wisely could see you end up with an un-worn high-street designer bargain, like a pair of brand new Jane Norman jeans.  Apparently, some high street shops send the odds and ends of last seasons’ stock to the charity shop. Did you know that? Not many people do, and one reason for this is because charity shops don’t advertise it and not all charity shops get the clothes either. The way to find out if your local shops do is to ask – in our experience, they’ll be more than happy to tell you.

Another little trick is to visit the posher areas of where you live to see what pops up in the charity shops there.  For example, in Manchester there are certain areas where the footy players live. Now, if you imagine the typical WAG, it’s likely that they’ll have a large designer wardrobe, stuffed with clothes they’ll probably only wear once. So, get yourself over to the charity shops in those areas and see what you can find.

Tip 2      Check, check and check again! – if you think you’ve found something you really want to buy, make sure you check it for rips, tears, or anything else you don’t think you’ll be able fix. If it’s just a hem that’s come down or a seam that’s come undone, you can probably fix it. However, if there’s a tear in the middle of the fabric, you might need a professional to help fix it. But, depending on what the item is, imagine it’s a DKNY pair of trousers with a small tear at near the waistline, it might still be worth buying the item and having it fixed.        

Tip 3      Get it altered – sizes used to be standard, not anymore! Now a skirt from Top Shop in size 10 is definitely not the same fit as a size 10 from M&S. So, if you find something you like and it doesn’t fit, why not pay to get it altered. As we’ve already mentioned in the post above, it may still be worth your while if the piece is something you really want, or you know it’s a pricey piece of kit to begin with. 

Tip 4      Go often – one of the keys to successful charity shop bargain hunting is to go regularly. Anything that’s worth having will go quickly, so if you see something you really like you’ll need to snap it up. If you don’t, someone else will!  

Don’t know where your local charity shop is? Find out with the Charity Retailers – find a charity shop location tool.  

What super bargains have you found in your local charity shop? And, if you have any other charity shop shopping tips, let us know on our Twitter page 

by Shelley Bowers

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To find out more about managing your money and getting free debt advice, visit Money Advice Service, an independent service set up to help people manage their money.