How to nab your May Week dress for as little as SIX POUNDS

Charity shops are the way to go


My headline came out sounding like a rather aggressive advertisement: one of those clickbait ads which crops up on your Facebook newsfeed and sounds far too good to be true. Fortunately for you, ladies, it's not too good to be true.

I think we can all agree that the cost of a May Ball ticket is extortionate. And then on top of that, you have to source a dress in your size and a perfectly-matched pair of shoes and a perfectly-matched clutch and the right jewellery. And then there's the garden parties, which require a completely different outfit altogether. Stressful and expensive, to say the least.

I am here to tell you that you can EASILY find your dress(es) for under a tenner. Cambridge is a gold mine when it comes to charity shopping. And you can proudly and smugly inform people of that when they compliment you on how gorgeous your dress is.

Charity shopping is fun, and far more rewarding than browsing in the high street. Every find is a small triumph because you've had to work a little harder to get it. Instead of feeling your stomach churn as you put your card into the machine, you will smile knowing you've just bagged an incredible bargain AND you're giving something back to society.

Some examples:

The ballerina dress – £12

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I feel so pwetty

This one was actually from a vintage shop rather than a charity shop. It's incredibly well-made, with perfect seams, no loose threads and gorgeous detail. A little more expensive than a typical charity shop purchase but it is brand new, which makes all the difference.

I can't recommend the shop where I bought this enough. It is called 'Fantasia' (www.fantasia.uk.com) and it is located about halfway down Mill Road (where all the edgy people hang out for those of you aren't in the know). It's full of wacky, bold clothes, at reasonable prices.

The classic look – £8

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This one was from a charity shop called 'Mind' on Grafton Street. It's not just good for dresses, but everything else as well. On my last visit, I bought this dress, a viking helmet for £1.00 (don't ask), a pair of sports leggings for £1.50 and a cute pair of striped culottes for £4.00.

The cute floral aesthetic – £6

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Can you spot my 26 pairs of shoes in the background??

This cost me just six quid from Cancer Research, located on Regent Street next door to Starbucks. It is by Lipsy London; a quick Google search revealed it is probably worth around forty or fifty quid.

Flowery mini dresses like this one are perfect for the May Week garden parties, and are in abundance in the charity shops at this time of year.

The purple one (my creative juices are dwindling, sorry) – £6.50

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My year 13 prom dress :')

I bought this back home, but if you're after a maxi, ballgown-style dress like this one, I'm sure you won't have to look too far in Cam either.

Sadly, it's 100% polyester, but it kind of looks like silk.

And finally, the pièce de résistance – £15

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I feel so expensive

The most expensive of them all but arguably also the biggest bargain. The dress is by the British designer Karen Millen. Most of her dresses are worth between well over 100 quid, so I was very chuffed to find this.

This is a shining example (quite literally wahey) of the perks of charity shopping in a wealthy area. The upper middle class emerge from their townhouses to deposit designer clothes they've worn once and their guilty consciences – and we reap the benefits.

I bought this dress in a charity shop in Finchley. I would say London is the best bet if you're looking for some designer gems but you might get lucky in Cam.

Stay thrifty!