A handy guide on how to become a charity shop pro

Why buy new clothes when another man’s trash can be your treasure?

Charity shops are much like Marmite – people often either love them or hate them. I am a lover.  70% of my wardrobe is made up from items I have purchased from vintage havens and if I had more time on my hands it would be 100%.

Some people have a built up stigma against them. The idea of second hand clothes doesn’t appeal to everyone, and I get this.  However, the perception that someone has either died in them or they are dirty because they are second hand is unnecessary. It’s all about the outlook you have.

Musing on the secret past hidden behind clothes purchased from charity shops and the experiences they have been through with a previous owner is actually rather fascinating and opens your mind to a realm of possibilities.

Many people ask how I manage to find such good bargains in charity shops, so I thought I would compile my tips and tricks on how to save money whilst stocking up on wavey garms without breaking the bank.

Helly Hanson Jacket

Helly Hansen Jacket, cost: £10


Cardiff is a gold mine for charity shops with areas such as City Road, Albany Road and Wellfield Road just ridden with potential for a bargain. YMCA is a personal favourite of mine and you can’t really go wrong when everything is £1.

I also feel way less guilty about spending the money I don’t have as it’s possible to tell myself I’m contributing to society.


Understand that it takes time to build up a decent charity shop collection. You need to have realistic expectations and not be disheartened when the first charity shop you walk into doesn’t have what you want.


Check charity shops regularly. Even if it’s just to kill time before the bus or on your way back home from a food shop. Stock is always changing and by checking regularly you are more likely to find something worthwhile.

The Swoop

Named so because you simply enter the store, circle and then leave in one swift motion. This is a technique used to cut down time, simply scanning without going through everything. It gives you a vibe of what stock is in and if anything stands out at you. Your individual style will find you before the next trend hits the high streets.

Pink coat, cost: £6

Know what you’re after

Know the kind of look you are going for, so when you see it you will know. You may want a baggy kind of corduroy shirt, so keep an eye out in the shirt sections until you find something that sticks out.

Think outside the box

Forget male and female or sizes or even the idea that a T-shirt has to be worn as a T-shirt. Get creative, old shirts become dresses and over-sized men’s jumpers become key wardrobe items. There is no boundaries in charity shops and by opening your mind you are more likely to find something unique.  Imagine viewing the item as if it was in a vintage shop and had a zero label attached.

The clothing is original supposed to looking like a clone, plus it also goes against the consumerist mentality of throw-away culture, which leads to the belief of having to adhere to the latest trends.

Be confident

Screw what other people think. If you like it then get it and wear it with sass.

Plus it probably costs less than a pint anyway, so there’s really nothing to lose.

Photo credits: Will Jarvis.