The ultimate guide to the Edinburgh charity shop scene
Now you too can avoid dirty looks from the fashionistas in the ECA
I am by no means a fashion expert but I do consider myself something of a vintage and charity shopping pro. If, like me, you marvel at the outfits of people on What are You Wearing Wednesdays and wish you had the creativity to recreate them, then look no further for my highly curated list of the best charity and vintage shops near campus.
Here are my favourite Edinburgh charity shops:
Save the Children
An oasis of calm outside the nightmare that is the Newington Lidl bus stop. With its upbeat music and plethora of crystals and incense, it’s no wonder Save the Children is a fan favourite for the Afghan coat clad pollock girlies. As well as a wide variety of fun clothes, the shop also sells accessories and gorgeous handmade jewellry to complete any outfit
Armstrong and Sons
Armstrong and Sons is as much a household name as Oatley oat milk or Lurpak butter among Edinburgh students. An Aladdin’s cave of cheap cashmere and denim jackets, browsing Armstrong’s is one of my absolute favourite methods of procrastination. Granted, it is quite a bit more expensive than some of the charity shops on this list, but the variety of quality items almost makes it worth the extra pounds. My favourites are definitely the Cockburn and Grassmarket shops but all of them deserve the renowned reputation Armstrongs has received.
Shelter is not your grandma’s village charity shop. With its highly styled mannequins and curated window displays it resembles a trendy vintage shop more than a charity shop. Despite this, the low prices make it an absolute go to. There are quite a few Shelters throughout the city but my favourites are definitely the ones on South Clerk street and Forrest Road. I always stop to window shop the gorgeous vintage jewellery and handbags in the display of the Forrest Road shop.
To the untrained eye, Cats Protection may seem like any old dust filled second hand shop. However, after wading through rails of cheugy 2010s clothes, I’ve found quite a few gems in here! The sales assistants are always super kind and helpful and I pretty much always leave the shop with at least one new purchase.
Hospice of Hope
This one probably takes the cake for me as the best Newington charity shop. They have an incredibly wide variety of trendy and vintage pieces and the shops curated in a way thats super easy to navigate. I can rarely walk past this shop without having a quick peek in.
For the thrifting experts amongst us, The Samaritans is a great charity shop for really challenging your skills. The limit on people allowed in means there’s just enough social pressure inside the shop to cause acute panic as you worry about outstaying your welcome. However, I find that this unofficial time limit helps the creative juices flow and forces you to be methodical about your browsing.
I only discovered this gem in the final year of my degree but I’m not sure what i ever did without it! It’s definitely on the pricier side but I honestly just enjoy browsing for inspiration. Few experiences are more stressful, however, than getting undressed in the makeshift changing room where your dignity is in the hands of a precariously secured curtain and door situation. Nonetheless, the Pavilion remains one of my favourite vintage shops and the cafe next door is the perfect place for a post shopping coffee.