Charity / Fashion

Charity shops – The Saviour of the British High Street (not the scourge)

Charity shops have recently been hailed as a bad sign for the British High Street. Mary Portas’ recent report honed in on the fact that stereotypical high street shops are moving to the outskirts of British towns in the form of retail parks as a result of free the parking on offer, and this is leaving the British high street with ugly gaps of boarded up shops, or worse, betting shops, ‘gold for cash’ shops and god forbid… Charity shops.

The way I have worded that may or may not be utterly biased for purposes of propaganda, but I figure as I am the only one currently reading this then it doesn’t really matter.

My aim here is to show the average girl how to dress fabulous for less, and not in the Gok Wan way (of whom I am personally a huge fan) of picking up new pieces on the high street but the ethically sound and completely guilt free Charity shop way. A Whistles jacket for £15? Perhaps a Michael Kors dress for £20? Yes please! Sign me up! I want to bring you the crown jewels of donations and show you what is out there. If someone compliments your dress and you say “Thanks. It’s Calvin Klein,” you sound like a pretentious expletive, but if you say “Thanks, it’s Calvin Klein and it cost me £20 from Barnados” people will think 2 of the following three things; ‘I hope you washed it’, ‘wow, that’s a bargain’, ‘I never find things like that in the charity shops’. Well – that’s because they’re not looking hard enough, or they live in the wrong city, or most likely, they haven’t read my blog and got me to do it for them.

I recently spent a week in London, which is loaded to the rafters with money. If you want designer, this is the place to shop, or if you’re like me, the place to charity shop. The best charity shop according to the web was the British Red Cross shop on Ebury Road. They were not wrong. Having just recently taken in a stock of DVF samples, pretty much every dress was £70. There was an Emporio Armani black cocktail dress in an 8 (£40) and two pairs of Louboutin’s in a 38, priced at £160 and £180. I picked up a gorgeous DVF Zalda dress (their sample size is a small, and as this is a wrap dress it fitted me) and shall be wearing this to my fabulous friend’s wedding, for whom only the best will do.

I like the best too, I just can’t afford it, and also nothing gets me all revved up like a bargain.

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All of the above was spotted on George street in Aberdeen. My favourite place for charity shopping due partly to the proximity to my house, and partly to the Shelter store that is found near John Lewis.

In order from right to left: Osprey London patent leather purse, Whistles (a favourite of the Duchess of Cambridge) jacket (12), Mango black leather court shoes (3), Jaeger jersey dress (12), Oasis satin dress (16), Office snake skin kitten heel court shoes (37)

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Here we have 3 dresses – personally I believe that at least 50% of a woman’s wardrobe should be made up of dresses. They are effortless to put on – no matching required – you always look like you have put in 110% when in fact you barely looked in the mirror (it looked good last time – no need to check).

The first is an LK Bennett silk fitted shift dress, perfect for a wedding (14), second is a Michael Kors stretchy brown shift dress with gold chain detail (not my personal style but a steal at £20, size 12), and finally a Warehouse pencil dress, not exactly designer, but gorgeous all the same and a snip of the price, looked barely worn (8).

So there you have it – one Saturday afternoon on George Street. Aberdeen is a very wealthy city make no mistake, and where there is wealth, there is excellent fashion.

I shall also be updating my Twitter page when I find a bargain then and there – location, size and price will all be mentioned. Follow me @meggiemaie or #Aberdeen #Thrifty will also get you to my list of bargains.

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