Everyone knows that stuff is cheap in Charity Shops, that’s above all why they shop there. But that’s not what my title refers to. I am thinking more along the lines of, if something is in a charity shop, it’s in there for a reason, and you have to be a pretty savvy shopper to make sure that you don’t fall into the original trap that befell the previous owner.
Items make their way to Charity Shops for a variety of reasons but you can nail them down to around 3 key causes:
- The item looked hideous on the wearer
- The item didn’t fit
- The item had a design flaw
Now, if the original purchaser was drawn in by the item at the original RRP, or even at a sale price, you need to be even more careful that you’re not tempted by it for the same ill-fated reasons, especially as it’s now costing you a fiver rather than fifty quid, so you;re less likely to give it the same depth of thought. Let’s deal with each issue individually:
The item looked hideous on the wearer:
This can be caused by something as simple as someone not knowing their body shape. Say a girl, height 5″3 who is a size 14 top, a bit of an apple shape, with relatively slim legs by comparison. An insulated gilet is going to be the worst possible choice for staying warm. It looked great at the shop, with those slimming mirrors (H&M I’m talking to you) but she gets it home and realises it makes her look like a pumpkin with cocktail sticks for legs. Now, if you happen to also be a size 14, but you’re 5″9 and you’re more of a pair shape, an insulated gilet is going to look lovely and chic with your long legs and slim arms. So you can buy it, there’s nothing wrong with the item, it was just a poor choice for the original purchaser.
The item didn’t fit
Now again, this doesn’t mean that there’s anything wrong with the item, it just means that it was wrong for the first person that bought it. I am a size 10, I’m always a 10. But in Zara, I try on a medium and it’s tight around the waist and fits over my hips (I’m an apple shape – the worst shape), so I try a large, and it fits around the waist and it huge over the hips. It just doesn’t fit me, but it would fit someone who was an hourglass. Again nothing wrong with the garment, just make sure it fits you.
Another example is these boots:
These are gorgeous, real leather. One of the benefits of being an apple is that I have tiny calves and slim legs. It’s the only benefit so I hold on to it tightly. Now these boots fit me great, I can get one finger down the top of the cuff of the boot. Now for me, with my tiny calves, it’s easy to see how these ended up in a charity shop, if I can only get one finger down, then I can imagine that someone bought them hoping that they would stretch, and they never did.
Now for the final and most dangerous reason: The item has a design flaw:
This is hard to get around, and unless you spot it despite the flattering lights and the buzz of a purchase then you’re done for. The only saving grace is that it cost you a fiver and you can re-donate it, the poor person who bought it full price and never wore it paid, quite literally, the highest price for their error.
I have two examples here, one that I bought and ran the risk, and the other that I just didn’t…
These have a design flaw. Along with skinny calves comes tiny ankles. I can only just get these done up on the first hole. it’s unlikely that they’ll ever fit anyone apart from someone else with freakishly skinny ankles.
Now, here’s another:
This is a pale grey, tight and stretchy, Lycra skirt, what can possibly go wrong!? This is possibly the best fabric for disguising orange peel cellulite, and pale grey is definitely what you need to cover up lumps and bumps. No design flaws to report.
So while you’re out shopping, and you spot a bargain, make sure it’s actually a good deal, and you’re not going to pay a high price and regret it later! Oh and FYI – that last bit… sarcasm… (just in case!)