My challenge to myself this year is to only buy second hand or fair trade clothes. This is already difficult as all of my clothes are too big! My bum has disappeared so even my smallest pair of jeans are baggy. I never used to like my big bum but now it has gone I miss it! So I need some more jeans and trousers. Unfortunately I have only bought one successful pair of jeans from a charity shop but I have bought many tops, cardigans and dresses that are now well incorporated in to my wardrobe.
For our day out at the Harry Potter studio tour I wore two of my favourite charity shop finds.
My red jeans I bought from a charity shop in Manchester for £5.99. I was pregnant so it was a bit of a gamble as to whether they would fit me or not. The gamble paid off I LOVE them. They are one of the two pairs of trousers that still look OK on my small butt. My top is my most recent charity shop buy. My friend Jen found it and made me try it on. I wasn't convinced when I saw it on the hanger but it really suits me, it is good for breast feeding and makes me feel a little fancy. It cost £4.99.
I have been shopping in Charity shops for clothes for 8 years now so I have gathered some top tips:
1. Go with an open mind - Every time I shop knowing I need a certain item I come home disappointed, but if I go just to see what I can find I find some lovely things.
2. Try before you buy - too many times I have decided that an item of clothing will fit me without trying it on. Second hand clothes may have been stretched or misshapen and you wont necessarily notice unless you try them on.
3. Set yourself a budget - Just because your spending money in a charity shop doesn't mean you are saving money. I have spent too much before and didn't notice because I was only spending a few pounds in my favourite charity shop every couple of days.
4. Take Cash - Most Charity shops now take cards but it is easier to keep an eye on what you are spending when you use cash.
5. Only buy things you love - It is not worth even a pound if you aren't going to love and wear it regularly.
6. Take a friend - It is good to have a level headed friend who knows your style and size as he / she may spot something that you wouldn't have noticed and they can keep you under control if you get the urge to splurge.
7. Make a day of it - If you have time it is worth taking an afternoon or a day every now and then to properly explore all of the charity shops in your town.
8. Make friends with the volunteers in your favourite charity shop - Since having Fred it has been so much easier to start conversations with some of the older ladies in one of my favourite charity shops. They are happy to keep an eye on Fred for me while I try things on and they will give me their opinion if I don't have friend with me.
9. If you have the chance it is always worth travelling to a posh town or village and finding their charity shops. They often have better quality, less worn clothes.
10. Donate your own clothes - if people don't keep donating good quality clothes charity shops will not have good things for you to find. I like to think I have some friends that I have never met who are my size and share my style. We are effectively swapping clothes whilst donating money to charity.