As we say goodbye to summer and autumn fast approaches, we want to share our top tips for shopping preloved and how to make the best of charity shop shopping. Here at Eco-Able we have been considering our clothing consumption more than ever and the difficulty many of us find when the seasons begin to change. Whether that’s feeling as though we don’t have the appropriate clothes for the changes in weather, we are tempted by new trends or maybe last year’s coat just doesn’t quite fit anymore. Whatever the reasons, the changing seasons can be some of the hardest times to avoid fast-fashion, however there can be some great alternatives to buying new clothes this coming autumn.

This month, Oxfam are encouraging people to take up the challenge of not buying any ‘new’ clothes for 30 days as part of their campaign Secondhand September, endorsed by Michaela Cole (I May Destroy You, 2020). As you know, wearing the clothes you already own is one of the best ways to curb our consumption of fast-fashion (many of which end up in landfill) but shopping secondhand is a great choice when we find ourselves in need of a wardrobe refresh, or as a little treat. So first of all, we would like to encourage you to consider what you want or need this autumn, and join us in taking part in the pledge to only shop secondhand this September! 

Recently, myself and my mum (Dani, our founder at Eco-Able) went charity shopping in the Mumbles, South Wales during our holiday there. We were delighted with our finds, so much so, that we wanted to share them here along with our tips for making the most out of your local charity shop, and how to find the best pieces for your wardrobe. 

Top Tips

  • Be prepared to shop around. Many people find charity shopping frustrating but the payoff is incredibly satisfying when you find what you’re looking for!
  • Visit often. Charity shops get new donations every week, so be sure to go back regularly if there’s something specific you’re after.
  • Another great tip is to ask if they have recent donations in the back of the shop, as there may be a rail of clothes that haven’t made it to the shop floor yet. Be aware that with under Covid regulations they aren’t able to open new donations immediately.
  • Look for versatile, transitional pieces that are suitable for multiple seasons, as this will help you to shop less in the future.
  • It’s also good to have a look in the locked and jewellery cabinets, as you may be able to find accessories to elevate clothes you already own!
  • Support a variety of causes by visiting different charity shops, perhaps consider what causes are important to you and see if they have a shop nearby.
  • Remember you can try on clothes at home as fitting rooms are currently closed and some shops accept returns, however redonating these items if they don’t fit means the charity is able to make more for the cause.
  • Sort through your clothes regularly and donate what you no longer wear- the more people donate the more choice there is for others!
  • Check the fabric of the clothes you like to look for materials that last. Polyester notoriously won’t stand the test of time, so consider opting for cotton where you can.
  • Additionally, look out for brands you’d normally shop with on the highstreet as you can find some great quality pieces at bargain prices.
  • Finally, many charities have online charity shops such as Oxfam, or Refashion which supports a variety of causes, and many have ebay shops where they sell stock they don’t have space for in stores. 

What are your top tips for charity shopping? We’d love to hear your thoughts and hope you found this post helpful for your next charity shopping adventure! Here are some of our charity shop finds, knitted dress 50p, Laura Ashley Dress £5.00 and coat 50p, as the coat fits us both, we can share this and style it in different ways.

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