With the New Year now in full swing, many of us are making the most of the January Sales to improve our wardrobes. But have you ever considered charity shops as an alternative? As a passionate advocate of charity shops, I am on a mission to preach to the unconverted, extolling the virtues of one of the best kept secrets on the high street. And if you're particularly weary of current fashion trends, charity shops can be the perfect antidote - an opportunity to discover the unusual, the beautiful and most importantly, the inexpensive, all in aid of a good cause.
My lifelong love affair with charity shops started as a child. My Godfather managed a store in South London which my siblings and I would visit on occasion. The shop was situated in a relatively affluent area, attracting wealthy people who would donate lots of quality clothing, accessories and furniture. This would need to be sifted and prepped before being taken to the shop floor for sale. It wasn't glamorous by any means, going through the endless donations, but I do remember more often than not, the sense of adventure and excitement at stumbling across unusual and beautiful items.
Even now as a black female professional in my early 30's, I still get a buzz when I visit a charity shop and emerge with a thrifty gem. A while back I showed my mum and Grandma, who are both Nigerian, one such purchase - a dress. They loved it and were particularly impressed by the quality and price, yet in almost the same breath both women immediately, said:
"Don’t tell everyone where you got it from even if they ask. You will be judged by it believe me. People will look down on you for it."