vintage leather gilet
leeds blogger
emma copland

In a bid to both be more sustainable and vary up my wardrobe with more unique pieces, I've made a conscious effort this year to visit more charity shops. And no, you don't always find a good bargain, or even anything at all, but it's always worth a look for the times that you find a real hidden GEM! I've found all sorts, from barely-worn high street clothing to vintage, well worn leather jackets; from designer handbags to well-loved books. And the buzz I get from finding something dreamy in these shops rivals no other! Not forgetting the fact that you're helping well-deserving charities too.
So why should we all be shopping in charity shops?

heart autumn blog
street style

Cheap clothes that aren't fast fashion.
We're all aware (or should be!) of the effects that fast fashion is having on the planet. (Stacey Dooleys 'Fashions Dirty Secrets' is a great starting point if you haven't seen it already.) The fashion industry is one of the largest contributors in environmental damage; we are currently producing over 100 billion new garments from new fibres every year and it simply is not sustainable. Waters are either heavily polluted or dried up from the shear bulk needed for the intense cotton production going on. So if you just think twice about placing another ASOS order, consider buying second-hand and stopping things going to landfill, it'll make a real difference.  And you can get things cheap cheap. Like, a pair of good condition Topshop trousers for £2 or a The Kooples dress for £6 (one of my favourite finds!). 

check print dress
biker boots

Unique items that make your style individual.
If you're anything like me, then you're sick of seeing the same high street pieces on everyone each time you scroll through Instagram. (that Zara dress?! Ugh.) So along with buying from independent sellers, buying second-hand pieces can give you something just a little different, something to make you stand out or feel more like yourself. Yeah, there might be a lot of high-street things in charity shops, and there's nothing wrong with getting them (I don't think!) as yeah, they're essentially fast fashion pieces but you're stopping them from ending up in landfill and not contributing to the greedy owners profits. However, there's also lots of older pieces, well-loved or well-cared for vintage items that are perfect for revitalising your wardrobe. 

alternative style
zara dress

The hidden gems.
I've mentioned that there can be lots of amazing pieces hiding away in charity shops waiting for a new life and it's absolutely true! The leather gilet I'm wearing here was £4.75 in a Sue Ryder store and is an old vintage number that has been well-loved and customised with studs, pins and badges. So not only did I get a bargain but a truly unique piece! My best hidden gem however, is definitely this handbag. I spotted it (again in a Sue Ryder store) and thought it was a cute 90's baguette style bag. It wasn't until I opened it and saw the Balenciaga label that I was truly sold. Especially considering the mere £3.50 price tag and the almost pristine condition of it!! Well worth hunting for a purchase like that.

vintage balenciaga bag
aviator sunglasses

Makes you experiment with different styles.
90% of charity shops that I've been in have a changing cubicle for you to try things on, which is great considering the wide variety of things on offer! So I've found myself picking things up to try that I wouldn't normally, because why not? I can try and see if I like it and I'm nothing out if I don't. When you shop on the high street each store tends to have a certain style that's not all that adventurous, but charity shops are far from that. And if you're rather creative, you can envision how you'd customise pieces; crop them, dye them or turn the fabric into something else. Because it's cheap enough if it all goes wrong!

custom leather waistcoat
summer dress

So a few tips for charity shopping:

- Don't only look at your usual size. We know how widely sizes vary from brand to brand, so be sure to look a few sizes either way of your normal!

- Look in the mens section too! We all know a mens tee can be the oversized fit we've been dreaming of so make sure to peak in there.

- Take your time to browse. Charity shopping isn't a quick trick; with each item being so different, you need to really look through the rails and rummage around!

- Don't be afraid to experiment. As I mentioned above, try different styles you wouldn't normally and get creative with customising things to your style!

monochrome outfit

Loves. Emma.