You may have noticed that your local High Street charity shops are getting busier. The tide may well be turning in favour of pre-loved clothes (yay!) and many are turning to their local shops as a great place to start digging up a bargain.
As a sustainable personal stylist, I often get asked where the best places to go charity shopping are, and I usually say it depends what you're looking for and what your idea of a bargain is. For me, it's a preloved item from a good quality brand or something in a great fabric and in excellent condition. Geographically, apart from some of the more affluent boroughs of London, if you can find a group of about half a dozen shops in your local area, it should give you enough choice to get started. It's handy if you have a market town or city surrounded by affluent villages, so places like Marlow, Henley, Oxford and Bath are some of my favourite spots.
So, recently I went on a scouting mission round my home town of Newbury to see what bargains I could turn up in under an hour. Here's my guide to the towns charity shops:
1. Cancer Research
The Cancer Research shop in the Market Place is a great start point, and they usually have a few good brand labels in there . It's well laid out and has a changing room, and on the day I was there it was buzzing with shoppers. The rails were pretty packed, but I did manage to find a Crew Clothing skirt for £7.50 and a pair of new platform shoes, also £7.50.
From the British Heart Foundation, turn right and then right again over the bridge and on to the High Street, where you will find the rest of the charity shops mentioned here. For intrepid explorers, there is a charming but tiny Salvation Army charity shop tucked away down Northcroft Lane (on your left beside Cote Brasserie), but it was closed when I visited. You might want to check their website before visiting as the opening hours are limited.
8. Dogs Trust
This charity shop is one of the few in Newbury where you could pull up in the car outside to rapidly unload donations, and as such, the sign outside said they're full. Indeed, I've been turned away in the past trying to donate here, so it must be a common problem for them and they frequently have a lot of stock to sell. You'll find it further along on the opposite side of the road to Scope. It's a bright clean shop inside and is well laid out with lots to look at, and it has changing rooms. I found a Damsel in a Dress label dress for just £7.50 and a brand new pair of Mademoiselle R suede shoes also for £7.50.
So, that's my guide to the Charity Shops of Newbury if hunting for womens clothing. If you're coming to the town and love preloved shopping, then don't miss the Clothing Warehouse on Hambridge Lane, which isn't actually a charity shop. A short drive out of the town the Warehouse is (to the best of my knowledge) the only clothes recycling centre in the country that is open to the public. It's quite literally an enormous treasure trove of preloved bargains in an old barn building by the river. The big section near the car park is for mens, womens and childrens clothing, and the shop nearer to the road stocks a wider range of branded ladies wear. A must visit for preloved fans.
You might also like our own ladies dress agency! We sell preloved clothes online with the option to collect from us in Newbury, and we run regular Open Day sales. To find out when they're on go to our Facebook page or sign up to our Newsletter.