Charity Shops – Debunking the Myths

I think I first fell in love with charity shops when I watched the movie Wild Child. There’s a scene where all the girls from Poppy’s school go to a charity shop to find their prom dresses – I’ll put the link here but you’ll see what I mean when you watch it for yourself!

There are a lot of misconceptions about charity shops and thrift shopping in general. I personally love going round my local charity shops and it’s a brilliant way to save money when funds are tight.

With this post, I want to debunk some of those myths and misconceptions, and to share some treasures I’ve found over the years.

Myth #1 – Charity shops are full of other people’s old tat – that’s why it’s so cheap

Yes, the majority of the items sold in charity shops are second-hand. However, all donations face strict vetting systems to make sure they are fit to be resold. If they are dirty or damaged, they will not be accepted or re-sold. If you’re still worried about this, just give the item a wash before you wear/use!

Myth #2 – You’ll never find anything decent/high-quality in a charity shop

Over the years I’ve bought clothing items from Levi’s, Topshop and plenty of other big brands in charity shops. If it’s designer labels you’re looking for, try visiting charity shops in affluent areas. There’s nothing like the thrill of finding a hidden treasures for a fraction of it’s retail price. Sometimes it does take a bit of hunting around but the gems are in there!

Myth #3 – Only Poor People Shop In Charity Shops

This is simply untrue. In fact, thrift shopping has become core part of pop culture for hipsters! (perhaps Macklemore can take a bit of credit here!). Vintage is the future – the older the better! There are charity shops in most areas selling everything from clothing to furniture. Many charity shops have a dedicated section for vintage clothing or second-hand vinyl records that are hard to find anywhere else!

Another great place to pick up high-quality second-hand clothing is on Depop, read my guide to using this excellent app to make money AND get a bargain here.

My Favourite Charity Shop Buys

I’ve picked up some absolute gems in charity shops over the years. Some of them are the most-loved items in my wardrobe! Donating your unwanted and pre-loved items to a charity shop is a much more environmentally-friendly way to get rid of your old belongings. Plus, someone else gets to fall in love with them all over again!

charity shop shirt new look

I got this really cute blue and green tartan shirt from the Oxfam Vintage store on Castle Street, Belfast. This is one of my favourite charity shops in Belfast because they always have the best vintage items. This shirt was originally from the petite range at New Look and I got it for £1.25!

Tartan shirt charity shop oxfam new look

Another tartan shirt but this time from the Oxfam store on High Street in Holywood. I got this one a few years back but it’s been a staple for me ever since. I usually wear it open with a logo t-shirt and some dark jeans or leggings. This shirt was also from New Look and I got it for £1.00!

Amy bought me this gorgeous scarf from Oxfam in Belfast. It was brand new (yes Oxfam sell new items too!) and it only cost £2.50! It’s really cosy and perfect for those cold winter months!

leather denim jacket oxfam charity shop

This jacket is the creme de la creme charity shop buy for me! It’s probably one of my favourite items in my wardrobe. It was originally from ONLY – I got it for a fiver at Yellow Submarine, Belfast and it goes with absolutely everything.

Tulchan vintage jumper oxfam charity shop sweater

This limited edition vintage Tulchan jumper is actually one of Amy’s purchases but it was too good not to mention! The recommended retail price was £59.00 but she got it for £8.00 in Oxfam Vintage on Castle Street, Belfast.

Shop Online With Oxfam

It seems that even charity shops are moving forward with the times, as you can now buy second-hand clothes and other items from Oxfam online! It’s their largest shop in the world.

The Second-Hand Store sells donated goods at the same value that you would expect from Oxfam’s high street stores but exclusively online! As if you didn’t need further convincing, 100% of all Oxfam Online Shop profits are dedicated to Oxfam’s many projects to end poverty.

I absolutely love the vintage section of the Oxfam Online Shop – there are so many gorgeous designer pieces for sale for a fraction of the retail price.

Clothes aren’t the only items you can buy from the Oxfam Online Store. They have a huge selection of books, homeware, furniture and DVD’s so you can shop til your heart’s content!

Are you a fan of charity shops? Please send me some of your favourite items that you’ve found while thrifting – I’d love to see them!

*This post contains affiliate links which means I may receive a small commission if you make a purchase, at no cost to you! I will not endorse any products or brands which I do not believe in*


  1. December 21, 2017 / 12:15 am

    I love that jean jacket with the leather sleeves! I’ve found so many great items secondhand and it saves so much money too.

    • megansays
      December 21, 2017 / 12:01 pm

      Aw it’s one of my favourites – can’t wait to wear it in Spring when it’s a bit warmer. I agree – they’re great when you’re on a budget 🙂

      Thank you so much for reading – hope you have a lovely Christmas x

    • megansays
      December 21, 2017 / 12:01 pm

      I’m glad you enjoyed it – thanks so much for reading and have a lovely Christmas x

  2. December 21, 2017 / 11:58 am

    looks like you found some awesome things! we have some really awesome second hand stores and I love some of the things I’ve found!

  3. December 21, 2017 / 4:59 pm

    We call them Thrift Stores here in Alabama, and I love to find a bargain! My husband, before he became my husband, taught me to appreciate these stores. I have found some areas have good ones and some areas don’t.
    🙂 gwingal

    • megansays
      December 22, 2017 / 6:37 pm

      Yes definitely – we went to a different area of Belfast today and found some amazing ones! Hope you have a lovely Christmas x

  4. Roland Legge
    December 23, 2017 / 9:17 pm

    Hi Megan, Merry Christmas to you! I wish we had the charity shops like you have in the UK. The Salvation has some. But many are this big corporate used clothing chain called Value Village. I envious of what you have. You found some gems?. Oxfam does amazing work.

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