Thrifty Things

I shopped an entire outfit second-hand for under £23

For £22.35 to be exact.

How, where and why you ask? If you haven’t already, read my intro post on why second-hand styling is important now more than ever in this age of fast fashion.

I’m currently based in Colchester, where the town centre has a multitude of charity shops. One of my favourites has to be the St Helena Hospice Clearance Shop on Magdalen Street- every item of clothing is just £1! It’s actually maybe about a five-ten minute walk out of the town centre, but definitely worth it. Here I found the beige turtleneck and this great bag for- you guessed it- £1 each.

The neutral turtleneck is a good basic item/essential, especially if you’re wondering ‘is my wardrobe 1970s TV show detective enough?’ Would I pass for an extra on Van Der Valk? And I love the bag’s distressed effect- perfectly matches my personality and contrasts to the clean, not-as-textured outfit. It also contains the ‘big three’ of items I like to carry almost everywhere- 1 litre water bottle, book and umbrella. When I was studying in London I always had this irrational fear of getting ‘stuck’ somewhere for hours and not having water/entertainment near me. I’m not exactly sure where I was imagining getting stuck- on the tube? On top of Big Ben? But I felt weird not having those items with me. Also, of course, the bag can fit in a purse and other actual essentials.

I’ve had the belt for a few years now, and can’t actually remember which charity shop I got it from, but it’s the perfect length(?) for using as a waist belt. Recently I was scouring Ebay for some good heels which are wearable and not insanely high. I’m 5’9, and as much as I like towering over people in heels there’s a limit to it I’d say. They’re originally from Zara and have a suede effect- pretty versatile and can be paired with more casual or less casual outfits.

There’s definitely been an increasing interest in co-ords, not necessarily just suits, but having match-y top and bottom pieces. I’ve found it difficult to find a shorts-suit, maybe it’s got something to do with the fact that it’s February- who knows? But I think any season can call for shorts, just wear with tights (skin colour or low denier black tights is what I prefer) and a long coat- we don’t have to freeze for our fashion- although if I had to maybe I would just a bit. I found the tailored black shorts in Sue Ryder on Short Wyre Street for just £2, and the black blazer in PDSA on Long Wyre Street for under £5, forming my own kind of dream shorts-suit-co-ord. It was easy to do with black as they both match in colour, but finding the sand coloured shorts-suit of my dreams with second-hand separates might be a taller order.

I’d probably wear this outfit maybe to a bar, although if I was going to be drinking 5+ pints I might lose the belt- I still like the look without it. I would still see myself wearing this during the day, but maybe swap the heels with some black boots for more of a casual and comfortable time pacing/procrastinating around town.

Here’s a total breakdown of the costs:

  • Black blazer- £4.95 from PDSA Colchester
  • Black shorts- £2 from Sue Ryder Colchester
  • Beige turtleneck- £1 from St Helena Clearance Shop
  • Belt- estimated £3 from a charity shop I don’t remember
  • Heels- £10.40 (including postage) from Ebay
  • Bag- £1 from St Helena Clearance Shop
  • Total cost: £22.35

So if you’re in Colchester, or a different town with good access to second hand stores, consider thrifting your way to your next great look. If you prefer scrolling online, why not try Ebay or Depop as a sustainable alternative to the fast-fashion giants?

I’ll see you in a few weeks for another thriftily-shopped look.

2 replies on “I shopped an entire outfit second-hand for under £23”

I’ve only shopped 2nd hand for about 2 years now – I did the maths recently on 6 items in my wardrobe to discover I’d saved over £300 by buying them preloved – I couldn’t believe it! It’s better for the planet and your bank balance – what’s not to love?!! thanks for sharing, look forward to reading more / seeing your bargain finds!


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