Growing up, my dad would bring me along with him whilst trawling through antique stores and charity/thrift shops. Ashamedly, I used to be embarrassed about this at school. (Lord knows why I let others opinions get to me, but thankfully now I’ve learnt the wonder of letting go and not caring about others opinions so much!) Nowadays, it’s become an almost, weekly, ritual and anywhere and everywhere I go, I try to find a vintage or charity shop to pick up some new gems in. 

Half of this outfit was second hand, thrifted or vintage (although I have linked similar pieces at the bottom of the page if you want to shop anything!) So I thought this would be a perfect excuse to share my tips, alongside these snaps. It’s also become a lovely way of spending time with my family a couple of times a month and all heading out together for lunch and a treasure hunt! I like to think I’ve learnt a few things along the way, and you guys over on my Instagram always seem intrigued by my latest finds, so I thought I’d share my top, tips for vintage and charity shopping here!

  • Google places to visit if you’re going somewhere new or an area you don’t know. When I first started Charity shopping in London, I looked up the most popular places to hit and used it as a starting point. From that, I then grew my own list of places that I frequented more often, with a good price point and lots of constant goodies to look through. Of course a quick stroll down a high street in a town can have the same effect, but when hitting Cities, I found a little bit of research before can save a lot of time and aimless wondering. Write down the names and post codes of your favourites so you don’t forget! Searching online is also a great way to discover places close to home, that you never even knew existed before.
  • Don’t underestimate eBay. I have an on\off relationship with eBay. I much prefer to see, feel and try things on in person. (Saying that, I am currently waiting on a vintage phone delivery that I bid on!) I find it’s great for scouring second hand or vintage versions of a popular trend, which is great if you want something that’s current, but with your own twist on it! Be sure to check feedback, watch for delivery prices and set a limit if bidding. Apart from that, I’ve managed to bag some HUGE designer bargains on the site, including Chanel shoes. You can potentially get great designer pieces from reputable buyers, so it’s always good having an alert set for an item you want, such as women’s Gucci shoes, and having a browse through to see what takes your fancy!
  • Learn to trust your instincts – you won’t ever find it again potentially, so if you really want it, think carefully (I’m so guilty of using this as a justification for purchases!) Yes, totally easy to just grab everything with this mindset! But buyers regret is the worst and in most cases, it’s unlikely you’ll come across the same thing again, so if you adore it, will get lots or wear or it just makes you crazy happy and won’t cost the earth; it’s probably a good idea!
  • Google items; if it seems like a steal, a quick google search will tell you, or give you a good indicator if it’s not worth it, or if it’s cheaper elsewhere. I came across a stunning, brand new, pink, Oscar De La Renta night gown the other day and couldn’t believe the £5 price tag. I was tempted to buy it on this premise alone, despite probably not having any intentions of using it. After a google showed that they’re not as elusive as the famed, designer, same branded, gowns and the value isn’t that high, I decided it wasn’t worth it, so walked away. A prime example of where Google can help!
  • Don’t buy it just because it’s cheap. I’ve made this mistake before, thinking I should invest in something because it’s a good brand and cheap, when in reality, I don’t end up wearing/using the item and the resale value can be pretty low or have little interest. So really think ‘do you want this, will you use/wear it?’ and if you’re buying to re-sell within the future, research how much it’s going for!
  • Love can be blind, so check the condition, just because it’s a bargain or you love it, if it’s ruined, there’s not much point. When most things have been well loved and used, of course the condition won’t be perfect. If you can overlook this; great. But if it will effect the price when you come to potentially selling it, weigh up the pro’s and cons! Similarly, if a handbag is beautiful, but broken and doesn’t function properly, is there much point in grabbing it?
  • Don’t be afraid to haggle. Okay, admittedly I have a cringe-a-thon haggling and die every time I’m with someone who does it; but if it’s not offensive, why not give it a try? I loved a pair of earrings that were broken so enquired and got them with a discount! If you’re buying a few of the same items, why not ask if they can arrange a good price for it all – what’s the worst that can happen!
  • Ask local places to keep their eyes out if you want something specific. Often I’ve wanted ski gear/boots, specific brands or vintage cameras and have just asked them to keep any back for me! That way, you can come back a few weeks later to see if anything has turned up, or leave your contact details! Great if you know what you want and don’t want to miss it!
  • Bring cash. So many places still don’t take cards, especially in Rural areas, so try to grab cash, or ask them to put something back and come back with the money after, it’s so sad if you miss an item due to this! Same applies to car boots/vintage fayres – always good to draw some out before, just in case!
  • Enjoy it and learn to embrace the process! Many of my friends say they wish they could enjoy it as much as I do but find it overwhelming/stressful. Get yourself in a good mindset for it; it’s an organised chaos but that’s the fun of it. Appreciate it in its entirety and embrace it. Make a day of it, get inspired, make a mood board before and come with an open mind. Be drawn to things and explore – it’s such a fun and unique experience and everything I come home with always has a story!


Really hoped you found this one interesting and useful, and that it perhaps opened your eyes to a different way of shopping! Would love to know your tips and the best things you’ve bought second hand!

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As always you can tweet me @stylepetalblog, catch up on all my posts over on BLOGLOVIN or see my latest beauty and fashion buys and vlogs over on my YouTube channel!

Photography by Ben Kapur