Designer Charity Chic

Designer Charity Chic

Love a bargain designer buy? Those in the know have a few special charity shops on speedial where you can even pick up a 2:55 Chanel without maxing out the credit card and feel good about supporting very deserving causes. Society gal Nicole Abdul lets us in to her secret go to’s…

When out shopping with my mother, she would always like to remind me: “Nicole, you have champagne taste on a beer budget!” Can you blame a gal for liking the finer things in life though?

I have had an avid interest in fashion from a young age. Growing up near London meant that I spent many a weekend as a young teen wandering the streets of London, looking for statement (but affordable) pieces. I learnt a few tricks of how to do this successfully and I am going to let you into one of my biggest guarded secrets, I buy from charity shops. Doesn’t seem very la di da? Well, forget any preconceived ideas, these havens are a fashionista’s dream!

I first developed my charity shop love affair after finding out that a charity shop in West London had ‘invite only’ evenings, where loyal customers would be invited to buy items such as 2.55 Chanel handbags for a couple of hundred (if that) pounds. As I explored that area of town more, I found other charity shops of equally high calibre. I once brought a pair of brand new Prada shoe-boots from one of these establishments for under £100.00, and I still wear them to this day.

So what about us Northerners I hear you ask? Well, it’s not so grim up North. We have plenty of charity shops with designer pieces just waiting to be discovered. So you can look fabulous for all the upcoming soirées without an angry letter from your financial advisor and get to feel good about helping some really deserving causes – what’s not to love?

Here are 5 of my favourites to get you started:

1. By St. Oswald’s Hospice, 5 Hazelwood Avenue, Jesmond, Newcastle
Nicknamed the poshest charity shop in the North East, ‘By St. Oswald’s Hospice’ looks just like a fancy boutique from the outside. Inside, you’d be forgiven for still not recognising its charity roots by the sheer amount of designer pieces around. Burberry coats, Mulberry purses, high-end high street fashion garments,you will find it difficult to leave empty handed. The prices are on the higher end of the scale for a charity shop, but they are still reasonable for what you are getting. In any case, it’s all for a good cause!

2. Oxfam, 3 Montpellier Square, Harrogate
If you are just so busy you don’t have time for rummaging around in charity shops but still like the idea of a bargain, Oxfam in Harrogate is the place for you. Not only do they have a ‘normal’ charity shop as you walk in from the street, but upstairs they have their ‘Boutique’. This houses high quality labels for not so high prices. I found a lovely Burberry trench in there that was in superb condition!

3. British Red Cross, 19 Nun Street, Newcastle
This one can be hit or miss depending on whether lady luck is looking down on you or not. I always enjoy having a peruse in this shop regardless. Since its in the centre of the town, they do cater for students, so you can get some real statement pieces that would easily fit into a young hipster’s wardrobe. I recently found a Louis Vuitton shirt in here for an absolute bargain price. If you’re in town, don’t walk past this shop without having a quick sneaky peak!

4. Oxfam online shop, www.oxfam.org.uk
Once you are on this site, you will find it hard to stop yourself from spending hours on here! Open 24/7, this website is regularly updated with the most amazing pieces: vintage Chanel suits, Dior handbags, Hermès scarves – need I say anymore? Getting married soon? I found a Vera Wang wedding dress on here (yes you read that right) for a steal of a price. As well as pre-loved designer goods, there are often brand new clothes up for sale from high street retailers and even pieces donated by celebs! You’re welcome!

5. British Heart Foundation eBay shop, http://stores.ebay.co.uk/British-Heart-Foundation-Shop
This is another one of my absolute favourites. It’s similar to the Oxfam shop in terms of quality of goods up for sale but these are all live auctions, so you have to be in it to win it! From just a quick look at the time of writing this article, I have found a vintage Yves Saint Laurent jacket currently going for £92, Gucci sunglasses currently at £30.00 and a divine vintage Chanel cashmere coat jacket currently at £225. Happy bidding!

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