If you have your own style and don’t want to be dictated by high street fast fashion window displays and want something unique, high quality and has a story (and if you want to expand the lifecycle of a garment), then hit the charity shops.
Once inside the charity shop, be alert! Even if you are doubtful, pick it up and think about it as you browse. It may not be there when you get back. They don’t have more. It happened to me once. I picked up a shirt. Rolled the sleeves, buttoned it right up, swung myself around in the mirror. Undecided I set it down, turned away and it was gone. I still see that guy around town in what should be my shirt. He looks good though. Sleeves rolled. Shirt buttoned right up.
To dye for
If it fits well and the only thing stopping you is the colour, get it. You can dye it. Dylon dye is your friend. It’s only a tenner. Read the instructions, properly. The more fabric the more dye required. Your fabric will turn out much lighter rather than the intended shade if you try to dye too much fabric with too little dye.
Keep an eye on fabrics. Cotton will take dye, anything man-made wont (polyester etc.) This fact can work in your favour if a piece is cotton but the stitching is nylon and the stitched piece *pops*, but it can also be a total disaster when you dye jeans black from white (the white nylon stitching remains white and the jeans are black). There is a lot of stitching on jeans and that black denim white stitching look has yet to be a thing. But hey, be a pioneer.
If it is an awesome jacket but just not right. Get it tailored. I’ve bought jackets and coats for five quid and spent three times that on tailoring. It’s easy. If a shirt is too long you can cut the bottom off it and re-stitch a new hem. Don’t limit yourself to gendered clothing divides. Lads: the best prints are women’s blouses. And ladies: the cosiest jumpers are in the men’s section.
Women’s buttons are on the left side, while men’s are on the right. And if you like the shirt but not mad on the button? Remember that these too can be changed. Do it yourself. WM Trimmings on Capel Street are great for buttons, from the very basic, to pure mad. Personalising buttons on a suit jacket or shirt can make a big difference, and sewing on buttons is really easy (Google it).
A quick way to see if jeans fit without trying them on:
Hold the edges of the legs, and put your arms to the side as far as you can. If the middle of the jeans is right under your chin they are the right length. If you close a pair of jeans and put the waist band around your neck and it fits. That’s generally the size of your waist. And you look like a superhero for a minute.
Q: How do your extremely blousey silky short shirts sleeves stay rolled up so tight?
A: Staple them. But staple upside down so the stapler is pointing at you. That way the long bar part of the staple is inside and less visible but also easier to bend into shape if you need to.
Q: Can you get anything else in charity shops?
A: Furniture, records, books, shelves, bowling balls .. anything …
Follow the ‘Charity Shop Shit’ group on Facebook for regular laughs and horrors.
Q: What’s the best charity shop?
A: That’s a difficult one. It’s always hit-and-miss. Affluent areas are good.
If you want weird 90s sports golf gear, tennis stuff. Hit the suburbs. Dun Laoghaire is great for that . As is Bray.
Jackets, suit jackets, scarves and bags. A lot of the clubs and bars on Camden St and Harcourt St donate their lost and found to the nearby charity shops.
Have fun, and don’t forget you are donating to charity each time you spend!