10 tips when Charity shopping in Dublin

Katie Drea

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Vintage clothing by Brian Ledgard (Flickr)
Vintage clothing by Brian Ledgard (Flickr)

Over the last number of years Dublin has seen an increase of so called “vintage shops” popping up around the city. This has in turn led to an increase in young people delving into the treasure trove that is past fashion. With the fast pace that fashion industry loops itself on, it is no wonder that what our mothers were wearing at our age is now back in style.

Charity shopping is as good as vintage shopping by Ashton (Flickr)
Charity shopping is as good as vintage shopping by Ashton (Flickr)

Although vintage shops have done all the work for you and this is usually reflected in their prices, there are some hidden gems in Dublin where you can find the same products, but at knock down prices. There’s nothing like getting a bargain. Charity shops should be your first port of call when looking to update your wardrobe, vintage style. When choosing what charity shops to visit, keep in mind a few things.

Clothes by Steven Depolo (Flickr)
Clothes by Steven Depolo (Flickr)

1.Choose your location:

Well you may find yourself stumbling on some treasures. No disrespect to the charity shop workers but more often than not, they don’t actually know the value of a lot of the products and therefore have them at ridiculous prices. I once bought a 1970’s Mulberry bag in a charity shop in Malahide for 80 euro. South Great Georges Street is probably the best street in Dublin for your charity shop fix, with a specific “vintage section” in the Oxfam there.

Oxfam South Great Georges Street (Oxfam.org)
Oxfam South Great Georges Street (Oxfam.org)

2.Budget yourself:

I know this may sound weird but if you do not budget the money that you are going to spend in charity shops, you will end up buying everything in there. This is also a good idea if you are on a tight clothes budget, as you will have to inevitably buy some basic items (cami’s, jeans, black turtle necks) in main stream shops also.

Digging though clothes By Rex Roof (flickr)
Digging though clothes By Rex Roof (flickr)

3. Check before you buy:

Although most charity shops have quite a high standard, which can’t be said for a lot of the “vintage shops” in the city, always check that zips are working, that the item fits and that you will actually wear the item. Again don’t buy anything just for the sake of it, if you can’t see yourself in it then you probably never will. Leave it back.

Window displace by Alex Liivet (flickr)
Window displace by Alex Liivet (flickr)

4. Have patience:

One down fall of charity shop shopping, is that you do need time to go around to all the shops. You need to be able to look through ever piece of clothing in those shops, mentally match it with your wardrobe. If you don’t like rooting, this type of shopping is not for you. Perhaps you should stick to vintage shops instead which take less physical and mental exertion.

5. Don’t shop where you live:

I say this because if you are anything like me you have brought items to that charity shop, and have forgotten about them. More than once I have arrived home with either clothes that were originally mine, or my Dads. You bought the item at one point in your life, so the likely hood is you will probably buy it again.

Although Phibsborough near where I live has some of the best charity shops in the city. Try stick to donating in your least favourite charity shop in your area.

Rack of Clothes by the_Steve_cox (flickr)
Rack of Clothes by the_Steve_cox (flickr)

6. Wash before you wear:

Although a lot of people will have washed the clothes before donating them to the charity shop, there is also a chance that someone died in the out fit you just bought. My motto is, when possible wash before you wear. I once bought a camel coat for 8 euro and had it dry-cleaned for 15 euro, it was totally worth it, I wore the coat all winter long.

Second hand Clothes by Steve (Flickr)
Second hand Clothes by Steve (Flickr)

7. Mix and Match:

Try not to wear full charity shop, to avoid looking like a bag lady. If you are sporting your new vintage red pretty woman, charity shop blazer, maybe keep the rest of your outfit toned down. Remember charity shopping shouldn’t just be for the creative. It’s easy to rock something from the 80’s, but just do your research before hand. Again there is no point buying something you think is too flamboyant, or you end up like me with two wardrobes bursting at the seems, full of “what if’s”. Ease yourself into the new styles that charity shopping will bring you.

Colourful Clothes by normanack (flickr)
Colourful Clothes by normanack (flickr)

8. Shop alone:

I of all people hate shopping alone, except when it comes to thrift shopping in general. You must be focused and not let anything pass you by. I prefer to just get lost in the shops and find some gems. Again maybe team up with a friend who is already shopping in vintage shops, or who has an eye for a bargain.

The charity Shop by Bill Hartmann (flickr)
The charity Shop by Bill Hartmann (flickr)

9. If in doubt, just buy it:

Ok, I know this sounds like a contradiction to my last few points but fashion lovers will know, you regret nothing like the clothes you didn’t buy. If you really like something within the first 5 seconds of seeing it, and everything else on my list checks out. Then just buy it, after all, the money is going to charity.

10. Have fun.

Here is a map of my favourite charity shops in Dublin. If you have any more that I can to the map, leave a comment below and I’ll be sure to check them out

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Katie Drea

  • Lovely read!
    Definitely going charity shopping soon. Been totally lost since I got to Dublin xxx

  • Kathrina Drea

    Omg 10 great tips. And every one is so true well done Katie