Vintage Bargains?

Friday, 8 July 2011

(but only when it's a bargain)

I've decided to start treating the big Oxfam store in town as less of a charity shop and more of a bargain vintage store. I'm just as guilty as anyone of bitching and moaning about how prices have gone up in charity shops recently but the same applies to vintage stores. I'm a girl in constant search of a bargain and I'm no more likely to spend £12.99 on a secondhand Primark dress from a charity shop than I am £55 on a dirty, ripped 70's maxi from a vintage shop.


But this particular store always has a really good selection of stock. Their stuff is clean, it's good quality, it's in good condition and I personally think prices are pretty reasonable. The frocks tend to range from £6.99 to about £12.99 (maybe up to about £20 for the more evening dress type things but I don't tend to peruse that section). I know this can't compare to unearthing vintage treasures for £2.50 in a little charity shop or 25p at a jumble sale but frankly, I don't have that kind of luck! I'm constantly envious of Vix's bargain hunting skills and have come to the conclusion that I just don't have that sort of luck/instinct/perseverance.

My general rule of thumb tends to be that if I love it and I'd pay the same price or higher for it in a High Street shop then I'll buy it. Do bear in mind that I'm quite stingy and rarely buy anything from proper shops that isn't on sale. Ultimately I'd rather my money went to the charity but I won't pay silly prices for things from charity shops. Barnados in Hunts Cross, with your £39.99 grubby Oasis frock, I hereby name and shame you. I know they have overheads etc but ultimately they're getting their stock for free so I strongly object to being swizzed on prices.


The manager of my local YMCA shop has strong views on this. We had an excellent chinwag about it last time I was in and most of the other customers chimed in with their thoughts (mostly outrage at the prices that the shops in Smithdown Road charge). She's firmly of the opinion that she prices on the low side of realistic because it gets people shopping there and they will come back again and again in search of a bargain. She won't implement the national pricing standards because the shop is always way ahead of its targets anyway. Rock on Mrs Charity Shop Manager.


Ahem. Where was I? Oh yes, today's frock cost £9.99. I think that's reasonable. It's a little too big around the waist but a belt sorts that out. I bought a couple of other dresses whilst I was there but one didn't suit me and has winged its way across to Pearl and the other has a pesky pinging zip which will need fixing before I can wear it out in public safely.


The print is a little bold but hey, I like the crazy prints. That's why I am drawn, magpie-like, to the vintage section in the first place. It's just so much more interesting, colourful and shiny.




Frock - vintage, possibly handmade? No labels anyway
Cardi & belt - Primark
Wedges - Dolcis, present ages ago
Ring - Stolen Thunder

39 comments:

  1. Fab dress. LOve those crazy colours. And I agree about charity shop prices. If I really love something, I might fork out, but in general, they lose my purchase if I think they're taking the mick with pricing.

    Amy
    Narrowboat Lucky Duck
    www.nbluckyduck.blogspot.com

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  2. Ooh, thumbs up! Love that print on you, Alex - and the belt makes it.

    Charity Shop Manager Woman sounds ace. I think many shops are shooting themselves in the foot (?feet didn't sound quite right) on this, and the prices you mention are reasonable. £40 though? P*** take. For vintage, I may pay a bit more, but I'd think twice about buying high street clobber that is priced higher than the sales.

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  3. I absolutely adore that dress. Good find Missus. Hear hear Mrs Charity Shop Manager. Shame, those places are few and far between these days.

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  4. Lovely print on that dress!

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  5. £40 is a bit much - I mean Oasis is high street, not even designer! I totally agree on charity shop prices - that manager is right - I go back again and again to the reasonably priced ones. There's a definite 'thrill of the chase' in bargain hunting though and I suppose high prices only make it more of a chase?

    That dress looks lovely with those wedges :) x

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  6. There's been a lot of discussion about this recently, and I do know what you mean, as sometimes I wonder whether people think "£6.99 - that's not a bargain!" when I post charity shop buys on my blog. Obviously compared to a small town bootsale find for 50p or Vix's incredible jumble finds it's not so great, but compared to an identikit item from the high st, or a vintage store, it's pretty good!

    £6.99 seems to be about standard for a central Croydon charity shop dress. Today I found an 80s C&A jumpsuit for that price, which I love, but I was hoping they'd have priced it low as it was 'old'. Still, I suppose if a Shoreditch vintage shop got hold of it they'd reprice it at £25, so can't complain!

    Anyway, I like the sound of your YMCA shop, and think your dress is great. Far better than something from Topshop everyone will be wearing.

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  7. PS. Love Stolen Thunder! Their new range has a 'Faith Hope and Charity' design ring that I guess I'm going to have to buy...

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  8. I have just been reading a blog post about this very argument. I don’t know if you follow the blog, but here’s the link-

    http://katgotthecream.blogspot.com/2011/07/sweet-charity.html

    I really struggle with clothing in charity shops, I’m a magpie when it comes to bric-a-brac and books but clothing is forever an obstacle for me. I really do hate the mountains of high street stuff trying to be re- sold for far too higher prices. That Oasis dress really? That is some kind of madness!

    I really love this dress, the print is fabulous and completely you x

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  9. Fabby dress in a great print for £9.99, I'd call that a score! I cannot believe forty quid for an Oasis dress...does it even cost that much new?
    I think you do have perseverance and it's beginning to pay dividends now!
    Hats off to that Charity Shop Manager; thank goodness some of these staff have their business head screwed on!
    Have a great W/E. Going to go for a mung around the CSs are we????!
    Z xx

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  10. Love the dress, great fabric.

    Can I just ask you about posting on your blog because this post came up on my notification thingy twice, with and without a title. I often go back and tweak my posts and I'm wondering if every time I alter it, followers get notification again.

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  11. That dress is a stunner..and so are youuuu xo

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  12. The dress us gorgeous and such a great find. Where I live charity shops are pretty expensive and naff so I've just given up looking in them. Give me to shop anyway

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  13. I love the dress! I'm of the same opinion - I love charity shop shopping, but I hate seeing Primark stuff priced more expensively than it is to buy it new in store. Same goes with high street brand names. However, if it's vintage or designer I am more than happy to shell out a bit more for a quality item. x

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  14. That print is awesome and you are looking very very very slim! x

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  15. I have read so much about this topic lately and I am a firm believer that these 'chain' charity shops need to rethink their strategy. My local Roy Castle store has recently closed due to not turning over a profit and this was one of the more reasonably priced chains. I think they need to stop spending so much time (and wages)trying to re-invent themselves as mini boutiques and get back to basics or there will be a lot more stores closing due to people just hopping the train to their local Primark.

    Also, I agree the British Heart Foundation is one of the worst offenders and should absoloutely be named and shamed!

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  16. I've just noticed it was Barnardos and not BHF... ahem... shame on both of you!

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  17. Yeah yeah yeah, you already know I like this one :) It annoys me when charity shops try to charge vintage prices, because most of the time they get it really wrong and frankly after you've waded through all their crap you want to find a bargain, not something that is actually overpriced for what it is. The ones in my area are really bad for it but luckily Camden isn't so bad xx

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  18. Its a pretty cool vintage dress! I am a 'charity shop prices going up' whinger, but the prices round my way aren't quite at your dizzy heights. I would love to try shopping for vintage, but I haven't seen any vintage shops in our town. I'm a bit scared of vintage to be honest.

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  19. Spot on. Why do they feel they can charge such high prices?! Crazy! It just puts you off going back.

    Loving the dress, I love the print.

    X x

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  20. I have dress envy. Big stylee. You look amazing. Tell me, who takes your pics against the red brick wall backdrop? Is it on a timer or do you have a cool and trusty person doing it?
    I refuse to be ripped off by charity shops. I hate the way they all go on line to work out costs of clothes.
    Saw something the other day for £60 and balked at it.
    And like you I hate seeing Primark and George clothes going for a princely sum. Crazy.
    Have a good weekend doll,
    x x

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  21. Its beautiful!!!! That is all.

    Actually, thats not quite all: I feel the same on all the opinions you just expressed. Its a crying shame that things aren't as cheap as they used to be in those little shops, but bargains can be had if you are realistic about value-for-money on decent quality things.

    THAT is all! xxx

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  22. LOVE the new dress, excellent print! I do agree about the charity shopping BUT I tend to shop in search of a bargain since I honestly couldnt say my wardrobe is missing anything (except maybe thermals - planning ahead!), therefore theres a few charity shops in town I miss out altogether because of the overpricing. Well, the pricing-to-rival-the-high-street, not what I associate with charity shopping! Also £40 for a used Oasis dress WTF?! :)

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  23. it's fabulous.....love the print very vintage Prada!!

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  24. 4th comment attempt - bloomin' Blogger! Just being stubborn now and keeping trying! xx
    We Shop Therefore We Are

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  25. Ha! It worked - finally! Ok, so all I was going to say is that if I'm going to shop in charity shops or at jumble sales etc then I expect bargain prices (especially when it comes to books). xx PS Fab shoes.

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  26. I love that dress, it looks amazing on you and the price is very reasonable, too.
    Big up to the shop manager, there's reasonable pricing and there's downright lunacy. I'm all for a charity shop charging more for quality clothing but £29.99 for a Wallis dress (admittedly still with tags on) is silly.
    When Mum died I donated all her clothes to the British Heart Foundation, there stores can be pricey but I hated the thought of her stuff being sold cheap for someone to snap up and sell on ebay. x

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  27. Wow, what a fab dress- looks lovely on you! I totally agree with you about charity shop pricing, I've been in some places where they charged more for a Primark dress than if it was brand new!

    Nat x

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  28. Lovely dress! I'm with everyone else - I'll happily pay more for a one-off piece in a charity shop than high priced high street junk. If an items better make and quality then it deserves a higher price but I can not stand to see Primark and other cheap clothing to same price as it was new. I think maybe charity shops are struggling in general with the quality of donations these days as anything remotely vintage or quality some people will Ebay to earn cash rather than just give it away.

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  29. You're looking amazing Alex - very slender young lady!

    The dress is gorgeous on you - if I'd seen the print, on it's own, I may have thought it was a bit.. much. However, it really really works :) You look totally lovely.

    This is a bit of a random thing to say, but I feel the need to mention that I love all your commenters! I always find myself reading all the previous comments on your blogposts, because your followers seem to have lots of interesting things to say - they actually tend to read your posts & comment relevantly & constructively.. And it's like they really know you. I don't really know what I mean, so I'll shut up now..!

    www.heart-shaped-bruise.blogspot.com

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  30. I miss the oxfam on bold st being so cheap! I think we discussed this at the meet up? I had some fab red polka dot culottes from there. Although some of the stuff could be quite dirty & tatty... BHS are notorious for overpricing and I HATE to see overpriced primark tat! But I guess some of the volunteers just don't know the value of things in high street shops? I would gladly pay up to £10 for a nice second hand dress and maybe even more if I LOVED it. You have to think 'If this was being sold on eBay, would I pay that much for it?'

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  31. I did a 5k race a couple months back so this was my second place. I'm doing a half marathon in september and I also entered the ballot for london marathon 2012 so fingers crossed for that. I've also signed up for the bupa 10K next year which will be on the saem track as the olympic marathon! I need to sign up for races to keep me motivated hehe

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  32. I love the dress!! I think it was brilliant to break up the pattern with a belt and a jacket like this. You look amazing.

    http://www.glamkittenslitterbox.com/
    Twitter: @GlamKitten88

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  33. Great dress. Is the Oxfam you mention the one on Bold Street? I love that place.

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  34. Well done to the YMCA lady!! That print is so cool, great buy. My dress fits wonderfully, I love it, but I haven't been up and dressed to get a nice outfit photo yet - will do one soon! x

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  35. I have the same problem, the charity shops round here up their prices because they're competing with the 'vintage' stores.. I just relish the visits home I make because the vintage scene hasn't really taken off where I come from and charity shops/car boots are still very much un-cool! All the bargains left for me!

    http://gladragsandthehandbags.blogspot.com/

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  36. Oooh, I like! How did I miss this post before? You have some really cute items that really suit you! I have an Oxfam in Romford which I really like, plus a Salvation army but Cancer research does annoy me with what they charge, so I agree wiht you!

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  37. Oh and Alex, I was going to say, when I clicked on the link in my comments, to get to your blog I ended up on your profile page first which I don't think I've looked at before- seriously nearly all your favourite books and films are mine! Haven't reviewed mine for ages, but it did make me laugh!

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  38. The prices are going up round here. In Islington they've started charging loads more for books which is annoying. In Dalston they're still super cheap. I love the print and your wedges are great too xx

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