How to shop vintage…

My take on how to achieve a vintage bohemian style… is quite simple really, all you need is a sense of your own individual style and an open mind when it comes to shopping.

I’m a firm believer in ethical fashion, but by this I do not mean that I think everybody should make their own clothes and move to a hippy retreat (although that does sound fun)! Rather, my idea of ethical fashion is far simpler and is achievable too everyone. All it involves is thinking a little more about how we buy 🙂 For me this involves thrift stores, vintage shopping and last but by no means least, charity shopping.

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A charity shop in Poole, Dorset

By exploring your local charity shops and thrift stores you’d be surprised to see what you find, and in doing so you are tapping into the re-use clothing market, extending the commodity chain beyond the point of sale! Giving garments a whole new life, making more of existing clothing (as well as finding some bargains and rocking a vintage bohemian style). It doesn’t just mean charity shops and I most certainly do not boycott high street stores at all, in fact many high street stores are tapping in to the same market, but on a larger scale, for example Urban renewal from Urban Outfitters, and Asos market place, both of which are my favourite places to shop 🙂 and help me to achieve my vintage fix!  It’s not just about thinking ethically, charity, thrift and vintage shopping also enables you to achieve a sense of uniqueness and to develop your own individual style. Charity shopping has enabled me to seek out clothing that is perhaps in keeping with current trends, but that no one else owns, so still holding onto my own individual style. As everybody knows there is nothing worse than turning up to an event, and realising half the other people are wearing the same outfit!!

1. How to and where to charity shop:

When it comes to charity shopping you definitely have to have your fashion eye on, and be prepared to look beyond all the granny florals and old lady smells!! Many people take a first glance at charity shops and warning bells ring out, and they scarper! However, hopefully I can convince you to give them a chance 🙂 If you are prepared to endure the old lady exteriors, it is possible to find some amazing bargains and fashion trends hidden beneath!! Its true that styles of the past are constantly coming around again and again, be it the 60’s, 70’s or even the 90’s! Levi’s, flairs and suede are all past fashion trends that have come back around! So charity shops enable you to pick up the true original authentic styles, from when they appeared first time around!

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All items purchased from a charity shop 🙂

There is no real set place to charity shop, or best area. I charity shop everywhere and regularly pick up Levi jackets, shorts, suede jackets, stripy t-shirts and  good old knitted jumpers! It’s not that I have particularly good charity shops near me (in Dorset), in fact they are pretty average, it’s just that you have to enter prepared to filter through a lot of rubbish to find your gem! As well as be patient, as some days you will see absolutely nothing no matter how hard you try, whereas other days you may come out with numerous items. The key is to pick out the clothing, imagine it on you, washed and in a different setting and suddenly a floral tee when paired with some levi shorts and a trusty pair of Doctor marten boots, is no longer that smelly old ladies t-shirt you first thought 🙂

In my opinion London is not the best for charity shopping (despite it being far superior for thrift store shopping), although if you are from London my favourite charity shop is in Camden (opposite Wholefoods), with a close second being a store on Roman Road, near Mile End In East London.

If you are from the South West of England, I charity shop in all of my local towns, with some of my favourite charity shops being situated in Blandford Forum, Shaftesbury and Poole, all of which are small towns in Dorset!! So you do not have to live in London to be able to pick up some bargains from charity shops!! Any of your closest local stores I can promise you will contain some hidden gems, just remember to look past the tat and more importantly be patient!!

2. Where are the best thrift stores:

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Thrift store purchases

When it comes to where to thrift shop there is in my opinion only one answer, East London!! I have picked up numerous bargains, such as Levi jeans and shorts, multiple vintage sweaters, and all my dungarees, both long and short versions, from the East End Thrift store! It is situated along Mile End road (not far from  Mile end tube station and Queen Mary university of London). If you are from London or plan to visit any time soon, I could not recommend the store (if you can call it that) more highly! However, I do have to place a warning sign on my recommendation before you all go and visit it and think I am a crazy nutter. The East End thrift store definitely requires you to have your thinking hat on, as at first glance it looks like an extremely badly organised jumble sale… an absolute mess!! But trust me underneath the dirt mess and smell (yep its terribly smelly), there are some beautiful vintage bargains waiting for you 🙂 And when taken home and washed, you’d never know that your whole outfit, head to toe probably cost you less than £5!!! It really is that cheap, with numerous £1 sales (where everything, EVRYTHING is only £1), and with the main store working by a fill a bag for £10 or £20 system!

3. Where to vintage shop: 

Vintage shopping, is definitely my guilty pleasure and my top three cities to vintage shop are: London, Bristol and Bath!

London- my favourite stores are:

-Blitz- situated in Brick Lane, which also has a brilliant vintage market every saturday!!

-Rokit- with my favourite of the stores being the one in Camden and Covent garden.

Bristol– My favourite area of bristol to vintage shop is Park street, where I regularly pop into the store ‘Uncle Sam’s vintage’. Bristol is also especially good for vintage shopping on a saturday where in addition there is a fab market just off Park Street!

Bath- My favourite Vintage store in Bath is, ‘Yellow shop’, situated on Walcott street 🙂

9 thoughts on “How to shop vintage…

  1. Loved your first blogpost, Livy! I follow you on instagram (@lolofleur and @lolagoesfit) and i am really excited for you! Also your fotos on the blogpost are awesome!


  2. aghs ! so amazing and so happy for you on your first blog post! Just a question- whats the difference between charity and thrift shops? I am not from England, and in Canada we only have general charity shops (people donate clothes and the sales raise money for, obviously, charity).
    Thanks and congrats again olivia on your first post 🙂 🙂 ❤


    1. Yes in England charity shops are are exactly the same concept as in Canada! Thrift stores are different in the fact that money is not raised for charity! They are effectively just a second hand clothes store! People have sourced out second hand vintage clothing, and sell them for low prices 🙂 thank you so much for reading


  3. ahh loved your first post! So excited for the next ones 🙂
    greetings from germany! x

    (sorry if i spelled something wrong 🙂 )


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