If you're low on funds but looking for an outfit with a difference, your first port of call should always be your local charity shop.

Yes, high street shops and even dedicated vintage stores might look more appealing, but as long as you're willing to rummage a little and be creative, you're guaranteed to find charity shop gems at half the price you'd pay elsewhere.

And we're not talking random Penneys slogan t-shirts for €1, either. Proper vintage finds, amazing prints, tailored pieces and more are all hidden away on charity shop rails waiting for a new home.

Here are a few tips to ensure you get the most out of your next visit…

1. Be ruthless
You don't need to spend hours slowly browsing through the racks – keep an eye out for prints and textures that catch your eye and you'll be sure to find a gem soon enough. Oversized coats and sweaters are always good bets as sizing is less of an issue. Only buy pieces that you can actually imagine in your wardrobe, rather than saying 'Oh, I'll wear it at some stage.' You probably won't.


Ready for fall now that I finally found a tweed blazer that fits nicely! #charityshopfind #tweed #fall #autumn

A photo posted by Phylecia (@phylecia) on


2. Don't be afraid to tailor
Just because that gorgeous fifties-style skirt is a size too big doesn't mean it wouldn't look perfect with a few nips and tucks. The same goes for sleeves that are too long or necklines that are too high. Stylist Courteney Smith is a huge advocate of tailoring both new and vintage finds – check out her Instagram for inspiration.


3. Don't just look for clothes
Why splurge on a new Topshop leather satchel when you could find a perfectly good one for a quarter of the price at St Vincent de Paul? Leather ages brilliantly, so handbags are always going to be a solid charity shop bet. Also keep an eye out for homewares… some well chosen mis-matched plates and cups can totally pimp up your kitchen collection.


Plate wall coming along nicely #vintage #charityshopfind #countrykitchen #platewall

A photo posted by @littlevintagestar on


4. Quality is key
Just because something is cheap doesn't mean you have to buy it. And likewise, if something in a charity shop seems over-priced, it could well be because you're getting a super high quality piece for a fraction of the usual cost. Materials like denim, wool and leather are all good finds as they're designed to look even better with age.


5. Keep an open mind
If you've never shopped in a charity shop before,  you may need a little attitude adjustment. Yes, the clothes are not as beautifully arranged as they are in other stores, and no things won't smell brand new, but that's the joy of vintage shopping. If you're still a little apprehensive, stick to shops that have a dedicated 'vintage' section with more unusual and colourful finds.