The Best London Charity Shops & Pre loved Designer Shops
Yesterday I was in London for a meeting which was cut short, leaving me with some much appreciated free time to shop for a nice statement piece to add value to my extensive black staple wardrobe. I love shopping preloved luxury brands and already knew the High Street, even in London, would not provide enough excitement to draw me in, so I headed to Knightsbridge via Maida Vale, (where there are three brilliant one's close together) to trawl the charity shops and preloved designer stores for a little affordable luxury, roughly translated, a bargain. It wasn't long before I was feeling very smug and pleased with myself, having picked up a pair of brand new Giuseppe Zanotti leopard print flats for a tenner, yes a tenner and some almost new Rowland Cartier black suede court shoes with pointed toes, so beautiful at only £15, thank you Mary's Living and Giving, Little Venice.
For many the charity shopping might be a step too far as you do need time and low expectations, so don't try to have the experience if you are under the gun to find something specific. Not every trip will be fruitful. If you are new to shopping preloved designer it is wise browse online first, to get an idea of what stores like Daikokuya on New Bond Street are offering before visiting.
I then popped over the road to a little best kept secret shop Pandora, somewhere I used to frequent a lot in 1990s (even back then I liked to trade pieces when I grew tired of them) which sells preloved luxury secondhand designer brands on behalf of the rich women in the area. I was enjoying the experience so much, trying on Chanel jackets at half the price of new and amazing shoes from Prada and YSL, just lovely, sadly out of my price range this trip but loved it anyway and well worth a visit.
Back to reality and sticking to my budget, round the corner on Edgerton Terrace is another must stop, the designer handbag exchange which also stocks preloved designer brands accessories, jewellery and sunglasses the Octavia Boutique is also in Knightbridge on the Brompton Road and I love to support them as they are a homeless charity close to my heart.
When I lost all my money and became homeless myself for a short time in Los Angeles I learnt the hard way "buy new and the joke is on you!" So my advice to all women out there, if you cannot stand the mundane boring High street chains or you find the sizing all wrong, be open and curious and give shopping preloved & charity shopping a try but make sure you do your research and choose areas with great donators like Chelsea, where the British Red Cross shop on Old Church St is AMAZING, affordable luxury but not cheap secondhand designer clobber and South Kensington, where there are two fab little shops on Bute St, Trinity Hospice and Octavia Foundation. My destination of choice for shopping designer luxury brands secondhand is London and Marylebone High Street and St Johns High Street you can park and hit 4 or 5 great ones on each street but I have also had great success in Oxford, Harrogate, Beaconsfield and Saffron Waldon in Essex.
Good luck, happy hunting and remember channelling some of your fashion budget to do good work, give back and help others will add to the feel good factor when you find your first too good to be true piece.