Would you buy work clothes in a charity shop?

(91 Posts)
hpickup Fri 06-Dec-13 13:29:42

I am desperate for some new clothes for the office, but being on a low salary and with Christmas can't afford new. Is it ok to buy from a charity shop or e-bay?

I am desperate - I am still in a cheap summer jacket as I don't have a winter coat. I have one business suit which I wear to work all the time as I have no other office clothes, and onlr one pair of work shoes which have ceral packets in them as there are holes in the soles!! Whenever it's wet i arrive in work with soaking feet

TheRobberBride Fri 06-Dec-13 13:31:54

Yes of course.

If they are in good condition and appropriate then why on earth not?

I've found some brilliant clothed in charity shops.

I think it's fine, don't worry about where they come from, just go for what you can afford. No one has to know the clothes are from a charity shop unless you choose to tell them. As long as you pick out decent things with plenty of life left in them, I'll bet not a single person will be able to tell where you bought them

burnishedsilver Fri 06-Dec-13 13:33:18

Yes, absolutely. Charity shops have some lovely things.

mysteryfairy Fri 06-Dec-13 13:33:34

Based on what you've described as your current situation it would be mad not to! Another option is eBay...search on good workwear brands (Hobbs, jaeger maybe) and your size and you might pick up some bargains.

lambbone Fri 06-Dec-13 13:37:38

Of course! And the best bet is to get yourself to the poshest town within easy reach. The charity shops in posh towns are awesome!

lottiegarbanzo Fri 06-Dec-13 13:40:57

Oh yes, you have to shuffle through some odd stuff but there are brilliant things in there. I wouldn't (don't) give it a second thought, whether I can afford to buy new or not.

Ebay has some great bargains too, if you know what you want.

buttercrumble Fri 06-Dec-13 13:40:59

Yes defiantly , I hate spending lots on work stuff

curlew Fri 06-Dec-13 13:44:04

Why would it not be ok? You get clothes, the charity gets money and you're not contributing to the depletion of the worlds resources. And you're sticking it to The Man. Win/win/win/win situation!

SirChenjin Fri 06-Dec-13 13:46:18

Yes - why on earth not? I'm a huge fan of charity shops - go to the naicest areas of town and it's amazing what you can find <still kicks self for not buying that gorgeous Diane von Furstenberg dress>

Wednesbury Fri 06-Dec-13 13:47:35

Yes definitely. I used to do this - worked in a posh area of a city. Got some great work wear in the nearby charity shops. You can get more things and better quality than buying new in the shops on the same budget. I know plenty of people who buy in charity shops. I think it's seen more and more as normal - it is the same as buying on eBay, really, only you are benefiting a charity. And you get to see and try the clothes first. I buy all my jeans in charity shops, at £4 a pair it doesn't matter about how frequently I wear them through at the knee crawling round after small kids. You get good makes too. There's a lot of good quality stuff in those places.

ShreddedHoops Fri 06-Dec-13 13:48:48

Of course! I am returning to work on a budget next month. I have bought 7 dresses, carefully chosen to work with boots and tights now, and bare legs and shoes later. 1 from a charity shop, 4 from Ebay and 2 at 50% off in a sale. Sorted smile and all good brands, Hobbs, Whistles, Laura Ashley. Am waiting til after Christmas sales to get shoes, and am selling lots of things on Ebay atm to fund a designer handbag from Ebay and hopefully a sale smart coat too.

starofbethlehemfishmummy Fri 06-Dec-13 14:01:54

Why not? You may habeas tks go through some tat in several shops to find what you need but I am sure younwill find something. I know people who have retired and immediately given their work clothes to charity shops so you may be lucky.

The only thing I would be fussy about are the shoes, but that's probably just me.

Lol at "is it OK?" What do you think might happen- get summoned in by HR for an official warning? ;)

NorbertDentressangle Fri 06-Dec-13 14:07:26

Of course its OK!

It's probably better than ebay too as you can try things on and avoid mistakes (eg. finding something doesn't fit despite being your size, or that something just doesn't look right on or is a bit more worn than a listing said).

And, of course, you're helping a charity.

Yes - Second hand Hobbs is always going to be better quality than new Next!

NigellasLeftNostril Fri 06-Dec-13 14:12:18

yes definitely and second the idea of going to the poshest town or area near you and hitting the charity shops there, you wouldnt believe what u might find!

VerySmallSqueak Fri 06-Dec-13 14:13:14

I buy all clothes,pretty much,from charity shops - including my last wedding outfit.

YoucancallmeQueenBee Fri 06-Dec-13 14:15:44

Currently at work wearing a very smart 100% merino wool jumper from GAP that I bought for £8 in a charity shop last week. I'm also wearing the suede boots I bought off ebay & arrived at work in a very smart Zara coat, also off ebay.

Only thing I purchased new (apart from tights & undies) was the skirt and that was from an outlet store at 50% off.

So, definitely yes!

Tiredemma Fri 06-Dec-13 14:17:01

Most of my work stuff comes from the charity shop or ebay

Ephiny Fri 06-Dec-13 14:21:35

Yes if there happened to be something nice and in good condition. I wouldn't rely on finding anything suitable, though, but you never know.

I've certainly donated good work clothes and shoes to charity shops (good brands, never-worn) just because I've bought the wrong size or something and not got around to taking it back for a refund. I'm sure I'm not the only one!

Floisme Fri 06-Dec-13 14:30:46

Of course. However some charity shops are complete and utter shite. My local one is a thoroughly depressing experience and it's not like I live in The Bronx. So, as others have said, take a trip to the most affluent part of town and while you're there don't just go round the charity shops but look out for car boots and jumble sales too.

hpickup Fri 06-Dec-13 14:35:51

Thank you all so much - you have really cheered me up. Walking in this AM I was so cold and my shoes were still wet I was in tears. Thank you

I've given things (not designer , I don't buy those) but recognisable names, and I haven't even worn them blush.
Labels still on.

So you might get some brand new with tags .

Anything that needs to, you can dry clean. smile

CointreauVersial Fri 06-Dec-13 23:17:55

Yes, yes, Yes! Definitely find a smart town, as the charity shops sell better stuff.

Around half of my work clothes come from charity shops. Trousers, shirts, skirts, coats and jackets in fairly classic styles don't age much, so are well worth buying, however jumpers and jersey items in great condition are harder to come by.

I have stuff from Karen Millen, Banana Republic, Jigsaw, DKNY....All picked up for peanuts.

fossil971 Fri 06-Dec-13 23:21:31

Totally. Find one in a posh part of town and look for Next , M& S or better brands. Work clothes are good for secondhand because blouses, tailored trousers etc wear much better than T-shirts and casual stuff. People normally just get rid because they're bored of things.

I also use ebay where I'm sure of sizing, if you have a little more to spend TKMaxx can have really good smart clothes around £15-£20 a piece.

I've just been to a Christmas do wearing my charity shop party dress.

perplexedpirate Fri 06-Dec-13 23:24:14

Of course!
Whenever there's a thread like this I live it cos I get to mention my £10 Prada slingbacks again.

Chocolateteabag Sat 07-Dec-13 01:12:34

Another vote for yes here. I buy practically all my clothes on eBay or in charity shops. And not averse to eBay shoes either (where I can see they haven't been worn much).
This is because I am a massive tight arse bargain hunter, i can afford to buy at full new price - but makes me feel slightly queasy at the thought.

On eBay - try on clothes in RL in the shops first to get an idea of your sizing (vs the shop "size").

Lavenderhoney Sat 07-Dec-13 02:17:03

Excellent, another chance to mention my beautiful practically new Chanel suit found in a charity shop 20 years ago and still going strongsmile

Posh towns are good, but I have to say prices have gone up in a lot of charity shops, and ebay, tkmaxx online or in shop might be cheaper for the same quality.

bishboschone Sat 07-Dec-13 07:33:19

Primark have some great work wear in their bigger shops..

curlew Sat 07-Dec-13 07:57:23

But why would you buy dubiously ethical cheap clothes from Primark and swell their coffers when you can buy fantastic clothes from charity shops and give money to charity at the same time?

Oldandcobwebby Sat 07-Dec-13 08:01:27

Oh yes!

EustaciaVye Sat 07-Dec-13 08:02:24

yes. why wouldnt you?

Deathwatchbeetle Sat 07-Dec-13 08:45:16

Oh yes, certainly. I have done. I also managed to get a copy of a Dorothy Perkins pinstripe jacket that I ruined in the washer/dryer. My local charity shops (well, where I am temporarily staying at the mo') has loads of jackets. Sadly most are too small for me. Unemployed at the mo so looking for good stuff!

LucyLasticKnickers Sat 07-Dec-13 08:59:40

british heart are good. as i am sure others are. but they chuck out the primark clothes, donate to africa or for rags. and only have the good quality and some charity shops look so impressive. british heart being one, it had a make over.
i dont necessairly agree with the poshest town, i went to a very posh town recently on the hunt and their stuff was dire. perhaps i was unlucky though.

mrsblakey Sat 07-Dec-13 10:00:21

Absolutely some real bargains to be had!

Jinglebellsforthebetter Sat 07-Dec-13 10:38:59

Yes, of course. Got my last job wearing a charity shop suit smile

NigellasLeftNostril Sat 07-Dec-13 11:12:31

yes. why wouldnt you
there are plenty of people who wouldnt go near a charity shop, certain members of my 'family' actually thought that me buying childrens clothes there was tantamount to abuse.
weird i know.

bishboschone Sat 07-Dec-13 11:14:45

Oh I agree with the ethical point of view , I was just trying to help op .

AnUnearthlyChild Sat 07-Dec-13 11:20:24

It's fine.

I went to a dead important steering group meeting in London a couple of days ago ( I'm from the Country) in my £3 Next bargain charity shop jacket and a £1.50 m&s jumper.

HR didn't call me in for a bollocking! smile

I work in a posh little county town. The charity shops are bloody amazing here. Some stuff still has tags in.

LucyLasticKnickers Sat 07-Dec-13 11:21:21

my teens are converts. even. and i bought dh his christmas jumper from a charity shop.
it is aka vintage

BIWI Sat 07-Dec-13 11:23:50

What an odd question to ask.

Of course you can. Why wouldn't you think you could?

senua Sat 07-Dec-13 11:28:26

I agree with the general consensus - charity shop stuff is fine. No-one will know if you bought that M&S/Next/DP outfit from charity or directly from M&S/Next/DP.

However, it can take a while to seek out the amazing 'finds'. If you are currently sporting only one suit then you will wear it out in double quick time. In the meantime can you try out the supermarkets?

Lizzabadger Sat 07-Dec-13 11:36:08

Of course. I do. How would anyone know?

lookatmybutt Sat 07-Dec-13 11:47:51

Yes, it's fine! Why, hellooo MaxMara suit for £30.

The only problem is Oxfam tends to move all its posher donations to the shops in posher areas to prevent poor people from buying them.

Ebay is also good. I got some handmade leather Italian ankle boots for £20.00. You need a lot of patience to wade through the shite at times though.

EustaciaVye Sat 07-Dec-13 11:55:35

But no one would know unless you told them.

LucyLasticKnickers Sat 07-Dec-13 12:09:13

i now buy ds work shirts and dh t shirts. and have bought for my teen girls in the past, did buy for myself but felt slightly embarrassed that the peopel at work noticed I had new stuff and went silent. and i felt that there were going to ask me but didnt

LucyLasticKnickers Sat 07-Dec-13 12:09:49

but it could have been my paranoia

senua Sat 07-Dec-13 12:22:33

felt slightly embarrassed that the people at work noticed I had new stuff and went silent.

The standard responses are:
a depreciating 'what? this old thing. had it for years'
or 'it was a gift'

LucyLasticKnickers Sat 07-Dec-13 12:31:58

grin answer senua

curlew Sat 07-Dec-13 15:02:57

Why would you not say "This? Yes it is new- I got it from the Oxfam shop- isn't it great?"

specialsubject Sat 07-Dec-13 15:44:52

of course its ok!

BTW get some outdoor shoes to wear to work and change when you get there.

ArtemisatBrauron Sat 07-Dec-13 16:07:11

I have loads of work wear from charity shops - e.g. a jigsaw pure wool blazer that I wore to my job interview for the job (in posh boarding school) that I have now! grin it is awesome, cheap and no-one will know.

Def set aside a few £ to dry clean it if necessary though.

hpickup Sun 08-Dec-13 05:18:04


hpickup Sun 08-Dec-13 05:26:21

Thanks - am going to nearby towm next weekend to look around charity shops.

Is it best not to buy shoes in charity shops - can probably manage with existing pair till payday but they do hurt and rub.

Thanks again

hoboken Sun 08-Dec-13 05:28:25

Definitely! (looks at wool/cashmere coat £7, velvet trousers picked out for Christmas day £5, Kookai summer jacket £4). Lots of dross but also some real finds. Beware of choosing dry clean only clothes if you are broke. (Live in large city with some vair naice areas where there are some fantastic charity shops)

Eastpoint Sun 08-Dec-13 09:00:11

I've given some really good shoes to charity shops, sometimes they just aren't comfortable for me so I don't wear them & I always think they must be better off worn by someone else.

There is a fancy Oxfam shop where we live & two Cancer a Research shops, one specialises in 'good' clothes. Red Cross also seem to have good stock, as does FARA. Sue Ryder & Barnardo's aren't as good. I've just thought of another tip, is there a fancy gym/private club near you? Ask where they send the lost property they find. They only keep stuff for 10 days or so as otherwise there is too much & then take it to charity shops.

2sugarsandadog Sun 08-Dec-13 09:02:20

God, yes! But although our local Oxfam has some lovely stuff it's a little out of my price range these days.

CointreauVersial Sun 08-Dec-13 09:11:55

I've never bought shoes from a charity shop, but that's mainly because I have awkwardly wide feet, and I've never seen anything that would fit me. But I would if I could.

I love it when people comment on my new purchases and I can tell them it's from a charity shop; I'm quite boring on the subject, in fact. They are always envy when I say what I paid, and say they never find anything that nice. Not looking hard enough, I say!

LucyLasticKnickers Sun 08-Dec-13 09:21:08

following on from this i went charity shopping yesterday, purchased a new unworn jumper
but inthe same shop there was a new unworn, still with labels on, from George, originally 2.50, but now in british heart, 2.99! angry
what a let down

Skinheadmermaid Sun 08-Dec-13 11:58:27

I've never had a lot of money; almost all my clothes are from charity shops, Ebay, TK maxx, supermarkets and primark.
I've only ever had compliments on the way i've been dresses and people have been approving that my dress was £2.50 in the sale or whatever. Shopping cheaply is a necessity not a choice for me unfortunately.
OP, do you have to wear a suit for work? Can you not mix it up a little with black jeans/trousers and a blouse, all of these can be obtained much cheaper then a suit. These items are easier to find also.

Catypillar Sun 08-Dec-13 15:51:23

A lot of my work clothes are second hand- some from eBay and some from charity shops. I often get nice comments about what I'm wearing and am very happy to tell people where I got my stuff. I got three lovely 70s velvet jackets from eBay the other week at about £10 each including postage. There's nothing embarrassing or shameful about buying second hand clothes.

mercibucket Sun 08-Dec-13 16:16:44

I try to only buy work clothes in charity shops. otherwise my wage goes on work which is pointless

AnUnearthlyChild Sun 08-Dec-13 16:37:19

Good point merci

Varya Sun 08-Dec-13 16:39:58

Yes certainly buy from Charity shops, and they have some lovely things. Even car boot sales have lower priced clothes and some really good items from time to time. I seldom buy new clothes.

LEMisafucker Sun 08-Dec-13 16:44:04

I get ALL of my clothes from charity shops - i love them!

I would not however buy shoes from charity shops - have done this before but ended up twisting my ankle as people wear their shoes differently and it put me off balance (AND the shoes were flat hmm), also you don't know if the previous owners had any nasty things on their feet - clothes can be washed smile

TondelayoSchwarzkopf Sun 08-Dec-13 16:52:04

I have worn an £8 dress from Shelter to a film premiere blush - it look great and it wasn't even a posh label (Warehouse).

I love getting complimented on charity shop / EBay / car boot clothes at work and always say where they are from. I work in a reasonably fashion conscious industry.

I would love to shop more in charity shops but you do have to dedicate time to it - can't wait for Maternity Leave!

Iris445 Sun 08-Dec-13 21:08:54

Today I'm wearing
Hobbs skirt £3
Oasis cardigan £3.
Reiss top £3.

You have to trawl them though.

British heart and oxfam are a rip off.

Floisme Mon 09-Dec-13 17:47:11

I think it depends where you live. I used to be an avid charity shopper but it's years since I found anything good within 20 miles of our house. However I recently came home from London (posher parts) with a bagful of bargains.

Hell yes.
I buy my finds at lunchtime and gather the girls round to admire. I've converted them all grin
I can afford naice new stuff and I do buy expensive items, but nothing beats a well tailored bargain from the charity shop.

ejayne Tue 10-Dec-13 15:56:46

I don't mean to be un-sympathetic but it's Dec and you're wearing a summer jacket!!

Plus your colleagues must think it's odd if you wear the same suit and holed shoes all the time. TBH you need some self respect.

hpickup Wed 11-Dec-13 06:07:28

I don't lack self respect and hate the situation I'm in, but lost everything when I left my ex.

I don't have a winter coat, but try to wear different jumpers to make my clothes look different, but still feel like a tramp.

Also, I usually just go shoeless in the office.

foofooyeah Wed 11-Dec-13 06:27:02

I buy a lot off eBay. Can't afford not to. Boden dresses for £10 (like new)
I ave bought Duo boots too that were fine

Also got my son 4 work shirts recently for £4.20!

GoodnessKnows Wed 11-Dec-13 06:56:06

Yes, yes, yes. I wouldn't feel comfortable but if be over the moon with the treasures / bargains! Recently bought a second hand dress on ebay and am over the moon. Fits like a glove. Thing is, with clothes, those cast off to charity shops and ebay are usually just the wrong size (people gain and lose weight). The clothes will be perfect!

Ememem84 Wed 11-Dec-13 07:12:11

If I'd seen this last week I'd have said no. Don't do it. However. I ventured into local hospice shop on Monday to drop off some things and found a really nice pencil skirt and a pair of wool trousers. £7 for the both. They would have set me back easily close to £100 new. Bargain. I will definetly be going back.

CerealMom Wed 11-Dec-13 07:25:08

What size are you? I've got a couple of suits I don't wear anymore.

You can (carefully) wash most 'dry clean only' clothes - I do!

Cold machine wash. Put woollies into a net laundry bag (to stop stretching). Use a wool detergent. Dry flat. If hand washing, be gentle when squeezing out water, no rubbing. Use net bag and spin in washing machine. Only problems sometimes when clothes have a lining. This can shrink.

Curioustiger Wed 11-Dec-13 08:55:14

Ejayne... Bit harsh! OP I used to manage a team of 40+ people and still wore my charity shop clothes to work.

alemci Wed 11-Dec-13 09:07:00

yes have a look in the charity shops and ebay is very good. Boden things sell on there.

Could you mix and match rather than wearing a suit.

I would buy some good quality shoes if you can afford it in the sales as I think good shoes are important and as long as they look good the rest doesn't matter as much.

WillPenn Wed 11-Dec-13 10:38:23

Today wearing my Gerard Darel 100% silk shirt that I picked up from Cancer Research for £6.50 the other day - I am proud of my charity shop bargains and would never miss an opportunity to boast of my finds!

In our (posh) area the best shop is Cancer Research, with Shelter a close second. There is also a DEBRA shop with some really great stuff near by.

My girls also get quite a few of their clothes and toys from charity shops. Apart from anything else it is good to recycle stuff and not always be buying new. to get a new toy from the charity shop they have to donate one.

CointreauVersial Wed 11-Dec-13 12:51:41

WillPenn - I also have a charity shop Gerard Darel silk shirt. I love it all the more having seen the prices of GD when new.

WowOoo Wed 11-Dec-13 13:01:04

I recently bought a fantastic work woollen coat from a charity shop.
I always have a look when I'm in the posh part of town, where the nicer stuff is. Only £5 and is in perfect condition.

Dh was not happy as I had taken 4 bin bags and 5 small boxes of books to donate.
I'd promised to come back empty handed. Came back with a ceramic bowl, plant pot, two novels, some jeans and a sweatshirt for the kids and a new coat. blush I can't help myself in a charity shop.

My current winter coat is from a charity shop. I'm losing weight at the minute and just didn't see the point in buying something brand new that might not fit properly in a months time. The one I've got was new with tags and cost me £7.99. It's already getting too big!

rightsaidthread Wed 11-Dec-13 13:09:55

Same as Onelittlelady I have lost a lot of weight this year and my winter coat is a lovely warm Bhs coat bought for £3 in my local charity shop.

I find the Salvation Army shops have a great selection and if you take in clothes to donate in one of their bags they give you £2 to spend in the shops. Love it grin

Do any brand shops sell really small work clothes? I am a girls age 12. I found some nice things in Hong Kong and can get things made in Vietnam.....

But what can I find in the UK?

LadyFlumpalot Wed 11-Dec-13 13:33:35

Oh yes! I have a lovely Next dress, brand new for £6. A lovely cashmere jumper for £4.99 and loads of gorgeous shoes.

hpickup Thu 12-Dec-13 10:52:36

Thanks for all the help.

Went ot a couple of charity shops yesterday and got a new coat and several blouses for £25.

I don't really fancy the idea of buying shoes from a charity shop though so just hoping the dry wearther continues. (luckily in the office i can "get away" with padding around in my stockinged feet!!),

Lidl have quite nice sequin ballet pumps for £7 which would do for work.

LadyFlumpalot Thu 12-Dec-13 15:40:54

Shoezone? I bought some flat boots last year that are still going strong. Ok, not the most stylish but warm and dry.

dyslexicdespot Thu 12-Dec-13 15:44:59

What size are you?

hpickup Fri 13-Dec-13 16:13:21

Tried Lidl but they did'nt have any a my local store.

Once the schools break up i can wear my daughter's school shoes which will help a bit.

FelineExtraStrongMincePie Fri 13-Dec-13 16:14:14


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