Cost of living: TikTok whizz shares top tips for charity shop shopping - why you should always check the label

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The cost of living crisis has seen a sharp increase in people turning to charity shops - and that could be a positive, as there are some incredible bargains to be had according to this “second hand” expert on TikTok.

A TikTok whizz has shared her top tips for bagging a bargain in charity shops for people who want to save money while “looking expensive” amid the cost of living crisis. ‘Second hand expert’ @themonicaway revealed the hacks in a new video posted to the platform in January.

New research by trade-in comparison site SellCell found that out of 3,000 UK residents it surveyed, 29% had turned to second-hand goods or charity shops in a bid to save money.  The research also found that 38% buy less clothes and 29% repair items rather than replace them.

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Luckily, @themonicaway had a breadth of pointers to share with those who are interested in becoming charity shop pros. She began by telling her 28,000 followers: “First up, look for quintessential prints. Prints include beautiful plaids, houndstooth, tartans.

“Any print that has a heritage undertone really elevates, and gives your wardrobe that look of sophistication.” Monica added that this particular tip had helped her to find countless stylish blazers for her wardrobe, and held up a monochrome dogtooth blazer to show viewers what she meant.

The TikTok user then shared her next gem - paying attention to the buttons on outerwear. She said that “gold or pearl” buttons were her favourites, as the fancy details helped to items “that look of expense”.

Monica explained that she always buys her coats and jackets from charity shops, as they are usually a fraction of the price but still of a great quality. Monica’s third tip was to “alway pay attention to the fabric make-up of the pieces”.

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A quick look at the item’s label will allow you to pick up absolute must-haves, such as coats made with pure wool. Monica also advised considering “sticking to neutrals” or a specific colour palette as it helps you to create a “capsule” wardrobe that is easy to style.

If you’re into the latest trends, Monica said it’s always better to shop in a charity shop as you’ve not splashed out on something you might only wear a few times. She added that her four department “go-to’s” were homewear, shoes, tailorwear and occasion wear.

Speaking of occasion wear, she said: “You can find some great steals here. Always visit the dress section - lots of people buy occasion wear to wear it once or twice.”

Top tips for bagging a bargain in a charity shop

  • Look for quintessential prints - such as plaids, houndstooth and tartan
  • Look for expensive-looking buttons on outerwear such as gold or pearl
  • Check the label to discover the items’ fabric make-up - “pure wool” is rare and a must-have
  • Stick to neutral colours or a specific colour palette 
  • Check the dress section for occasion wear that’s only been worn once or twice

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