Photo by Hannah McNamara

Considering the relatively small size of Canterbury town centre, there are a surprisingly large amount of charity and second-hand shops located on and around the High Street. A lot of people may turn their noses up at the idea of buying clothes that have already been worn, but Hannah McNamara calls herself an avid thrift store junkie – and here are her reasons why you should become one too!

1. It’s cheap

As a student whose student loan hardly covers basic living essentials, let alone a new outfit for every time I go out, new clothes can sometimes seem like an unachievable luxury.  Unless you’re cool with sacrificing a week’s food for a new £25 Topshop shirt that, let’s face it, you’ll probably only wear once, charity shops offer a super affordable alternative.  For example, I found this gorgeous crushed velvet shirt in Barnardo’s for only £5.50.

Photo by Hannah McNamara

2. It’s ethical

Thinking that you could probably get a shirt in Primark for basically the same price?  Well yes, you probably could.  But think about all the awful child labour horror stories you’ve heard about Primark – these are true for shops like Topshop too (they’re owned by the same company!), so maybe think twice if you’re lusting over that sequin dress next time – imagine having to sew all those sequins on, by hand, for basically no money…

3. It’s for charity

Obviously this only counts for charity shops, not just second-hand shops, but still – who can say no to giving away a few precious pennies to people who really need it?  Especially as a student who can’t really afford to give money away, I think this is a great way to feel good about yourself whilst getting something out of it as well.  Oxfam is always a good shout, being one of the biggest charity shop chains in the country, but sometimes it’s nice to go to a more niche charity like Canterbury’s branch of Age UK or The Children’s Trust Tadworth.

4. It’s individual

If, like me, you don’t always want to be a sheep and blend in with the crowd, then I find that second-hand and vintage shops are the absolute best.  Revivals and Funky Monks are both on the High Street near Westgate, and they’re perfect for finding a few vintage pieces!  Revivals is the bigger shop but to be honest it’s probably more geared up for men, selling lots of wax and tweed jackets.  However, their vintage fur coat collection is to die for, and the women running it are super friendly, so it’s always fun to go in for a browse.  Funky Monks is more what I would call a typical vintage shop; despite how small it is, it still manages to have a great selection of ‘ugly’ 90’s shirts and vintage sportswear that’s fashionable right now.

So there you have it, four very good reasons to shop in charity and second-hand shops!  I’m not saying give up Topshop and Zara completely (even I’m not that much of a saint), but maybe just think twice next time you go to buy a pretty basic item, and have a browse around some of the smaller High Street shops.