One of the strangest moans to be heard around these streets, only marginally less so than the paucity of the shoe shops and the lack of a bolt-upright Christmas tree is that we have ‘too many charity shops’. Like the other claim, that we have too many coffee shops (which, if true, would mean they’d all be empty, which is clearly not the case) it is balderdash and piffle.

The fact remains: our charity shops are ACE. Not only are they raising money for good causes, but they cut down on waste and provide excellent value bargains, giving the pre-loved a chance to be re-loved. If you ever see me parading down the High Road you might think my threads are from some high-end Savile Road emporium, when in fact I’m almost guaranteed to be wearing something second hand. Or you might think ‘Wow. That paunchy oaf looks like a colour blind geography teacher who never got the memo about how wearing three different types of tweed in one outfit lends nothing to one’s style”. But whatever.

To prove this, we gave young writer EMILY ALLEN and her friend Tom a hypothetical £25 each and sent them loose on our charity shops to find some stylish clobber in each that didn’t exceed the quarter of a ton budget. With a photographer in tow, they got searching….


Choosing to seek for sustainable options in current times is so vital to protect our planet and the people living on it, and it’s a great opportunity to start choosing more sustainable options this festive season!

Using sites like Amazon as they are easy and efficient websites to get Christmas presents is something we are all guilty of doing. However, there is a very large cost to the planet from it, especially as products must travel from across the world increasing the carbon footprint. Instead try giving Beeston’s local charity shops a try.

Not only is it helping our plant but is saving a lot of money in the process. I wanted to do this challenge as it was a fun way of displaying how shopping at charity shops is a good option instead of using fast fashion. Not only do fast fashion companies often underpay workers, they often cut corners in the process of making and delivering the garment at a cost to the planet. Using charity shops can also save a lot of money which each outfit costing less the £25.

This can be seen in Oxfam: we found a pair of Levi’s jeans in great condition for £9.99 which if bought new would cost around £80. Charity shops not only sell clothes but plenty of children toys for affordable prices;  great considering how quicky children go off toys! By choosing charity shops it cuts down on plastic in landfills and cuts down costs.Appliances, furniture, books and much more caen be found inside. 

Overall, by doing the challenge I believe our local charity shops are a great way to be more sustainable and cut down on your carbon footprint. The actual process itself was really fun and could be a great activity with friends. It was great getting clothes without a large cost to the planet or a large cost to me.

So how did they do? We asked Beeston’s top fashionista (sorry Sir Paul Smith, your stripy crown has been taken) KAREN JOSE to kick off her Jimmy Choos, pull up her Chanel shades and give her thoughts on the chosen clobber. While sipping a fresh negroni, of course…*.










They’ve found outfits that seem to really  fit their style. Tom’s  jacket is bold and quirky: I wouldn’t date anyone who wore this, but it suits him.

Emily’s gone for some nice balance with the hoodie and top: comfy, but moderN. White Rose isn’t really for  the vintage stuff, rather the more youthful brands:. Oasis, etc. Great this  stuff gets a new lease of life and mitigates against fast fashion.









Emily has a really beautiful  crocheted cardy here, nice boho chic.

Tom’s gone more down the Ralph Lauren route: rocking a very on-trend 1980’s  catalogue look. Good quality items here: Oxfam do tend to put out good quality stuff at great prices.









(Karen worked here for a time, and set up the much-loved vintage section). Always good for surprises,even if they’re more into furniture and homeware than clothes. You can usually find something good. Fuchsia top, tight skinny ripped jeans. It’s a classic look that seems to be riding a wave of popularity again. I’d wear those jeans. Tom’s shirt looks good: like a 1950’s bowling alley champ.









Emily’s rocking what looks like a men’s linen jacket: a totally good look. Fashion is often at its best when there’s a gender fluid look going off! Tom’s also keen to subvert convention here: his floral top is great: bold print, I’d wear this. Great that charity shops give you the opportunity to experiment. It takes confidence to wear this, but he’s carrying it off well. I think this is my favourite of them all: they look stunning.


A huge thank you to all the shops who took part, Tom for volunteering to be our male model, and Christopher Frost for the ace photography.