Fashion for the Frugal

Natalie Proctor takes a walk through Withington and tells us why we should trade ‘high street’ shops for the actual local high street when it’s time for some retail therapy…

You don’t need all the money in the world to get the style you’re after. Fact. Perhaps the easiest way to get great style for a fraction of the price, is hunting through charity shops for all your fashion needs. The problem that I often find with charity shop searching however, has always been their lack of accessibility; with shops dotted all about the place it’s hard to find the energy to source out these hidden gems. However, in Manchester, we have a hidden Oasis of these cheap and cheerful places in Withington and East Didsbury.

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Students in particular, are often unaware that there is life beyond the end of Fallowfield, but if you walk just a few minutes further into Withington you will find plenty for the frugal fashionista. In Withington alone, there are more than six charity shops in a 100m stretch of road, which is perfect for those of us who like convenience. Cancer Research houses an awesome vintage section towards the back of the store, where you can buy both clothes and accessories, and turn off Wilmslow Road and onto Copson Street, and you’ll find multibuy deals galore – like three items of clothing for £3 in Age Concern, or three DVDs for £1 in St. Vincent’s. Additionally, there are some independently run shops that are full to the brim with donations from the local area, but also offer great prices because of this.

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Just ten minutes on the bus will take you to East Didsbury, which is another hot bed for charity shops. A ‘Sue Ryder’ shop towards the end of the high street offering loads of great things for the home as well is great news for students trying to make their house a home on a very tight budget!

Charity shops are a fantastic way of revamping your style for pennies, but they also offer some great quality clothes if you’re prepared to do the rummaging. Who knows, you may stumble upon someone’s designer shoes that were forgotten in time! It also gives the extra benefit of owning clothes that are not being made anymore, so you are sure to be unique.

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Disclaimer: Louboutins not guaranteed!

Let’s not forget though, perhaps the greatest aspect of taking yourself down to the charity shops for a new dress, over going to the big brands – you’re actually doing good. No matter who you are, or how much money you have, it’s hard to avoid the slight pang of guilt when you buy clothes that you really rarely need. But now you can shop guilt free, and maybe even feel pretty good about yourself! So now you can grab a bargain as well as doing your bit.

Note: Charity shops in Withington and East Didsbury are looking for volunteers! If you fancy doing something charitable in your spare time just go along and ask.

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