The Kate Moss–Approved Way to Shop Sustainably

You only need a quick scroll through Pinterest to see that Kate Moss's '90s style is still idolised, and in a recent interview with The Guardian, the model revealed how she managed it on a tight budget. "I love a charity shop," Moss told David Bailey. "Because you know what, all these vintage shops, they just go and trawl all the charity shops. Then put them in their shops for £500 because they know what a Balmain shirt looks like."

How to shop in charity shops: Kate Moss


Geoff Wilkinson/REX/Shutterstock

"From the age of 14 to 18 or 19, I got all my clothes from Oxfam," Moss added. "And then I started making myself go vintage so I didn't have to trawl. You couldn't buy '70s clothes in shops in the early '90s, it was all late-'80s clothes. I wanted to dress like a hippy—those ribbed jumpers, that was the only place to get them." And yes, she does now donate to charity shops, sending the archival pieces from her own wardrobe to the Oxfam and Sue Ryder in Highgate.

How to shop in charity shops:



So our primary charity shopping tip is to go to these first, but keep scrolling for the golden rules for finding the best pieces in charity shops.

1. Don't Focus on Brands

People often look at the labels to price the pieces, but don't be fooled. It's more important to check the quality of the fabrics, cut and state of the garment, rather than the designer tag. This isn't the place to try to find instantly recognisable high-end designer items, as the majority of stock will be by high street or lesser-known labels.

2. Always Check the Fabric

Always check carefully check the fabric of the garments. You can get a real bargain on cashmere, wool and 100% cotton, so it's worth reading the label.

3. Learn What Pieces Charity Stores Are Good For

How to shop in charity shops:


Phill Taylor

Right now, charity shops are amazing for '80s blazers (hello, shoulder pads), tweed jackets, jumpers, novelty handbags, croc accessories and jazzy scarf prints. 

4. Don't Rush the Decision-Making

You don't want to spend £25 on something just because it says "Valentino" inside when you'd never buy it if you saw it in H&M. Charity shops can encourage impulse purchases, so always ensure you actually like it and that it will fit into your wardrobe.

5. It Takes Patience

How to shop in charity shops:


Phill Taylor

Think of charity shopping like a never-ending hunt. In her Guardian interview, Kate Moss said whenever she passed a charity shop, she would go in it just in case. The item you want usually isn't what they merchandise on the mannequins, so you need to trawl through all of the rails.

6. Go to Charity Shops in Highbrow Areas

How to shop in charity shops:



It pays to think strategically about where you go charity shopping. In London, stick to highbrow areas like Highgate, Kensington, Chelsea, Chiswick and Marylebone. I know someone who once found a Dior dress hiding in a charity shop near to Belgravia…

7. Consider Tailoring

how to shop in charity shops


Joy Montgomery

Have an open mind when it comes to sizing and fit, as you can have dresses, jackets and trousers tailored so they fit perfectly. 

8. Pick Charity Shops That Have Edited Charity Sections

How to shop in charity shops:


Phil Taylor

If you don't want to rummage too much, go to charity shops that have curated vintage sections and edited rails, such as Mary's Living and Giving shops. 

Scroll Down to Shop Our Oxfam Edit

Yes, you can buy Burberry for under £100.

Knot this onto your bag or round your neck.

Wear with tailored black trousers for a standout party look.

You could so easily shorten this and make it into a cute summer dress.

The cutout detailing on this is so unusual. 

You can't go wrong with a handmade knit.

No one need know this isn't Chanel.

Get an original baguette bag from the '90s.

The statement collar on this is everything.

A classic shoe that comes pre-worn-in. Win-win. 

Add a punk twist to your autumn wardrobe.

Race you to the Highgate Sue Ryder?

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