Side Street Style

A family lifestyle, interiors & travel blog


How to Achieve Style for Less

Levi shirt
Me wearing a thrifted vintage Levi's shirt and thrifted River Island Jeans

There was a time when to look stylish, you had to have the budget to match. Many of us wouldn't have been seen dead shopping in low-end high street chain stores, and admitting your skirt was in fact found in a charity shop was nothing short of shameful. These days, thankfully, the opposite is true. Owing in part to the recession, and also to the rise of style bloggers, many of whom brand themselves as thrifty, looking stylish is no longer the reserve of celebrities and models, and it is widely accepted that you can look great on a budget. Indeed, paying peanuts for a great pair of shoes has wonderful boast value. It's not what you wear, but how you wear it, that matters.

Slingback wedges
Picked up these slingback wedges by Next for £3 from a charity shop.

So how do you get great style with lemonade money? First and foremost, you have to shop around. Trawling a charity shop or discount store may seem like too much effort, but it's the key to getting your hands on one-of-a-kind pieces at a low price. Treat your shopping trips like an expedition - eat breakfast (you're going to be doing a lot of walking), wear clothes that make trying on outfits easy, and set a budget before you go so you don't over-spend. For each item, ask yourself how many wears you will get out of it and how many items in your wardrobe can be worn with it. This should give you a good gauge of whether or not it is value for money.

Choose your shops wisely, also. Charity shops in affluent areas, like Kensington and Chelsea in London for example, are more likely to have high-end cast-offs. And check which shops have promotions. Following your favourite brands on social media is a good way of keeping up with current offers and freebies in-store.

Vintage fashion
A thrift/charity store can be a treasure trove for bargains. 

If heading into town to buy clothes isn't your scene, there are millions of bargains to be found on the web. This way, you can try clothes on in the comfort of your own home, and get your money back if they aren't suitable (distance selling regulations mean that if you buy clothes online you can cancel your order and probably get a refund within 7 working days of receiving the items).

Don't want to spend any money at all? Why not try swapping clothes with others, or "swishing"? At a swishing event, you bring an item of unwanted clothing, for which you are given a token that you can use to "buy" a garment that someone else no longer wants. Many local cafes, bars and town halls hold swishing events (check online and your local listings for details), but if you can't find one, why not hold one in your own home? Get your friends over, stock up on nibbles and bring your unwanted clothes to swap. Hey presto, a brand new outfit for free!

If you'd rather sell your unwanted garments than swap, you can, of course, sell your garments online. There are numerous websites that allow you to sell second hand clothes, and you can use the money you make to fund your next trip to the shops. Happy shopping!

All photos by Me, this post contains a supported link.


  1. I love thrifting. You can find such hidden gems

  2. Hi Dora

    I know right, it's amazing, you never know what your going to find :)

    Laura x

  3. You can find great stuff in charity shops! Super post

    Amy S x


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