I'm a charity shop addict – I've got £15k of designer togs for £900 including a £600 Gucci for pounds, here's my tips

MUM-OF-TWO Darryl Baker, 34, from north London, is a charity shop fiend.

She hasn’t bought anything new since 2019 and instead spends up to 12 hours a week dragging her daughters, Blake, 23 months and Cole, nine weeks, around her local Sue Ryder and Oxfam.

But it’s worth it – among her top finds are a Marc Jacobs crossbody bag for a fiver, a silk Diane von Furstenberg dress for £4.50 and a Levi denim jacket for £4. 

"I’m always telling mates ‘oh it’s Gucci… from Oxfam!' Now I’ve totally given up on high street shops," she says.

"In total I’ve spent £900 over 11 months but it’s worth it, as I’ve saved more than £15k."

Now writer Daryl tells Fabulous how you can get designer goodies at bargain prices.

"I dress in Prada Style on Primark budget, all thanks to my charity shop obsession.  

"One man’s trash is another man’s treasure as the old saying goes, and if someone’s throwing out Gucci, Burberry or Marc Jacobs, I’ll happily take it to a loving new home. 

"I’m a dedicated thrifter and have always loved a good charity shop rummage, but popping into my locals became a near-daily activity while on maternity leave before the never-ending pandemic put a stop to my second-hand spending."

However, Darryl revealed: "There were designer goodies galore when the charity shops reopened. 

"I’m now on maternity leave for a second time, and spend up to two hours a day rifling through other people’s old clothes and bags.  

"In the past 11 months I’ve nabbed a Gucci Ophidia shoulder bag which originally cost £1.5k with a bonus Gucci ballpoint hiding inside worth £350, a Marc Jacobs crossbody bag worth £500 and three Burberry jackets worth £6k.

"Meanwhile I've also got a black hooded quilted Burburry puffer jacket worth £900, a white diamond quilted jacket (original cost £700) and the dream find, a Heritage Trench Coat worth £1,500."

Listing more of her charity shop steals, Darryl says: "In all I’ve found five Burberry jackets, worth a total of more than £6,000. I paid £225. The exact vintage Gucci bag I own is going for £600 on second-hand selling sites, with new ones retailing at £1,500. I got mine, plus the pen, for £25. The Marc Jacobs was a fiver. 

"It’s become a compulsion and I can’t fight the urge to walk to my high street and see what’s been put out – I genuinely don’t want anyone else snapping up the good stuff, the thought riles me.  

"My family and friends roll their eyes when I send them pictures of my latest finds, while my husband sings Macklemore’s Thrift Shop, so I set up an Instagram account (@charityshopbangers) to show off my bargains."

Sharing her tips, she reveals: "The key to not being duped into buying a fake is taking your time; don’t impulse buy and always research. Occasionally I’ll know something’s genuine straight away, other times I’ll leave it and pray to the charity shop gods the item’s still there if it’s the real deal. I once bought a Mulberry bag with a busted zip which I got fixed through Mulberry directly, proving its authenticity. 

"Of course, there are a lot of fakes out there too – I returned a Thom Browne sweatshirt after complaining it was a forgery and recently got excited by a Burberry nova check shirt which looked legit until I saw the cheap label inside the seam. Made in China is not a red flag, as even top labels outsource work there, but a cheap and flimsy tag definitely is.  

"Other trawled treasures in my collection include a Mulberry three piece suit which I bought for £30 originally worth £1,000, Escada jackets for £6 originally worth £650, a Diane von Furstenberg dress for £4.50 worth £250, Max Mara garments for £60 worth £750, Oscar de la Renta dresses for £50 worth £850, Levi and Calvin Klein denim jackets for £4 worth £100, smart Reiss tops for £3 worth £145 and multiple pieces from Jaeger for £10 worth £300. 

Top treasure finding tips

  • It’s all about area. Hit up charity shops in affluent places. 
  • Keep returning. Shops add new stock to their shelves daily. 
  • Really rummage. Burberry’s signature nova check is easily recognisable to staff, but other labels aren’t. Have a proper look at the tags for every garment you flick through. 
  • Take your time. Unless you’re a designer goods expert you won’t initially know what’s real and what’s fake. Thoroughly inspect the item then step aside to research it. There’s no shortage of videos and articles on how to spot a knock off, plus forums you can post photos to for an expert opinion. 
  • Don’t be disheartened. And keep it realistic! Moments of finding real treasure aren’t as few and far between as you might think, but a Gucci bag won’t be waiting for you every time you step foot in a charity shop.  

"Car boot sales are also a great place to dig for gold if you’ve got the patience to jump from stall to stall."

Her all-time favourite purchase, you ask? Darryl says: "A vintage Louis Vuitton bucket bag, with the serial number engraved into the leather, for £60 is my best booty find. 

"You can always tell with the straps of a Louis; the leather gets darker and mottled with age, while fakes never change colour. In fact, my entire designer bag collection, which also includes YSL, Givenchy and Fendi, is all pre-loved. 

"Aside from designer and high-end high street, I’m a sucker for old school ‘90s sportswear.

"I laugh at what people charge on websites like Depop for scruffy old Reebok and Adidas jumpers when you can pick them up for a couple of quid if you’re prepared to delve into the endless rails at charity shops."

For more real life stories, check out this woman who was a homeless single mum who couldn’t afford a loaf of bread & is now set to turnover £100k.

Plus lockdown nearly killed their fashion business but sisters Natalie Reynolds and Lexi Panayi are are making £600k a month selling face masks – and Sam Faiers is a fan.

And one woman gambled her life savings to set up a chalk paint business – now Frenchic is worth £16m.

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