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Bargain hunt: London’s 10 best charity shops

Posted at 11:15 am, July 14, 2012 in Secret London, Shopping & Style
Charity Shop

Everyone likes a cheeky bargain and it’s even better when you’re helping a worthy cause. We all have a quick rummage in the local charity shop but more often than not leave empty handed and end up going to Topshop to spend a week’s wages instead. To help you avoid the splurge, our Time Out shopping team have scoured London’s charity shops to find the top ten places you’re most likely to find an item you’ll be talking about for the rest of the year. Carly-Ann Clements

1. Best for high fashion Retromania
Best buy: 1960s Christian Dior bubblegum pink shift dress, £300.
Who shops: Florence Welch snaps up trademark whimsical frocks here; Joanna Lumley wore a Retromania pinstriped suit during her famous Ghurka press conference.
Who drops: Laurence Olivier once donated his entire ’20s-’40s jazz collection.

2. Best for homewares YMCA Boutique
Best buy: Dolce & Gabbana heels, £34.99.
Who shops: First-time homeowners looking to furnish their new pad on a budget.
Who drops: Moneyed locals who’ve tired of their Ercol dining table.

3. Best for childrenswear Fara Kids
Best buy: Large wooden cot, £65.
Who shops: Local yummy mummies with an eye for a bargain.
Who drops: Former pram-pushers with fastgrowing Archies and Amelies.

4. Best for sofas British Heart Foundation Furniture and Electrical
Best buy: Large dark wood Welsh dresser, £60.
Who shops: Sofa-less students in need of a lounging facility.
Who drops: Donations come from all over the capital, so it’s pot luck.

5. Best for high street seconds Salvation Army W1
Best buy: Black Jaeger court patent heels, £18.
Who shops: In-the-know fashion hunters looking for a bargain.
Who drops: The store is a few stiletto clops from Vogue House, and this is where its editors drop last season’s cast-offs.

6. Best for records and books Oxfam Dalston
Best buy: Shiny red bike in perfect condition, £80.
Who shops: Todd Hart, record junkie behind the Dalstonoxfamshop blog.
Who drops: Local hipsters who’ve finally tidied their room.

7. Best for board games Salvation Army SE8
Best buy: Barely worn black suede four-inch Topshop ankle boots, £2.
Who shops: Game boys and girls.
Who drops: Deptford locals having a clear out now the kids have left home.

8. Best for shabby chic All Aboard
Best buy: Glass cakestand, £5.
Who shops: Chintz-loving decorators.
Who drops: North Londoners sorting through granny’s flat.

9. Best for designer cast-offs Cancer Research SW10
Best buy: Tommy Hilfiger striped shirt, £20.
Who shops: Made in Chelsea types who’ve fallen on hard times.
Who drops: This is Madonna and Gwyneth Paltrow’s stomping ground. So we hope it’s them.

10. Best for workwear British Red Cross SW3
Best buy: Vintage umbrella, £20.
Who shops: Working women who like to save their pounds for their weekend wardrobe.
Who drops: Time poor businesswomen who find donating clothes quicker than dry-cleaning them.

For more of London’s best charity shops, see timeout.com.

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