5 Top Tips For Charity Shopping By Second-Hand Style Expert Paloma In Disguise

5 Top Tips For Charity Shopping By Second-Hand Style Expert Paloma In Disguise

Hannah Elliman, aka blogger Paloma in Disguise, knows everything there is to know about second-hand shopping. Here, she shares her top tips – and some of her favourite #FoundInOxfam buys


I began second-hand shopping at a young age. I’d been to London for the day and somehow ended up in the vintage corner of a high street shop. From that moment on, I was obsessed.

I loved that not all the items were the same. The clothes seemed so much more sparkly, more unique and more exciting.

I just didn’t know what I was going to find. When I went home, I searched for my local second-hand shops – one of them was Oxfam.

On my first trip I bought a paisley ‘90s dress. Next it was an oversized shirt, then a black shoulder bag with cherries on. Before I knew it, I had a wardrobe full of Oxfam. Years on and not much has changed!

As well as being creative and fun, another thing I love about charity shopping is that it means you can be a bit more eco. 38 million new items of clothing are bought each week in the UK and 11 million items end up in landfill. By shopping second-hand we can reduce waste and stop incredible clothes, which took time, craftmanship and resources to make, going to landfill unnecessarily.

Another thing I love about charity shopping is that it means you can be a bit more eco

So, without further ado, I thought I’d share my best tips for making second-hand shopping a breeze. And here they are…

5 Top Tips For Charity Shopping By Second-Hand Style Expert Paloma In Disguise

Tip 1: Visit often

The nature of charity shops, you never know when someone your size, with a great wardrobe, has dropped off a whole load of loveliness. The more you visit, the more likely you are to find things. By going fairly often (read: a lot!)
I’ve found an embellished top for New Year’s Eve, a black midi dress convenient for every single day of my life, and a glitterball of a jumper that dresses up even the most casual outfits. The term ‘right place, right time’ was invented for charity shopping, I’m sure!

Tip 2: Don’t forget the accessories

I should listen to my own advice here. I’m first to the rail of dresses in all charity shops. It’s like I’m on a mission – and that mission is to rummage through Every Single Dress. Before I know it, it’s time to leave and I walk straight out past the basket FULL of bargain belts.
When I’ve had my eye on the ball I’ve found amazing belts, necklaces and bags over the years that are a fraction of their original price. Charity shop bargains at their absolute best.

Tip 3: Try a little DIY…

Sometimes, charity shopping can be daunting in that it’s unlikely you’re going to find exactly what you’re after.
However, that doesn’t stop you buying something similar and adapting it a little. Hems can be taken up and waistbands can be taken in.
One of my most-worn Oxfam dresses was a denim button front dress which was originally so long that I would have had a denim train had I left it. After cutting the hem off to suit me better, it’s still the dress I go to for a little effortless, comfortable dressing.

Tip 4: Be open-minded

Another thing I’m a repeat offender of. Someone will tell me they picked something up from Oxfam. Next time I’m in there, I will be scouting out for that particular item. Chances are, it won’t be there!
By looking for specific items, you can miss things that, with a little thought, can be slotted into your wardrobe perfectly.
By trying on a few pieces you wouldn’t normally go for, and thinking up a few outfits to incorporate them into, you can find new favourites you could’ve missed.

Trying on a few pieces you wouldn’t normally go for – you can find new favourites

Tip 5: Go with a friend

This tip goes with Tip 4. I find that by shopping with a friend, I am more open to trying things I wouldn’t have tried had I been mooching around by myself. By discussing items I’m unsure of, my friends can often provide outfit combinations I wouldn’t have thought of, or prompt me to try on clothes I may have dismissed. It’s usually these things I end up loving that little bit more.


And that’s it. Five charity shopping tricks I always use to ensure I don’t miss any second-hand bargains. I wish you good luck as you scour the shops for those hidden gems!


Enjoyed Hannah’s top tips? Put them into practice – head to your local Oxfam or shop online!


And to read more from Hannah, check out her Instagram

0% goes to landfill

0% goes to landfill

Reuse, reuse, reuse. And when you can’t reuse – recycle with Oxfam


In the UK, 11 million items of clothing go to landfill every week. It’s an alarming trend that’s harming our planet. But we can all do a little bit to help.

If we all donate our unwanted clothes to charity, instead of chucking them in the bin, we’d save an estimated 300,000 tonnes of textiles from going to landfill every year. And just think of the money that those items could raise for great causes.

When you donate clothes to Oxfam, they could go a lot further than your local Oxfam shop. We’ve been recycling clothes since 1974 when Wastesaver – our textiles recycling centre – first opened its doors. It’s the only one of its kind. And where your clothes could go to continue their journey if they don’t sell. Our team of second hand experts are on hand, ready to sort through your donations to decide on the best possible place for them to go.

  • Items that stand out, like a sparkly jumpsuit or denim jacket, could end up in one of our festival shops or in Oxfam’s online shop.
  • And as for your jeans, t-shirts or any items that are too worn out to be rehomed, they might be sold to be turned into industrial cleaning cloth, mattress filling or carpet underlay. All raising money to help beat poverty.
  • Your old bras and summer clothing could be sent on to Frip Ethique – an Oxfam-run social enterprise in Senegal. Most of the workers are women, who sort and sell clothes donated to Oxfam to local market traders. It’s a great way for them to earn a living which means they can afford healthcare and send their children to school.
  • We’ve also got a team of super crafty volunteers, who handpick items to upcycle before they’re sold. They’ve been known to transform doilies into bunting, blankets into bags and pom poms into jackets.

Wherever your clothes end up, we’re proud to say it certainly won’t be in landfill.

So if you’re about to have an end of summer sort-out – help people and planet by bagging up what you can’t reuse and pop it down to your local Oxfam shop.



Photo credit: Bekki Frost/Oxfam

5 Reasons to Volunteer at the New Oxfam Superstore

5 Reasons to Volunteer at the New Oxfam Superstore

The superstore will open its doors to the public on Saturday 7th September, take part of the ambitious new venture.


5 reasons to volunteer at the new Oxfam superstore:


1 – You will make a difference. Experience a real feeling of achievement and discover the direct impact your time spent volunteering produces in the world.

2- You’ll be part of an exciting new community project right from the start. Just a few hours a week at the superstore will give you the chance to learn new skills, share your passion and make new friends.


3- You will be given all necessary training & support and will gain nationally recognised retail qualifications.
4- It’s open to anyone. Whether you’re a fashion enthusiast, a lover of literature or whatever your skills or interests, there is a volunteer role to match. Read the story of Odile who volunteered at the Oxfam boutique shop in Westbourne to find out more.
5- Sometimes some celebrities visit Oxfam’s Shops!

The new Superstore is different, here is why:


  • It’s bigger! It will sell second-hand clothes, shoes, homewares, books, music, furniture but also products from the ‘Sourced By Oxfam’ range of brand new ethically sourced gift and homewares.
  • It has an on-site café, housed in an Oxfam water tank
  • Interactive workshops, activities and talks will take place regularly in-store
  • There is a drive-through donation point
  • There is free parking



Join Oxfam’s volunteer community

WATCH: Second Hand September at Glastonbury

WATCH: Second Hand September at Glastonbury

Whether you bagged tickets to Worthy Farm or watched from the comfort of your living room – Glastonbury is one of the biggest moments of the summer. And where thousands of people pledged to help people and planet.


Glastonbury 2019 was a scorcher. And whilst it was fun in the sun – the soaring temperatures were a stark reminder of why this world-famous festival had put a huge emphasis on sustainability. And why we took our Second Hand September campaign to Worthy Farm.

We’re facing a climate emergency. Yet the global textile industry that make and produce our clothes is proving more polluting than aviation and shipping combined – creating 8% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions.

Saying no to new clothes for 30 days is just one, easy way to be more planet-friendly and help reduce your carbon footprint. So our amazing campaigners were out in force meeting fun-loving festival-goers, thousands of you joined Second hand September and our festival shops were buzzing with second hand steals.

Together we’re bringing down the demand for new by reusing, rewearing and recycling clothes. And that’s amazing.




Hole In Your Jeans? Try This Easy Upcycling Trick!

Hole In Your Jeans? Try This Easy Upcycling Trick!

Learn how to transform worn denim in a matter of minutes


Keeping and wearing clothes for longer is a great way to lessen their eco impact. But what if they’re too damaged or worn?

Often, some simple upcycling is all you need. Take that hole in your jeans. Denim embellishment continues to be a big trend this summer, so try this simple patching technique.

All you need is a pair of scissors, some pins, coloured thread and a denim or fabric patch. Result? A stylish and unique look that will have you loving your jeans for longer.

As part of Second Hand September, we’ll bring you more styling and upcycling tips, to make saying no to new for 30 days a breeze.

Got the embellishment bug? From jeans to jackets and skirts, you can find loads more denim to make your own on Oxfam Online Shop.

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