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I get asked on a regular basis about charity shopping… people seem fascinated by the variety of clothes that can be gotten & want to know more so I have put together a guide to my most trodden charity shopping route in Dublin. I think this is a good route, it’s not too overwhelming & I would be very surprised if you finished the day empty-handed.
In Ireland we are limited with what is on offer in high street and independent stores, charity shopping gives you the opportunity to find clothes from all eras & parts of the world… an opportunity to pick pieces you really like rather than walking into a high street store & being told what you like. I have developed a lot more individuality & am a lot more sure of my personal taste since I started charity shopping as I am being given so many different options to choose from rather that what is ‘in fashion’ at the moment.
Heres a list of the shops I regularly visit on a Rathmines- Georges’s street route with a map above so you dont get lost
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St Vincents, Rathmines
[dropdown_box]This is the first shop I start in, its small enough but a gem or two can often be found. Vincent’s charity shops have an ‘elegance’ section in each of them where they section designer/high end high street pieces & price them a bit more… these sections are great if you are specifically looking for a dress for a special occasion. There tends to be a lot of cocktail & black tie dresses in these sections so next time you need a dress for a wedding, try charity, not coast!
I always pop into this shop as its en route but I rarely find anything worth mentioning in this. They have a decent coat & dress section but I just find the whole shop very muddled & uninspiring. The thing about charity shopping is that you can find a gem in any shop on any given day… but for some reason with this shop it just seems to never be my day!
Ugh, I would go so far as to say this is my least favorite charity shop in Dublin which is a shame as it is on my most trodden route. It’s just so… blah. There isn’t much of anything in the shop to begin with & they tend to sell multiples of most items, obviously from lines that have gone into liquidation who are kind enough to donate unsold items to charity, great for oxfam.. not so great for us buyers!
Irish cancer society, Rathmines
[dropdown_box]Ohhhh, this is my favorite shop on this route… I rarely leave this shop empty-handed & even though it is small, its well organised and stocks what seems a well picked, often replenished selection.
Before I left to go travelling nearly 3 years ago they would get unsold urban outfitters stock which was amazing, great looking clothes at a much more suitable price for the poor quality that they are! They no longer seem to get urban outfitters stock but the selection in this ICA is no less appealing these days.
This shop is great for everything except shoes (very small selection), it’s just well worth having a rummage & seeing what you stumble upon. There is quite a large book selection for the size of the shop & they house a lot of random children’s items & housewares as well as a heavy vintage section.. it’s a bit of a mish mash but manages to not feel too chaotic
Simon community, Camden Street
[dropdown_box]I have to say, this is one of those charity shops where I understand why people describe them as ‘smelly’… it has a musky scent that can be quite pungent which can affect one’s enjoyment of their day shopping!
Nevertheless, it is worth popping in as they have a great selection of dresses & jackets for women… I have found a good few gems in here over the years & it is another shop I would recommend if you are looking for a dress for a nice occasion.
The cake cafe
[dropdown_box]Ok, not a charity shop but all of this walking can make a gal peckish!
The cake cafe is a perfect spot to stop if you are in need of a caffeine, cake & kitsch fix at this point in the journey. It has been open for years & seems a lot more well knows these days so there may be a que for seating which is worth the wait… if you have the patience! A lovely gem hidden behind the daintree shop.. just walk through & you’re there.
Age action, Camden street
[dropdown_box]This was undoubtedly one of my favorite charity shops in Dublin but they have recently started lowering their clothing stock in favour of furniture and homewares… boo!! who needs a couch when you look this good!?
I have found some of my favorite pieces in here over the years, they have a great, reasonably priced vintage section & they are known to do 2 EUR clothes days including coats… now, you can’t argue with that!
Irish cancer society, Camden street
[dropdown_box]Not as good as it’s sister store in Rathmines but still worthy of your time..
This shop is small but can pack a punch, well organised as seems to be the trend in the ICA stores, they have a lot of what I can only describe as ‘trinkets’ in this store which often has me leaving with a brand new foundation or sunglasses… not what I was looking for per say but Im no less happy to have!
Debra, Camden street
[dropdown_box]These Debra charity shops are on a smaller scale, they have plenty of stock that seems to be well-chosen but actually, what I personally dislike about these shops is that the selection is veeeery girlie. Thats great news for a lot of you but I tend to go for a less feminine look that what this shop can supply me with.
Again, this shop would be great if you are looking to dress up for a special occasion & they have good selection of girlie belts & handbags.
Wa wa, Aungier street
[dropdown_box]Personally, I’m not a huge fan of this shop, I think, for the same reasons as I am not over excited by Debra… they are very heavy on the girlie theme in the shop which I suppose is good as it does feel like a nice (non-smelly!) charity shop to go into but I just don’t find much of anything that I like in here.
Vincent’s, Aungier street
[dropdown_box]The massive plastic red hangers that are an unfortunate trademark of Vincent’s stores are so useless they will make you want to tear your eyeballs out when they fall off the rack every time you touch a garment on it… you have been warned. actually, too late, I should have told you at the first Vincent’s in Rathmines!
This store is not the prettiest and is unlikely to be in keeping with any variation of feng shui but what it lacks in aesthetics it makes up for in content. You can find anything and everything clothing-wise in this store. They have a permanent sale rack & a small ‘elegance’ section so if you are feeling particularly flush or, particularly broke theres still something here for you!
[dropdown_box]Again, not a shop but, if you’re getting as hungry doing this route as I am just talking about it then you may need some light refreshments at this point… introducing, Simon’s place.
This is one of the few cafes that remains completely unchanged since my first memories of floating around town with friends as a young teenager… it’s not fancy, it’s not trendy, it doesn’t serve the latest fad in the food industry.. it just serves honest food, honest tea & has a lovely laid back atmosphere. Despite the millions of cafes on offer in the city centre, Simon’s place is where I always come back to, especially when Im out shopping alone.. try it, have a sandwich, get a side salad, its good
Enable Ireland, George’s street
[dropdown_box]I wouldn’t say this shop is specifically good for any particular item but just good for a browse… getting this close to town means there is a big increase in footfall, this is great as the stock is more regularly replenished but means that unless you had it in you to be checking every day, you are no-doubt going to miss some budget beautys (the prospects of which is always heart breaking!)
St Vincents, George’s street
[dropdown_box]This hasent been around as long as the other well established charity shops either side of it but it has enough substance to contend. It feels larger than the others with a high ceiling (faaaaancy) and a half second floor where the men’s clothing lives. They seem to take pride in their handbag selection which is displayed behind the till and the variety of other items on offer is impressive. This shop seems to lack the other ‘tat’ than can often be housed in charity shops & distract a shopper from the job at hand.
Oxfam, Georges street
[dropdown_box]This Oxfam is always busy, they have a great vintage section which a little pricier but there is some beautiful stuff to be found in it & still a lot more reasonably priced than comparable dresses in high street stores. They also have a bridal section that you need a booking to access but, is no doubt worth a visit if you are planning that big day. The rest of the clothes they have are pretty uninspiring & there’s not a huge selection.
This shop tends to err on the side of ‘more is more’ when it comes to the air fresheners and while this is vaguely better than the musk from the Simon shop I was going on about, it’s actually so strong that I feel I can smell it as I type… haunted by it (and so will be any clothes you purchase from them!)
some quick charity shopping tips:
- Don’t just buy something because it is designer or a high street brand you like. This is a mistake I made a lot at the start but choosing exactly what you like is the best thing about charity shopping so relish & don’t be sucked in by brands.
- Take risks, there’s no better time to do it than when the clothes cost less than a sandwich & the money is going to a good cause anyway… some of the items I have bought on a whim have turned out to be my most treasured possessions.
- It’s not a bad idea to bring some cotton bags in your handbag, some charity shops can be short on carrier bags.
- If theres something that you really love but it is too big/too long consider getting it altered, a brilliant quality suit bought in a charity shop & then professionally altered to your shape will be tailor-made to you for a fraction of the price.
- If you see a dress you love but have that ‘but I have nowhere to wear it to’… buy it. Next time a wedding or special occasion comes around you will already have the perfect outfit & wont need to spend time running around town in a panic or forking out a ridiculous amount for something you may only wear once.
- Bring cash, they aint interested in anything else.
time needed for this route:
3-4 hours (excluding coffee breaks but, wheres the fun in that!)
Amount of money needed:
Realistically, if you were going with an open mind & are happy to buy anything that you really liked I would say €60 would allow pretty much free rein from one end of this route to another
(photo courtesy of www.beafashionshark.com)