By Sara Chudzik
At the start of the academic year everyone wants to look their best. However, after spending all our money on festivals and holidays throughout the summer most of us are broke. So, when you enter any clothes shop, you leave with your head hung low after checking price tags. Spending money on the latest trends would mean no food or no social life. What’s a poor student to do?
If you find yourself in this predicament we have the answer: second hand shops. A new world opens before you. It doesn’t have to be like this. You too can dress to impress, feed yourself and afford a night out with friends.
Good times lie ahead. So what do you need to know if you’re a charity shop virgin? Galway has many. Merchant’s Road is a goldmine with St. Vincent de Paul’s Curiosity Shop, Irish Cancer Society Shop and Retro Revival – a vintage shop. Nearby on St. Augustine St (also known as the road to Charlie Byrne’s) there’s COPE Galway Charity Shop. These are full of funky shirts and skirts, woolly jumpers and statement coats. You’ll be able to find good brands for a good price. Most pieces are around five euros or less.
Vintage shops are also great for warm and fashionable knitwear. As well as Retro Revival in Galway City there’s Public Romance and Nine Crows. However, these ones tend to be more expensive than charity shops. But don’t fret, every now and again the Student Union organise a vintage kilo sale where you can buy clothes for cheaper still. Also, in the past the Galway Feminist Collective has organised a charity clothes swap, giving you the chance to clean out your wardrobe, get new clothes and support a great cause.
There are a few things to keep in mind before you embark on this adventure. Sometimes it’s hard to spot something, so you’ll need both patience and imagination. Remember to keep your mind open! Charity shops are great for finding statement pieces. A good tip for girls is to venture out into the men’s section, especially in vintage shops.
Finally, charity shopping will get you those ethical brownie points. You are supporting local charities that so many people depend on, and you are saving the planet by reusing the clothes. So, there you go, dress well and save money – all with a clean conscience.