I understand from my personal style clients that sometimes charity shopping can seem a bit daunting if you’re not a seasoned pro. So with the season transition on the approach and the shop floors switching into Autumn Winter mode I wanted to give you my Top Stylist Tips for nailing Autumn Winter 15 on a charity shop run.

 1)      BEGINNERS  – DON’T BROWSE

In some respects, if you’re unprepared, charity shopping can feel a little like shopping on Boxing day. For those who are not accustomed, I find it’s best to go at it with a clear idea of what you’re looking for in mind, to avoid feeling overwhelmed or unsure. So, decide on an outfit you need for an occasion and look firstly for a key piece you can build around. This key piece can either be from the charity shop or it can be from your existing wardrobe, and if this is the case be sure to bring it with you. The easiest place to start is the new AW season’s trends so here’s a helping hand with two of my favourites…’

Back to the Eighties’ – look out for shiny fabrics and powerful shoulders and bring them together for over the top drama.

 (Image: Balmain AW15 fashion show: Marie Claire.co.uk)

Geek Chic – look for elbow patched jumpers, varsity jackets, huge glasses, pleated skirts,  and pussy bow tops

(Image: Gucci AW15 fashion show: marieclaire.co.uk)

2) KEEP AN EYE OUT FOR THE GOLDEN RAIL

Right – not sure I should be sharing this but I’m going to anyhow! Because of the way the sorting is done in charity shops, more often than not the lovely volunteer staff will be well adept at curating and putting aside all of the best bits.  What this means is that you should keep a keen eye out for the golden chalice, the pirates treasure, the cherry on the top of your sundae…. of rails. Now I can’t promise it will always be there but in my experience there will often be a special rail somewhere on the floor with many of the best goodies on it. In some shops this will be a vintage rail and others it may have some fairly recent Stella McCartney on it (for example). Have a look for it on your first few visits and soon you’ll develop a knack for spotting it within minutes of entering the shop.

3) DONT TRY TO EMULATE AN ERA. Instead mix your eras – if you add a pair of retro 90’s high tops or sneakers to a cheeky little 60’s dress you’re going to look much less like you stepped out of your nan’s closet and more like an accomplished style maven. If you head over to the blog/Charityfashionlive.com you’ll find many more handy tips on styling second hand and vintage.

Dont forget to watch us recreate London Fashion Week Looks as they come out on the catwalk in our charity fashion live show. Just follow on twitter to watch on the 19th September!

Emma Slade Edmondson – Stylist  Xxx