Every now and again I realise I’m beginning to feel like a real-world advert for my favourite stores. It’s not just clothes either; I don’t know about you but I tend to buy stuff like bedding, nick nacks and scatter cushions from the same places as well, so my home ends up with something of a brand flavour to it too. While it’s great to have a selection of ‘go-to’ labels that work for you, it’s also important to refresh your style every now and then, and finding new, exciting ways to shop is one effective means to shake things up. I’ve had a think, and come up with 7 creative shopping solutions to help keep your look interesting and original.
You’d be amazed at the kind of things you can pick up at an auction: everything from jewellery to cars, to designer vintage clothing and antique furniture gets sold under the hammer. If you decide to check out this creative shopping solution, I suggest you go with a very strict budget in mind – it’s all too easy to get lured into a bidding war and if you haven’t set your spending limits firmly enough, you may end up handing over a month’s salary for a porcelain figurine you didn’t even want in the first place.
2. Flea Markets
Flea markets are a fun way to shop. True, a lot of the stuff on sale is bound to be a load of junk, but if you dig with enough perseverance, you’ll be stunned at the kind of trophies you’ll find lurking amongst the clutter.
3. Charity Shops
Okay, so this might be a little ‘off the beaten track’ for you, but trust me, charity shops are packed with potential retail gems. As with the flea market, it’s going to be necessary to do some digging. And yes, there is the possibility that after you’ve waded through the half-full colouring-in books and old trainers, you may come out empty-handed. But, there’s also always the chance you’ll stumble upon a vintage Gaultier suit (as a friend of mine did) on sale for the price of a bag of crisps … Given those odds, I’d roll up my sleeves and get rummaging every time.
4. Internet Boutiques
While internet shopping is hardly a creative way to go about buying your stuff, it is true that most of us tend to stick to a few big online stores. Branch out: there’s a ton of fab little boutiques out there, all of them selling specialist products ideal for adding a little ‘oomph’ to your look. That said, however, it’s also important to remember to stick to reputable sites, and to avoid anything that looks like it might not be totally legit.
5. Antiques Shops
I was a little undecided about whether or not to include this one – not all of us can afford antique store price tags. It can be fun just to browse though, and you can use the stock in this kind of upmarket shop as inspiration when you’re somewhere a little more cost-effective and considering your next purchase.
6. Go Vintage
Vintage can be absolutely amazing, but, uinfortunately, it can also be overpriced and disappointing. I’ve found the key is to identify a good shop and stick to it. Don’t force yourself to buy from a boutique if you’re not sure the purchase is right for you. It’s useful to remember that your response to a vintage shop depends largely on the person sourcing the stock: if his or her style gels with yours, then you know you’ve found a winner. If not, it’s best to move along.
7. Junk Shops
In the same way that it’s often possible to buy great vintage pieces for practically nothing from a charity shop, you will also regularly find fab antique items lurking amongst the clutter on junk shop shelves. Give this kind of shopping a chance; it can be fun, and, as with all the ideas on this list, you never quite know what you might find.
Each of these alternatives to ordinary commercial retail requires quite a lot of rummaging and perseverance, and I recognise this might not be everyone’s cup of tea. It’s certainly not the kind of shopping you can do in your lunch break, but in a sense, that’s what’s so rewarding about it. This list of 7 creative solutions is directed at those of you who truly love the shopping experience; do you ladies have anything to contribute
Top Photo Credit: John Schanlaub