‘I got a €300 Brown Thomas jacket for a fiver’, says thrift shop bargain hunter

Charity clothes shops are full of hidden bargains – once you know where to look, according to a sustainable shopper.

arah Magliocco, originally from Galway but based in Phibsboro, has been buying second hand and vintage clothing for most of her life.

She recently bought a black coat from a charity shop for a fiver, which retailed at €300 in Brown Thomas.

“There’s a massive financial benefit, things in the charity shop are way cheaper,” she said. “Everyone loves a bargain, so if you can get something that’s more affordable, why wouldn’t you?”

Sarah believes you can get more out of your money by going to charity shops, thrift stores, flea markets and car boot sales.

“A lot of trends now are things from the ‘80s or ‘90s and you can get them secondhand, you don’t have to shop on the high street to be trendy,” she said.

“You can find pieces that are more original and more interesting. It’s a really enjoyable experience too, there’s a treasure hunt aspect to it.

“I’ve made some major finds. Like I wanted a plain black coat, so I nabbed one in a charity shop for a fiver. Then I looked up the brand and it’s carried in Brown Thomas and is worth about €300.

“You don’t know what’s going to be in there when you go in, but if you want branded stuff, you should think about different areas in Dublin.

“Some places are known for having more designer pieces than others. Dún Laoghaire is an area I’d go to a lot, they’ve a lot of charity shops within walking distance of each other.”

Sarah also has some practical tips for seeking out the best bargains.

“When you can look at an individual piece in a shop, Google the label, it could be valuable,” she said.

“Know your fabrics too. Nylon and polyester are produced from oil and plastic, they’re super cheap so they’re usually associated with fast fashion items.

“Natural fibres mean the piece could be of much higher value and good quality, like leather, wool, cashmere, silk, linen and organic cotton,” she added.


Sarah Magliocco found a €300 Brown Thomas jacket on sale for a fiver in a charity shop

She went through a phase after finishing college where she’d use her paycheck to buy fast fashion items, but she realised she was losing her identity by doing so.

“I’ve always been interested in second hand and vintage clothing. My mum always shopped in charity shops when I was a kid, I remember going through the rails with her and picking my own bits.

“When I was a teenager, I started a blog about vintage clothing and that was my first-time making content when I was about 14.

“Then I started my first job after college, that’s when online shopping became more prominent.

“I found myself getting attached to the buzz of ordering from fast fashion sites online. I’d love the pay day feeling of clicking ‘buy now’.

“But there was something about these clothes, they were way limper than the clothes I bought in the past. I felt I lost my personal sense of style to trends too and I was paying more to not feel like myself.

“Then I looked into the impact fast fashion was having on the world, so I moved back into shopping sustainably. I’ve never felt more like myself while spending less.”

Sarah says people should adjust their mindsets and give sustainable shopping a chance – which could ultimately lead you to saving money in the long run.

“I went through a phase myself thinking that shopping secondhand was some type of marker of wealth or status, but I think you have to adjust your mindset.

“Sustainable fashion is one of the leading trends, people in Gen Z are saying sustainability is one of the contributing reasons as to why they buy things.

“It’s important to keep the cycle turning and donate to charity shops. Fashion follows a really linear pathway at the moment, so donating makes it a more sustainable cycle.”

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