Where do I find stylish second-hand clothes?

With vintage departments appearing in the bigger branches of high street chains like Top Shop, discovering snazzy second-time-around clothes is becoming far more competitive.

A number of charity shops have a reputation for stocking quality items (e.g. Oxfam Originals and the Notting Hill Housing Trust).

Textile Recycling for Aid and International Development TRAID

Another charity collector, TRAID, gives a second-life to unwanted goods. Its staff sort through the clothing put in the TRAID textile banks, picking out quality clothes that can then be customized by its designers and sold in its shops. TRAID divides its funds between providing emergency aid and supporting sustainable projects overseas. For a list of the hippest charity shops in town, contact TRAID.

Charity tips

The secret to finding good value, right-sized items is to visit charity shops regularly. Most of us have too many clothes – which is why so many garments are left outside charity shop doorways or put into textile banks – because we buy more than we need and discard clothing when it still has a useful life.

If you decide to give your wardrobe a makeover by handing unwanted clothes and shoes to a charity shop, promise yourself that when you replace those gaps in the wardrobe you will buy only good quality, well-made, second-hand or fair-trade items (see People Tree, Gossypium and the Friends of the Earth Shop).

This is an extract from Save cash & save the planet.