The secondhand fashion challenge – completed it mate. If you take yourself back a couple of posts, you’ll remember that I challenged myself to shopping entirely secondhand for my clothing and I have to say it was a lot easier than I thought it was going to be considering I needed to buy a whole load of new clothes for the new job I recently started (I’m now a trainee property manager!)
Now I have to admit that I won’t be able to list out everything that I bought as I went a bit mental in terms of work clothes, but I thought this post was a great opportunity for me to share some of the amazing places I found to shop in North Hertfordshire. We’ve got a huge amount to choose from and it’s nice to have a place to weed out the shit to find the treasures!
Letchworth Garden City
I thought it best to start with my hometown, because everyone here will agree it’s full of coffee shops, Italian restaurants (I kid you not there are four down one road) and charity shops.
My new favourite has got to be Willow which recently opened a store down Leys Avenue – a charity shop with a difference and gives me more boutique than granny chic vibes (it’s also the first charity shop I’ve ever entered that doesn’t have that notable smell). They sell your usual finds as well as higher end/good quality items, I’ve seen everything from The White Company, Zara and Topshop to Ted Baker and Timberland (gutted I was skint when I saw a pair of boots in there) – not bad! I’d say their target market is the younger generation and you definitely get that feel when you walk in their store.
As well as Willow, you’ve got your staple shops including Scope which is a much smaller store, but has loads of decent high street finds and Garden House Hospice where you can find a wide range of furniture, board games and books. Further into the town centre (or the Garden Square) you’ve got the British Heart Foundation which has a huge range of books if you’re a book worm after your next best read.
Now Hitchin is another haven for secondhand shoppers with a wide range of stores from vintage shops to charity shops – all of your bases are covered, but I’m afraid there are too many to list all of the great ones and I’ll just be picking the highlights.
My favourite place here is a small back-alley vintage store called H-Town Rags which has the largest amount of vintage denim I’ve ever seen – it’s where I found my all time favourite Polo Ralph Lauren jacket for a mere £20! You’ve got jeans, jackets, shirts and dresses, as well as smaller non-denim items such as belts, bags and shoes – I also picked up a pair of burgundy Vans trainers in there which I’ve had for years now.
Cancer Research on the corner of the town square is a cute little boutique like shop with a range of clothing all from your standard items such as tops, jackets and trousers to the ball gowns and even wedding dresses on a lucky day!
The Fleetville Emporium is full of furniture and soft furnishings, clothing and hats – if Aaron and I are stuck for something to do on a weekend we love to head here and mooch at everything in this time capsule (he also loves to try on a top hat once in a while as I wouldn’t let him have one for our wedding 😂). I bought so many nik-naks for our wedding here and my all time favourite Coca-Cola clock in our kitchen was hung with pride once we picked it up here. Definitely recommend.
A final quick shout out to the other top vintage clothing stores that have a capsule of wardrobe items going back decades (and are a little pricier than the others but still full of gems!) – Jolly Brown Vintage and Rosita Lollipop.
Now there isn’t a huge amount of quality to go from here, but I have to highlight my new favourite place here as it’s a recent find – Cancer Research in Oakland Retail Park (next to B&M and opposite the Harvester). I popped in here following a recommendation from my Auntie Magi (she knows that I love a charity shop!) and boy did it come at the right time! I had just been offered this new job and needed a proper work wardrobe (I’ve always worked in smart/casual offices in the past) but only had a select few items that would do the trick. In comes this shop and I’m picking up items all over, everything in their clothing range was under £5 (I’m not sure if that’s a permanent thing) so I knew I’d be fine at the check out. I got three pairs of trousers, three skirts and a pair of Miss KG shoes, all coming in at a mere £17.
And to wrap up this post, I thought I’d head a bit further out and take you to Hertford – a quaint old town with an full of character and a perfect place to spend a Saturday of shopping.
Now Hertford isn’t somewhere I’ve frequented, however I did head over there with my Dad and Step Mum Fran for a good old shop before I started working at my new job and it didn’t disappoint. It’s a gorgeous little town with tonnes of charity shopping options, including a lot of higher end high street and designer pieces which you can find without looking too hard (although I did think I’d found a Ralph Lauren jacket and my keen eye found it was a fake – gutted). I can’t say I had a favourite as I think you need to head back there a few times, but based on my initial visit I loved everything in the Isabel Hospice shop as there were a lot of quality workwear, “going out” outfits and just a more boutique feel than the others (not to say the others didn’t feel like that too, but this felt that bit nicer).
And that’s it for now! There are a lot of great little towns in Hertfordshire and I’d definitely like to give them a visit to elaborate on this post, so please send me your recommendations and make sure to tell me if any of the above are places you love!
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