We went Christmas shopping in Chortlon charity stores – here are the best bargain festive outfits we found

It’s December and for many that means drinks with friends, celebrations with family on Christmas Day, or a party on New Years Eve.

While the festive season is always a great excuse to get dressed up in anything glittery, velvety or Rudolph-y, it isn’t necessarily the best time to buy new.

As parties and gatherings are being booked and held quite last minute this year, many people will be dithering about whether Christmas will be cancelled.

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They should consider a trip to the charity shops of Chorlton – where festive season is certainly in full swing.

Not only do the shops have fabulously festive jumpers, velvet dresses and spangled tops in stock, but excellent ideas for Christmas gifts too.

As we sneak into the week of the big day, we all know how we’ll be spending it and regardless of being surrounded by friends, family or just a cat, it should always be spent wearing something fun.

From Christmas jumpers to Y2K disco pants, the Chorlton charity shops have it all.

Oxfam, Wilbraham Road

The sparkly options at Oxfam in Chorlton
The sparkly options at Oxfam in Chorlton

The Oxfam on Wilbraham Road not only has some wonderful Oxfam only present options including ethical chocolate, Moomin merchandise and a cracking selection of cards, but some great festive fashion choices.

If a velvet dress is your look, they have it. If a glittered faux fur jacket is what you’re after, head on down. Maybe you want to shimmer in gold? Then you know where to go.

Slow fashion, ethical and secondhand shopping is fast becoming a new normal.

Data from eBay in 2020 showed that more than 900 double-decker buses of wares had been saved from landfill after consumers made the decision to shop secondhand.

Meanwhile, many people de-cluttering during the lockdowns meant a lot more stock for the local charity shops.

RSPCA Manchester and Salford Branch, Wilbraham Road

Vintage options are available at RSCPA Chorlton
Vintage options are available at RSCPA Chorlton

The RSPCA shop has some wonderful festive options in store.

From a vintage gold top to a range of little black dresses and of course, Christmas jumpers they have great options for all events over Christmas.

The store also has some wonderful designer handbags and collectable, retro Christmas crockery up for grabs.

Tiffany Fishleigh, the manager of the Chorlton branch of RSPCA shop said that she had seen an increase in people popping to the charity shops for their festive fashion.

What's Christmas without a festive jumper?
What’s Christmas without a festive jumper?

She said: “There’s been a few ladies buying little sparkly dresses, and we’ve found our donations have been higher end.

“People are trying to buy cheap.

“Even me and my partner have been going around the charity shops for little gifts.”

Louis Taylor, the deputy shop manager agreed saying: “It’s shopping for a good cause and it makes you feel good.

“Last year I did 80 percent of my shopping in the Chorlton charity shops.”

British Red Cross, Wilbraham Road

It's glitter and velvet at British Red Cross
It’s glitter and velvet at British Red Cross

While this British Red Cross store focuses more on furniture than fashion, there were still some great bargains to be had.

A comical Christmas t-shirt which read ‘Banta Claus’ and an array of glittered tops priced at £4, perfect for those Zoom quizzes when you’ve definitely got your Christmas Eve pyjama bottoms on.

The British Red Cross also has a fabulous selection of winter jackets in, including some super toasty wool coats at a fraction of retail cost.

Charity shops have always been known to be good value for money, and despite struggling during the lockdowns, they are coming back stronger than ever.

Extended closures of charity shops over the last two years have meant that many have more stock than usual but are also seeing more people through their doors with the demand for charity shop services having steadily increased – even pre pandemic.

The Charity Retail Association released figures in November of this year which suggest that income of charity shops is up almost seven percent than before the pandemic.

Sue Ryder, Wilbraham Road

Elegant and chic or fun and festive? The answer is Sue Ryder
Elegant and chic or fun and festive? The answer is Sue Ryder

If snazzy is the vibe you’re after with your winter wears, then Sue Ryder should have you covered.

Despite the manager explaining that their whole rail of glitzy dresses and Christmas jumpers have already flown off of the shelves, there were still some excellently festive options in this shop.

The burgundy suit would impress at any New Years Eve party, while the snowman dress is sure to get a giggle out of friends.

Tony Millward, the store manager, believes that due to the pandemic, the business of charity shops have been booming.

He said: “Around September, I pulled out all of the sparkly bits and then put the rail out, it all went.

“I think people want to stay local.

“Since the pandemic, the shop has got a lot more [stock], women’s wear especially.

“It was weird last year, we had four weeks of December and closed right after.

“We’re going from strength to strength now.”

Reach Out to the Community, Wilbraham Road

'Merry Whatever', play it like the Grinch
‘Merry Whatever’, play it like the Grinch

Perhaps you’re looking for something a little more modern, a little more up to date with current trends.

Then Reach Out to the Community has what you’re after.

From an iconic Y2K disco trouser and top set, which could have been a Spice Girl’s dream, to ironically proving that you hate Christmas in a Grinch jumper, it’s the modern way to be festive.

The Chorlton charity shops all have a fantastic range of festive fashion to choose from, staying local and shopping cheaply and ethically is just a bonus at this time of year.

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