A personal stylist and avowed shopaholic has fulfilled her New Year’s resolution to buy only clothes from charity shops in 2022, saving around £1,550, while continuing to collect her beloved designer labels.
Lindsay Edwards, 37, from Biggleswade in Bedfordshire, even takes her clients to charity shops to help them find the latest deals, showing them that a stylish wardrobe doesn’t always have to come with a huge price tag.
She became a personal stylist in 2019, but just a few months after becoming self-employed, lockdown hit, so she decided to skimp on her shopping habits and scour used clothes online.
Despite not caring whether things are designer or not, Lindsay loves bargains and so far, she’s picked up pieces ranging from a Ralph Lauren sweater to a Tommy Hilfiger vest and a Jaeger trench coat.
Since shopping secondhand over the past year, Lindsay has opened her eyes to sustainability and thinks that when she’s shopping for clothes, the charity shops will always be her first port of call.
Lindsay was 21 when she had her first child with her husband of 14 years, Ryan Edwards, 41, and has always prioritized work that she could fit into being a parent to her sons, Jake, 16, and Chris , 12.
Lindsay saw a personal stylist in 2008, two years after Jake was born, and later wanted to become a personal stylist herself, but it wasn’t until her kids were older that she realized she wanted to make a career change.
She said: ‘I had kids when I was quite young – I had Jake when I was 21, and I found myself working in a way that would allow me to be with him as much as possible.
“I just thought, I’d really like to do something that’s creative and can help someone else the way it helped me when I saw a personal stylist myself, because it’s been so transformative and so much fun.
“I just thought, if I could do anything, that’s really what I’d like to do.”
Lindsay has been training as a personal stylist since March 2018 with a company called Color Me Beautiful, and began making appointments in the evenings and weekends while working full-time at a college helping students find jobs in the childcare sector.
In January 2019, she decided to take the leap and turned in her college notice to become a full-time personal stylist, saying, ‘It got to the point where I couldn’t do both anymore and I really needed to make up my mind. .
“I noticed very quickly that I was working fewer hours but making more money – it’s just a dream, isn’t it?”
Just a few months later the pandemic hit, limiting her finances and preventing her from seeing any of her clients face-to-face.
She said: “I started working online with clients and had to cut my costs as a result, which is why I started shopping more from charity shops, online through Oxfam, even on second hand sites like Vinted and eBay.
“And then, once the stores reopened, I enjoyed it so much that I said that in the future I will continue to buy pre-loved clothing rather than fast fashion in 2022.
“I made a New Year’s resolution in January to only shop at charity shops this year and saved an absolute fortune.”
Since switching to charity shopping, Lindsay expects to have spent just £200 by the end of this year, up from £1,800 in previous years.
So far this year Lindsay has spent £179.70 at various charity shops, buying 23 items of clothing worth an estimated £1116.98.
One was a Ralph Lauren sweater for £18, which still sells online for £150, a Tommy Hilfiger waistcoat for £12, with similar items currently selling for £175, and a Jaeger trench coat for £15, valued at £300.
Lindsay has also sourced clothes for her children, such as Nike tops, saying: ‘My children recognize that there can be some really great bargains, and they’re not averse to wearing something that’s been bought from a charity shop.
“I put it in the washing machine and it’s like new when it ends up in their wardrobe.”
Before making the switch, Lindsay was a self-confessed shopaholic, saying, “I think we all get that dopamine hit in the beginning by going to the shops. Well, you can get it wherever you shop.
“I think you get a bigger dopamine hit for getting a bargain from a charity shop.”
Lindsay then set about showing her customers how to shop more affordably and sustainably and, in January 2022, completed her Fashion Sustainability Certificate with the London College of Style.
She said: “I talk about charity shops with them and the ways they can alter their own clothes. It’s simple things like using Dylon, an eco-friendly dye costing just around £7 that you can dye multiple garments with.
“I’m also talking about introducing key pieces that will freshen up many other pieces in their wardrobe.
“So it’s not just about going out and buying a bunch of new clothes.
“I also tell them to see what you can get from the charity shops, things like picking up scarves or necklaces or belts that are low-cost items, but they really freshen up the clothes you already have.”
After completing her New Year’s resolution to only buy clothes from charity shops, Lindsay explained how it changed her shopping habits forever.
“If I see something in a store that isn’t already loved, overall it will be a sustainable decision – I use the Good On You app to see how sustainable a brand is.
“But I’d rather check out a charity shop first to see what I can find – that’s my default now.”