stories behind charity shop clothes

This post is going the day after my end of year exams/mocks have finished so it is fitting to mention that it was actually intended to go up during Fashion Revolution week and be a twist on a clothing ‘love story‘. But, as you can clearly see, the post didn’t quite come into fruition until today. It did, however, mean I got to take some nice photos outside to coincide with the photos I had already taken.

Whenever I buy clothing from charity shops I always wonder what the story behind the piece I’ve bought is. Why did someone give it away? When did they buy it? How long did they own it for? So… here are a few of the stories I’ve given to my charity shop buys. I’d like to think of it as a love story before that item of clothing became my clothing love story.


Sooo, I’m actually kind of cheating with this first item in that it isn’t actually from a charity shop but a hand-me down from my mum. These gingham trousers have appeared a few times on my blog (like last summers post about my ethical fashion journey thus far) and multiple times on my Instagram and I am stunned at how many people love them. Not that I don’t love them myself, but I didn’t realise quite how cool my mum’s style was before I donned these trousers. The story behind them? Well, for once I can give you the real answer, these were bought in France about fourteen years ago along with a striped jumper that my mum has also handed to be but I’ve yet to wear online, but again it is pretty cool. As she recalls, it was a happy memory, a garment to mark the place and one that has passed its happiness onto me. I love wearing them as I feel as though I’m wearing a memory and I can trace it back to its roots. I’m bringing this gingham wonder on my trip to Stockholm so it’s fitting – there will be another story to tell behind this piece.



I bought a striped dress a few years ago in one of my local charity shops, which are may I add surprisingly fruitful, and I love wearing it on the balmy summer days and into the evening with a cardigan or hoody. Originally from H&M, it was only after I’d worn it a few times that I remarked the hemline had been changed. The sewing, it was hand done, was pretty much perfect and I therefore concluded that despite the sewers efforts to change the dress in order to suit their preferences, it still wasn’t quite right. So that could be the reason why they gave it away, or it may have been too short, it’s short for me and I’m only 5ft 3. It seemed almost new when it came into my possession so my powers of abductive reasoning may be right. I hope that whoever gave it away found a replacement stripy dress that they love as much as I love this one, either that or they don’t regret giving this dress away.


When I wear this dress to college (the greenish black one with flowers), mostly as a sort of long skirt underneath a jumper, I have never got more compliments on a piece of clothing that I wear. Like for real, it seems as though the dress has some sort of magic power that compels people towards it. I love it, but I thought it was a dress of acquired taste. It was when I was in Sorrento last year that my mum and I went to a typical Sunday Italian market, except it was slightly smaller due to the fact it was Assumption Day (the national holiday that celebrates the belief that God took the body of Jesus’ mother Mary into heaven at her death, thank you google for that nugget of information). That didn’t stop us browsing the stalls and one particular second-hand stall caught my eye – there were so many great pieces but the dress just stood out to me. I was thinking I’d save it for some special ball or occasion but it’s just too pretty not to wear on an everyday basis.

I’d like to think that the dress was once worn by someone who wore it in an Italian apartment right by the sea, taking it out for an evening meal every once in a while. The sea breeze lapping on the bottom of the dress, perhaps with some heels. There was a hole on the bottom of the back of the dress when I bought it so who knows? Maybe she accidentally snagged the dress with her shoe, the sheer fabric unable to withstand the pressure. For what reason was the dress given away? Perhaps, it was because it has outworn its admiration or perhaps it was only seen to be a dress one can wear a few times before the excitement of wearing it peters out. But I don’t think that was the case, it seemed like it was well loved before it reached my hands and it will be loved further still.


Do you ever make up stories behind your charity shop clothes? If you do I’d love to know what they are, the people you fabricate behind them and whether, if you do make up stories behind your charity shop clothes, do they influence your purchase (for real like I could stand in an Age UK giving a whole other life to an item of clothing that I’m about to buy). There’s a richness that runs through charity shop items, a mysterious unknown that only we can bridge.

lots of love, eleanor xx


  1. Lucy Jane 26th May 2018 at 12:38 pm

    I adore this post and think it’s such a nice thing to do to consider where you’re clothes came from. When I find a sparkly or sequinned piece I just know the previous owner was as whacky and wild as me! May have to take inspiration from this post as I adore what you’ve done so much!x

    Lucy Jane | Infinity of Fashion

    1. eleanorclaudie 26th May 2018 at 9:09 pm

      Thank you Lucy! I wish I was as lucky as you to find some sparkly pieces – they’re so hard to come by! xx

  2. Besma (@BesmaCC) 26th May 2018 at 7:43 pm

    I love the gingham co-ord you’ve fashioned for yourself! And that story of the dress being worn in that Italian apartment by the sea… I enjoy wondering about the stories of my own pieces too, especially my Peep Eyewear vintage sunglasses!

    Besma | Curiously Conscious

    1. eleanorclaudie 26th May 2018 at 9:04 pm

      Thank you Besma! Gotta love some gingham on gingham 🙂 I love Peep Eyewear, vintage sunglasses are always so cool x

  3. MJ 27th May 2018 at 5:46 pm

    That’s lovely of you to share this. I enjoyed it. It’s always nice to know where something came from, especially if it was special to that person!

  4. Hollie May Wells 28th May 2018 at 10:50 am

    This is such a cool idea! I’ve never really thought muh about my clothes history -as I get quite a few charity shop buys too! Although, I always find it fun to buy clothes from carboot sales as then you get to see the people who the clothes belonged too, sometimes they even tell sweet little stories of when they first bought the item, or when they wore it to a special event! Anyway, love the post!

  5. Libby-Jade Harris 29th May 2018 at 11:17 pm

    Love this post Eleanor! I am so obsessed with those gingham trousers and also really want to see a photo of you wearing the last dress. I love the stories you created behind them, I’ve never really thought of creating stories behind my charity shop buys but now I feel like it’s just going to happen. Love this post, and I especially love the story of the last dress x

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