Thrifting in The Liberties.

resize2 Blouse from Enable Ireland and Blazer from NCBI Thomas street. Sourced by Emily Hull.

A relatively new shopping fad for the Irish, it has many people racing for the €1 rail to bag a bargain.

Ever since Macklemore and Ryan Lewis’ hit song “Thrift Shop” in 2012 the trend has soared in popularity. However, the whole idea of thrifting has always been around, especially in the U.S, but has only been considered as a means of acceptable fashion here in Ireland for the past couple of years.

Each thrift shop is individual and different. Shopping on the high street means at some point you’re bound to have the same item of clothing as someone else. Chances are you’ll pass each other on the street and glance awkwardly, acknowledging that you’re both wearing the same outfit.

This rarely happens with thrifting. Rummaging thoroughly through a charity shop, one can find designer pieces or even 100% pure wool/silk/cashmere garments, which would leave a crater in your pocket if it were bought straight from a boutique. Some things in these stores have never been worn either, but you pay a fraction of the price.

At times, thrifting can be disastrous; a lot of effort goes into searching through reams of garments, but one can end up with nothing to show for it. To find the real gems it’s best to go shopping on the days when new stock comes in.

Any shop assistant won’t hesitate in telling you if you ask.  For quick and effective thrifting, before you begin your bargain blowout, have an idea in your head of what patterns, colours and shapes you like to wear. Keeping this in mind when thrifting makes it a lot easier and saves you from flicking through everything on the rail. As awful as it sounds, you can make a profit from thrifting too. Ever spot something vintage in the €2 bucket but it doesn’t fit with your style? Buy it anyway! Someone will appreciate it and pay you ten times the amount you paid to own it. Many vintage shop owners practice this, making a worthy profit out of something that only cost them a few euros.

Lily resized                                    Skirt from NCBI, Thomas Street. Sourced by Emily Hull

With the combination of high street and thrifted pieces in an outfit, style in Dublin has improved immensely.  Among the few thrifting hotspots, Rathmines standing as one of the most reputable thrifting areas, The Liberties is rising in the ranks. Thomas Street is mostly known for being the home of the National College of Art and Design (NCAD) and the Vicar Street venue. However, upon closer examination of the right hand side of the street beyond Vicar Street, towards the city center, one discovers a great choice of thrift shops.

As far as the NCBI charity shop on Thomas Street is concerned, the best day to go thrifting is on a Thursday where everything in the whole store is €2. This shop stocks home-ware, clothes, shoes, books and toys so there’s a little something for everyone. It recently underwent refurbishment, but it’s back open to the public looking better than it had before.

The Enable Ireland store is a little further up the street, and is much smaller than the NCBI shop but nevertheless packed with great merchandise and a wide range of books too. Surprisingly, in spite of it being a charity shop, they offer a 20% student discount. It may prove difficult for any scrupulous student to avail of the offer, but it’s there for the taking nonetheless.

Further up from Enable Ireland, one falls upon “Kitten Doll & B”. Although considered a thrift shop, it isn’t a charity shop per se. It is, however, packed with affordable vintage pieces. They also have a corner in the shop dedicated to jewelry making, with all the ingredients to make your own necklace, bracelet or pair of earrings.

trench resized              Trench coat from Enable Ireland Thomas Street. Sourced by Emily Hull.

A small Simon Community store sits a couple of doors down from NCAD towards St. James’ Hospital. It’s small, but has a great selection of bags and shoes. After sieving through the rails on Thomas Street, there are more hidden gems on smaller adjacent streets and alleys. Take a detour down Meath Street and you’ll find yourself at a St Vincent de Paul thrift shop on the corner opposite Grainger’s pub.  This charity shop has a great selection of shoes and has three large circular rails assigned to €1, €2 and €3 prices, guaranteeing a bargain.

Turn down onto Francis Street and you’ll arrive at the Oxfam furniture shop that sells an array of home-ware and furniture, most of which is in very good nick too. One could easily furnish a bedroom for under €200 here.

Further down from the Oxfam shop lays another vintage store, similar to Kitten Doll & B, named “The Cats Meow”. This shop is a vintage lovers haven. It’s jam-packed with vintage costume pieces, accessories, shoes and coats. It’s slightly more expensive than previous shops mentioned but if you’re passionate about vintage wares, a trip to this place is essential.

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