The best charity shops for sourcing Revival attire

13th January 2022
Rae Ritchie

“Recently we had an amazing donation of some 1960s micro mini dresses,” says Ged O’Flanagan, manager of the vintage Oxfam store in Liverpool. “I was chatting to a customer in the shop, who said she had a few to donate as she didn't wear them anymore and wanted them to go to a good home. She turned up a week later with over 100 dresses, it felt like being on an Austin Powers film set!”

Combine stories such as this, strong sustainability credentials and profits going to good causes and it’s unsurprising that these specialist charity shops are so alluring for vintage fans. Here are some of the best.


St Barnabas Hospice, Lincoln


“We’re very lucky in that people will donate specifically to us because they know the sort of items we sell,” says deputy manager Sharna Jordan on behalf of the store’s team – all of whom don vintage dress for the city’s annual 1940s weekend. “We completely transform our store to feel as though you’re walking back in time to that era. We even tape up the windows.”

Best item sold? “A beautifully beaded Victorian cape.”

St Wilfrid’s Hospice Retro & Vintage Shop

@stwh_shops and

“Goodwood is on our doorstep, so we have lots of vintage stock in our specialist store in Chichester. We are so lucky that we have such quality vintage items donated to us on a regular basis, so it’s best to come in to have a look. We can always advise customers on how to choose and care for vintage items, too. 

Best item? Our most amazing donation was a rail and a half of beautiful 1950s clothes from California, from a lady who worked with film stars in America and who also had a relationship with JFK.  A very glamorous lady indeed as described by her son who donated them.”

Pilgrims Hospices, Tenterden, Kent


“Our stock is changing all the time,” says Sarah Potts, manager of this dedicated vintage shop. “It’s worth coming in regularly to see what treasures we have. “We’ve had donations ranging from 1970s prairie dresses to 1940s novelty prints to incredible wedding dresses and men’s original military jackets.”

Best item sold? “An incredible cream 1950s Lilli Ann suit jacket which was hard to see go, but it went to a regular customer who fell in love with it.”


Florence Nightingale Hospice Charity, Buckingham and online


“Every member of the team has a particular interest, including enthusiasts of men’s tailoring, Mod fashion, antique lace and knitwear,” says shop manager Sybil-Jane Edgar. “This means every piece donated will be well researched and labelled accordingly. Most of our tags tell a story.”

Best item sold? “Highlights include unworn Gordonia bullet bras, hand-stitched Victorian bloomers and a 1938 ATS uniform.”


Barnardos Vintage, Cheadle, Greater Manchester


This unique Barnardos store is a microcosm of Manchester’s thriving vintage scene. “We have a lot of vintage traders and vintage shops donate on a regular basis,” says branch manager Gemma Burgess. “We get incredible donations you really wouldn’t find anywhere else.”

Best item sold? “Authentic 1980s/1990s tie-dyed hand-screen printed band t-shirts that came from the wife of a shop owner in Manchester. The shop closed in 1994.”


British Heart Foundation, Piccadilly, Manchester


“You can buy anything vintage [here], from a party dress to a pair of trainers,” says regional manager Louise Ball. “It is a one-stop shop for vintage… from the latest trends to smart work wear, party wear, formal, casual wear and even sportswear.”

Best item sold? “A leather vintage bag from The Bridge and a Christian Dior 1990s ladies’ jacket.”


St Peter’s Hospice, Westbury Hill, Bristol


“We certainly get all the eras donated,” says shop manager Emma Danley, who has recently overseen the expansion of the vintage menswear section. But it’s 1950s dresses that remain one of the bestsellers: “A few people come in and buy them as they are collectors and they even come in dressed up in the 1950s style.”

Best item sold? “We get amazing stock donated like original Laura Ashley, Jaeger, Liberty, just to name a few.”


Scarlet Vintage and Retro, Harlow and on Vinted


Customers travel hundreds of miles to this award-winning charity shop, which raises funds for St Clare Hospice in Essex and boasts an in-house seamstress and vintage wedding boutique. Its loyal fans include visitors to the Revival. “They purchase their outfits from us,” says store manager Tracey Chippett. “They are so happy to show us their photos when they visit again.”

Best item sold? “One of our customers had just celebrated her fiftieth wedding anniversary and wanted to donate her wedding dress. She also donated her going away outfit along with her negligee set. We created a beautiful window display showcasing her collection along with her [wedding] photographs. “It was such a privilege to receive her wonderful donations and pass her story to our customers.”


Shelter, Forrest Road, Edinburgh


“We are right in the centre of Edinburgh and benefit from a diverse and vibrant community with a very eclectic taste,” says community shop manager Margarida Jorge. “A lot of art college students with a keen eye for fashion as well as vintage style aficionados local to the historical city centre love a browse through our shop.

“With this customer and donor community supporting us, our stock is always full of surprises, and we never know what treasures we will have for sale: from pristine 1970s Laura Ashley to World War II collectables to Y2K trendy-again pieces, we get it all through the door every single day.”

Best item sold? “A spectacular 1970s white Gunne Sax layered lace dress sold during the Fringe festival [which we sold] to an international visitor. They definitely had to get extra luggage for that one!”


Oxfam, nationwide and online

A pioneer of specialised charity shops, Oxfam has vintage stores in cities including Liverpool and Manchester, its own superstore in Oxford and boutiques offering curated collections of vintage alongside contemporary fashion in locations from Westbourne Grove, London, to Holywood, Belfast. Plus its online store has a vintage section, described by Revival style advisor Bay Garnett as “a brilliantly kept secret”.

Best item sold? “I think the most valuable vintage item was a 1970s Ossie Clark maxi dress, which sold online a number of years ago to a customer in China,” says Ged from the Liverpool Bold Street shop. “The dress was beautiful and she was absolutely delighted with it. It sold for £1,000 so we were hugely grateful to the person who donated it to us, as well as the buyer.”

Some items end up closer to home. “One of our customers found the exact vintage skirt her great aunt wore in the 1950s,” says Holywood store manager Fiona Anderson. “We had the skirt in the shop for a while, it was obviously waiting for our customer Estelle’s visit.

“Estelle said, ‘I really love this skirt. I think my auntie would have been just as amazed as me at this find and it will make me think of her every time I wear it.’

Learn how to spot such a fashion treasure with advice from Revival style advisor Bay Garnett.

This year at the Revival, Dandy Wellington will lead the Vintage Style Not Vintage Values series of talks in the Revive and Thrive Village. Book your tickets now for a chance to meet his wonderful community of vintage icons.

  • Revival

  • Revival 2022

  • 2022

  • Revival Style

  • revival-best-ensembles-2021-no-sidebar-28012201.jpg

    Goodwood Revival

    Gallery: Fabulous ensembles from last year's Revival

  • bonhams_goodwood_revival_2022_8.jpg

    Goodwood Revival

    Gallery: The stunning cars of the 2022 Bonhams Revival sale

  • ps_settrington_cup_46.jpg

    Goodwood Revival

    Gallery: Settrington Cup at Revival 2022