A thrifter’s guide to Cambridge

It’s Secondhand September – the month in which we can reduce our environmental footprint, save money and look stylish all the same time by shopping for preowned fashion.  Traditionally September is a huge month for the fashion industry.  There’s nothing wrong with buying a staple coat or replenishing your knitwear collection when autumn arrives, but for many of us our clothes shopping has reached unsustainable levels.  According to McKinsey, the number of garments purchased per capita between 2000 and 2014 increased by about 60 percent.  That’s a level of consumption the planet can’t support much longer.  Shopping secondhand is the alternative.    (See this post from last year to find out more about Secondhand September.)

I’m just back from Cambridge, a superb thrifting destination.  Read on to learn what I bought and discover where to find the best preowned fashion in the city

Why thrift in Cambridge?

Cambridge is of course synonymous with its university.  The university’s social calendar features a host of balls, formal dinners and other dressy events … and that means dresses, heels and bags.  As people are least likely to repeat wear formal outfits, local charity shops are full of very lightly worn outfits to take you to your next party of wedding.  I spotted some from Coast, Monsoon and even designer brands that looked as though they hadn’t been worn more than twice at most. 

What I bought

No party outfits as I’m all set for nights out (see this post) but I did buy a Diane von Furstenberg ballet-style wrap cardigan for £29 in Oxfam, in a deep plum shade.  Perfect for autumn!  I’m not sure whether it’s ever been worn as it’s in completely perfect condition.  According to DVF’s website, her knitwear usually retails for at $300. 

Where to thrift in Cambridge

One street that’s packed with charity shops is Burleigh Street.  It’s got a British Red Cross store, Oxfam, Cancer Research and the BHF all within a few doors of each other.  Those are in the modern, unlovely part of town, but there are also some charity shops in the historic city centre.  I got my cardigan from Oxfam at 34 Bridge St, Cambridge CB2 1UW, which is a stone’s throw from the Bride of Sighs and St John’s College.  Also check out this cute branch of Save the Children at 21 Magdalene St, Cambridge CB3 0AF.  While you’re there, the best coffee in town is at Bould Brothers: 16 Round Church St, Cambridge CB5 8AD. 

I hope you enjoy a visit to Cambridge and find some thrifted bargains

Thanks for reading


Published by jengreggs

I'm a London-based writer and blogger focused on sustainability in fashion. My purpose is to help everyone discover the joy of living more sustainably.

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