If you’re into shopping online, especially for cheap clothes here in the UK, you may well have heard of Everything Five Pounds. Now, I don’t think I really need to explain the concept behind this store, because let’s face it, if you can read this then you can work it out. Everything costs five pounds. It’s caused a stir on social media and Youtube, with review upon review of Everything Five Pound dresses on glamorous young twenty-somethings – but is it really that good for us regular folk? Are the clothes of a decent quality? And can someone living the full grown adulting life shop there for items that will last well and work for a whole season and more?
I know the answers. I have been shopping on Everything Five Pounds for almost six years – as a thrifty, responsible – let’s say boring – adult. The stuff I buy there is not throwaway ‘fast fashion’; as with all of my clothing I expect it to last at least a couple of seasons and remain in a state to pass on to a charity shop or re-sell. Still in doubt? Check out the photo on my “About Me” page: that two piece pencil skirt and lace top was £5, it’s BooHoo and it’s carted out regularly for anything semi-formal. And I’m going to let you in to my ultimate guide: my secrets to shopping the site for all killer, no filler.
So – here’s my guide to looking a million pounds on a five pound budget. You won’t believe how simple it is, and some of the items you can get your hands on, for example the branded coat below, the best bargain I’ve found on there recently.
Know Your Style, And What To Buy
Although their marketing tempts you with an impulsive treat, I’ve found planning an Everything Five Pounds shop a really useful step. The site sells on items they have bought from a range of sources – excess stock from well known British retailers (and some European equivalents), stock directly from wholesalers and so forth. It comes in various quantities – there might be hundreds of one item, and a handful of another – and often in a limited range of sizes. This means that you cannot really go there looking for basics, expecting the same whenever you visit.
Go with your usual colours and style in mind, and browse around that: it’s a bit like charity shopping or Ebaying, you might not spot something every time. Be choosy. Don’t rule out quirkier items though- if they’re good quality they can be store-aways (for example, like my lace two piece) which are worn occasionally, keeping an incredibly low cost-per-wear. I’ve bought quite bright blazers in the past – candy-stripes, florals or textured (which were branded and obviously didn’t sell well as suits) – when matched against my existing neutral trousers, jeans or a matching dress, they became statement items. Reviewers often rave about scarves, shoes and jackets for example: if you have a colour palette and style in mind, you won’t get tempted or muddled by the sheer array of options and should be able to hone in on items you can integrate well into your wardrobe.
Reliable off-brand items
This is more just a tip gleaned from my experience. Some of the off-brand items are cheap and poorly fitted – but I have never had a problem with their stretch ‘midi’ dresses or their stretch pencil skirts. These always wash well and come up time and again – they are perfect for work-wear or to dress up a little (office-to-bar … ha I wish). Throw in a search for a midi dress or pencil skirt, these are honestly staples in my wardrobe now. Their boots and chunkier shoes are also reliably comfortable – however these are very much a matter of taste, and if you like dainty I cannot vouch!
Shop Out Of Season
Due to the nature of their stock, sometimes you get incredible items to ‘buy ahead’ – they have got more seasonal recently, but by looking out for lighter jackets in winter or boots in summer and holding on for a few months, I’ve found some incredible bargains.
Spot Branded Items
You get an extra little buzz when the item you paid a fiver for has a high street label (or the stub of one, as re-sale sites usually cut these out). It means you got something people would usually be willing to pay far more for. In just the last year, I’ve found BooHoo, Lipsy, Zara, Matalan, Dorothy Perkins, Primark and Asos in my parcels: over the years I have become better and better at spotting high street brands. Firstly, if I want branded, I don’t shop on my phone. I zoom in and scrutinise the image on a full size monitor. Look for thickness of fabric, finish, quality, style – does it remind you of a brand or shop? Is the pattern a bit ‘off’? Going on from pattern, check how many colours it comes in. Unless it’s a basic tshirt, a branded item will usually be available in only one colourway or pattern. Finally, if it’s been in stock a little while, check for reviews: people often mention whether it’s a high street brand there!
Shop At The Same Time Daily And Subscribe
New stock typically drops around 10am. Now I know of some people who scrabble madly to grab things in every size with the intention of re-selling anything that doesn’t fit. That’s not my style. However, several times a week I will check their new arrivals at 10am, and often end up being in the last few customers to secure a popular item.
If you follow them on Facebook or by signing up to their email list, you will also get updated on new items the day before. This is incredibly useful, as you can do all your checks and cross referencing then swoop in and paypal it as soon as it’s on sale.
So there are my top tips. As I mentioned in the opening, I do shop responsibly: a bargain isn’t a bargain if its needless, and worn-once-fashion is wasteful and bad for the environment. However, by browsing sites like this wisely, it is possible to pick up items that you would pay more for, that last well and work with your wardrobe, for a mere fiver.
Where do you go for a bargain? Have you tried this site?