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Best Wardrobes in Britain: Miquita Oliver

Best Wardrobes in Britain: Miquita Oliver

What are your best charity-shop shopping tips?

I think it’s really important when you go shopping for second-hand clothes to listen to your gut and your instincts. Like starting a relationship or meeting someone for the first time, it’s really about trusting what you’re drawn to and what sparks you up inside. And that’s why I love buying second-hand clothes because I’m not being driven by anything that anyone’s told me, and I’m not being driven by the kind of standard tropes of shopping, which is like, “I’m looking for a size 12. I’m looking for something brown. I’m looking for a dress.” I just go out, and I come back with the things that I was drawn to, whether that be a skirt, a jacket, or top or a pair of shoes. And I think that’s really a much more exciting shopping experience. I think if everyone in the world knew that, they’d have a different approach to shopping second-hand. I’m just trying to let people know it’s actually far more exciting. It’s being open to what might find you and the unknown of what you might find.

Which are your favourite charity shops?

There’s a little one in Stoke Newington—the really good ones don’t even really have names! I think it’s like a jumble sale shop, and it’s just fantastic. I found these Paul Smith jeans for two quid, and I always find jeans there. I think it’s a lot of the Jewish men from the area have donated, and their clothes are so great. I love straight-legged men’s jeans, so usually you have to go somewhere where dads and uncles will have donated their jeans, not like trendy teenagers. I want, like, older-people clothes, [as] I think that they always look really classic. 

Well Street Charity in Hackney is full of old toys, books, video machines, but then in the back, he has some of the best leather I’ve ever seen and in different colours like camel, chocolate brown, and toffee. All these old leather jackets from the ’90s, like long, straight Calvin Klein– and Donna Karen–looking ones. And this guy does not know what he has. It looks like the Celine stockroom, it’s ridiculous, but he doesn’t realise! So far I’ve got four of my leather jackets from there.

Do you go to different areas for all different items or styles?

For sure. North London I go to a lot in the winter because they have really good cashmere, men’s jumpers and men’s suits. I just go where the aunties and uncles are. Chingford is brilliant! We did this shoot last year actually, like a week before lockdown finished in March, and they let all of the charity shops that we were filming in open early for us to film. And I hadn’t been in a charity shop for like four months, and I was like, “Oh my god!” I really love charity shops in suburbia. They are really good.

Charity shops in the middle of the city don’t have so much because people know too much. They know what it’s worth, and I think a lot of the charity shops in certain places feel like they need to bring in fast fashion to make young people interested, so there’s a lot of ASOS and a lot of H&M. That’s not what I’m looking for. I’m looking for a brand I’ve never seen before like weird Italian labels you’ve never heard of. 

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    What are your best charity-shop shopping tips?I think it’s really important when you go shopping for second-hand clothes to listen to your gut and you
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