Living in a less than cosmopolitan area, the trick to Zero-credit is shopping further afield, where others fail to go. Little towns like Loughborough or Aberystwyth, with good University and keen to be quirky consumers have streets lined with retro and small scale designers, not always at a discount, but daring to be different.
In smart towns with delusions of grandeur, local boutiques send surplus to charity once or twice a year, causing consternation when hundreds of pounds hats go on sale for a snip. Kensington Church Street is a heady mix of high street designed clearance and haute couture hand-me-downs, in which even tailor made Versacchi can be found to fit you.
To know your local haunts, scan the weekly rag for highest house prices and visit charity shops there - likewise, make credit free savings at car boot sales in popular retirement resorts. Due credit to Penny Go Lightly too, who specialises in up to the minute fashion sales news.
Markets are good, so long as you know what to expect. It's no use scouring for vintage at knock off Nigel's stall. To be fair they're not knock offs - good markets veto that. Rough Guides are useful for checking out what's what and use hyperlocal what's on sites for church fêtes with all manner of saintly surprises. Though, if you know it's worth a mint, help pay for the new roof.
For accessories and trim, you can't beat a good fabric market like Nuneaton. Centralised clearance ventures, where local fads hold no sway, are another excellent source for the relatively original. Littlewoods Clearance are good for basics and staples, Next Clearance for quality menswear (although these are very difficult to find other than word of mouth - Corporation Street, Birmingham - shh!).
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