Last Friday at uni was Op Shop day – where everyone found an item in the local op shops and money was raised to go back to local charities.
My biggest challenge was which of my many op shop outfits to wear on the day, and also – how crazy I should go to make sure I didn’t just look how I do every other day. I took it upon myself to give some of the girls an ‘op shop lesson’ and took them around to a few of my favourites in Southport, teaching them how I go about finding so many amazing pieces.
I thought I would share a few tips here for those of you who don’t know where to start (and would love to hear how you go about finding the best pieces in op shops).
- Give it a go: It is actually amazing some of the things you can find if you just give op shopping a chance. Don’t be scared about the previous owner/stale smells or slight stains – it is amazing what a little soak and wash in a nice smelling laundry detergent can do for a pre-loved item.
- Be open minded: Though I always go with certain items in mind (the power of positive thinking), I also look in every section and pick up anything that catches my eye.
- Check the label/fabric: Get used to how different fabrics feel – you don’t want to pass by a 100% silk blouse just because the pattern doesn’t immediately catch your eye. Check the brand name – there is no point buying low quality items just because they come from an op shop (I avoid any supre or K-mart brand as you really aren’t saving much money and you will not be getting a high quality item).
- Try things on: Often people take things to the op shop as they just don’t fit properly, so try things on rather than looking at the size on the label. There is no point buying something that you won’t wear or that needs alteration if you don’t own a sewing machine.
- Wear comfy clothes: As per the point above, if you will be constantly trying things on, often outside the change room, you need to wear comfy/easily accessible clothes. I try to avoid wearing anything that needs to be belted.
- Look in every section: I always go to the home wares first and look through all the cooking stuff for props for food photography and cute teapots and teacups. You can often find amazing belts in the men’s section, or jackets in the ‘fancy dress’ or retro section.
Other little notes:
Most of the people who work in op shops volunteer their time, so I try to take a minute to have a bit of a chat to them as they tend to be super lovely.
Keep an eye out for ‘half price day’ – which seems to happen quite often at the op shops I frequent – makes that jacket or piece of furniture an even bigger bargain.
Remember that as well as finding unique pieces, recycling and preventing landfill and saving money, you are also making a donation to a needy charity. Try to bring a bag of old clothes from time to time, or any spare plastic bags you have (as they always seem to be low on bags) just to help them out.
Most of all, enjoy the hunt! There is nothing more satisfying than finding a hidden treasure in an op shop.
all from op shops in Southport
shoes from ASOS
Photos from: my camera