WORDS BY JESS MARSELLOS
I wish I could say my journey to op-shopping was altruistic and I have always been an environmentally conscientious shopper – but it wasn’t, and I’m not. I was dirt poor, working a retail job to fund four years of university, but still wanting pretty outfits for the weekend and special events. I just didn’t have the funds to buy new things.
Fast forward to today, and I’m in my mid-thirties and a passionate advocate for op-shopping. Our charity shops are treasure troves of beautiful clothes, handbags, shoes, homewares, books, accessories, kids’ clothes, furniture and much more. There are items you likely won’t find anywhere else, because sometimes the one of a kind pieces you find are not of this era. They have had previous homes, lives and memories and by taking them home you can be the caretaker of a new life for these pre-loved items.
Shopping and donating to op-shops enables you to keep resources in the circular economy game, to reuse and recycle and buy into the sustainable fashion mantra which is using less, producing less, consuming less and repairing and caring for the items you have.
Op-shopping to a newbie can seem daunting and a bit overwhelming but there is something at an op-shop for everyone. Here are my top tips to ease yourself in and fall in love with the thrill of the thrifty hunt!
Shop regularly and visit the same places over and over. You will get to know what shop is best for what you are searching for. The Australian Red Cross is wonderful for those hunting brands from previous seasons (think Ksubi jeans for $5), The Dorcas Op Shop on Woongarra Street has amazing vintage dresses from Australian designers, Vinnies (St Vincent de Paul) has a bit of something for everyone.
Use your eagle eyes to see prints you like and then flick, flick, flick through every piece on the rack, pull things out and have a good look.
Shop with something in mind then look in those sections first before you get distracted.
Have cash on you. Most shops are converting to card but some of the smaller ones haven’t switched yet.