Have you ever found yourself admiring those talented creatures who pull together outfits from an op shop and manage to look a hundred bucks? Second-hand clothing is awesome: it’s cheap, there’s a tonne of it to choose from and it’s everywhere at the moment. If finding hidden gems in op shops seems like an impossible feat to you, don’t stress. With a decade-long op shopping obsession behind me, I’m here to help you become one of those effortlessly stylish thrifty chicks you see on Insta.
Let’s begin today’s class, shall we?
Op shopping is very different to the way you’d shop at the mall (duh). You don’t have a few select styles to choose with a guarantee of finding something in your exact size. Second-hand clothing is seriously varied and finding an awesome item involves a bit of hunting. Avoid going into an op shop with a mindset that you’ll find a vintage sweater or retro mom jeans within five minutes of looking. I can promise you it rarely happens. Patience really is a virtue when it comes to op shopping but it pays off.
Have A Rough Idea Of What You’re Looking For
It helps to have a couple of wardrobe staples in mind before you start sifting through every rack in search of them. Having a rough idea about what you’re after is also a great way to break it down and target specific sections of clothing. If you’re looking for a plaid skirt and white blouse to go with it, just stick to the skirt and long-sleeved shirt sections and give them a good going over. This way you can narrow your focus to avoid feeling overwhelmed by the large volume of clothes. So. Many. Choices.
Be Open To Trying New Things
Take my previous tip with a bit of wiggle room, because trying new things is one of the best things about op shopping. The clothes are priced so damn cheap that at the end of the day, if you decide that particular style of dress isn’t for you after all, you can just donate it right back. Be open-minded in trying out different fits as well – oversized blouses and tees look real cute tied up or tucked in. Get adventurous with your style!
Don’t be afraid to have a look in the men’s section as well ladies. I used to avoid the men’s section in an op shop, but last week I ventured across for the first time. I found two Country Road sweaters in mint condition and one turned out to be a women’s one anyway. Lads, the female area is maybe not as forgiving, but it’s worth a look at least.
Always Check The Bargain Racks
Many op shops or markets have a discounted rack (usually near the door) where the clothes are even cheaper than normal. We’re talking $2 a piece in most places. Now you might get the impression that said rack is reserved for the sad/ugly clothes that are just the runt of the litter compared to everything else in the store. But you’d be wrong. A lot of the time this rack is for stuff that has just been there the longest, including rad clothes that have escaped the notice of others and might be right up your alley.
Take A Buddy
Let’s be real, shopping with someone else is 10000x more fun than kicking it solo. Particularly if they’re a sibling or best mate. When it comes to op shopping, this is even more the case. You can be more adventurous, you can play around and they might even find things for ya that you never would have considered trying. I can’t tell you the amount of times my sister and I have taken over op shop fitting rooms experimenting with different looks. It’s a ball, I’m telling ya.
Having a second opinion on your clothing finds is also super useful, particularly if they’re familiar with your wardrobe and can help you put together outfits with stuff you already have.
Don’t Restrict Yourself To Clothes
Op shops don’t just sell clothes! There’s a whole range of other second-hand stuff worth browsing. The jewellery sections are a great place to check out – you’d be surprised at the number of earrings and such that get donated brand new. Same goes for homewares, I have treasured many a funky mug from this section. You know it’s fate when you find one with your star sign on it. The book section is also always worth a look, particularly if you like cookbooks.
If you hit up one of the bigger op shops they’re often stocked with a tonne of furniture. This stuff is good quality too – furniture donations that aren’t in near perfect condition are turned away. Defs worth keeping in mind when you move out of home or redecorate your room. Honestly, you could buy everything you’ll ever need second-hand. Except maybe.. undies.
Keep An Eye Out For Obscure Op Shops
You’re not alone if you hear op shop and instantly think Vinnies and Salvos. And they are excellent places to go, don’t get me wrong. But sometimes there are tiny hidden op shops you happen to stumble upon and somehow they have the best finds of all. Often these are the kinds of second-hand stores you find when you’re travelling. Small towns are notorious for having these gems hiding in plain sight. Keep your eyes peeled, you just never know what you might find!
Image sources: @citrusboy and @chrissie (Unsplash), @burst (Pexels).