25 Oct OP SHOP FOR STYLE WITH SUCCESS.
I have an habit that I have to profess to you. It’s not bad now but it was and now I’m better and have learned to manage it; it’s op shopping.
They call it Thrift shopping in other parts of the world, but either way, whether you’re being a thrifty shopper or shopping with the opportunity to grab a bargain, it all means the same thing doesn’t it?
Is op shopping a habit of yours too? Let’s refer to op shopping from now on as an ‘healthy habit’, because it’s healthy to de-clutter then donate, it’s healthy to find a bargain for the shopper and it’s healthy for the environment as we’re recycling. Who would’ve thought a habit could be healthy?
WHERE IT ALL BEGAN.
I’ve been a thrifty opportunist for more than 35 years and over that time I’ve found some great things. From clothing to furniture and everything in between, op shopping was the only way I could really afford to buy quality garments for myself. Okay they weren’t the latest and greatest fashionista piece of the season, but that wasn’t my aim anyway. Whatever the colour of the season or style was at the time, my only aim when I was at the op shops, was to buy what I loved and what made me feel good.
COLOUR & TEXTURE.
I was lucky that I started early, before the vintage boom became popular, to have found some wonderful vintage pieces. It wasn’t even my intention to go out and look for and buy vintage either, I just liked vintage because of the fabrics mainly. Both the textures and colours of the fabrics stood out to me whenever I entered an op shop and I would buy the garment based on the feel and quality of the fabric, how it felt when I tried the garment on and if it was well made. Come to think of it I was pretty darn picky back then.
As luck but mostly timing would have it, my vintage collection began to grow quickly and so did my obsession with op shops and vintage clothing; I WAS HOOKED!
There wouldn’t have been a day that went by that I didn’t visit at least one op shop in the earlier years, and if I had time and I knew there were a few op shops in the area, I would do a circuit to include them all. As soon as I would walk into a store, it was the colours of the fabrics that stood out to me and would ‘call me to come over’.
ALWAYS HAVE A PLAN.
What do you look for when you go into an op shop or thrift store?
People who shop in op shops usually use a method they use or something in mind that they’re looking for and are on a mission to find it. I believe you have to have a ‘plan’ in place when you op shop because some of these stores can be huge and can be a complete ‘time waster’ if you don’t adhere to your rules, after all who has all day to go op shopping? I wish!!
There’s always ‘surprises’ or the unexpected finds that appear and they are an ‘bonus’ that can give you an adrenalin rush and push to continue on to discover what other shops may have in store for you. Remember it’s all in the timing!
I’ve put together a list of tips that can guide you in the ‘op shop maze’ and possibly give you a few ideas as to how to shop and what items to look out for next time you decide to hit the minefield of treasures that are potentially waiting for you. Feeling inspired? Great, so let’s dive in.
17 TIPS FOR OP SHOP SUCCESS.
• Know what the key trends are and shop with a colour and style in mind. Have a plan and stick to it.
• Sometimes you can find great brand pieces that are near new at op shops. Congratulations to you.
• Think quality over quantity. Just because it’s cheap doesn’t mean it’s good.
• Shop for block colours. Patterns can outdate quickly.
• Mix modern pieces with key vintage pieces for a unique look. Make a statement.
• If you can sew you can alter.
• You can cut denim pants into shorts. Cut off denim jacket sleeves to make a vest.
• Fabrics like cotton and denim can be easily dyed if you don’t like the colour. Embellish plain garments to make them stand out and shine.
• Remember op shops also sell accessories like jewellery, bags and hats for a complete outfit.
• Look for good quality fabrics. Synthetics tend to lose their shape and texture after a few washes and ball. Denim will never go out of date.
• Look for key pieces (Fitted jackets, lined and well fitting skirts and dresses, denim jeans and jackets, a quality white shirt, tailored pants).
• Shoes that haven’t had a lot of wear. Leather if possible and to your foot size. Don’t compromise on fit.
• It’s all in the timing. Be prepared to wait for the right pieces. Be patient.
• Think about what you already have so that you can coordinate it together with other items in your wardrobe and have multiple outfit combinations.
• Don’t be afraid to be different. Claim your own style and wear it with confidence.
• I like to shop at op shops that are clean and organised so I can see what’s on the racks and move the clothes easily.
• Most of all, have fun, find some great pieces at a bargain price and step out in style.
YOU ARE UNIQUE.
Shopping thrifty and having your wardrobe based mainly from op shop finds, gives you an eclectic mix of style and versatility that allows you to put your stamp on your own style and displays to everyone that you are unique (as we all are), and that you’re not afraid to stand out and be different from whatever the current trends are. So bravo to you for being comfortable enough in your own skin to have fun with fashion, albeit sourced from op shops. That in itself is a statement.
‘WHY FIT IN WHEN YOU WERE BORN TO STAND OUT’
Wear that thrift designer outfit with pride and confidence and be prepared for the compliments and questions asked like, ‘where did you buy your gorgeous outfit?’ People will be shocked that something so great can be found at your local op shop; truly they will. And please don’t feel ashamed to let people know that you shop at op shops either. It does sometimes hold a negative stigma (that only those who are less fortunate shop at op shops), but it’s just not true and it really doesn’t matter either, so don’t let this stop you from shopping thrifty because more and more people are shopping this way.
IT’S ALL ABOUT TIMING.
The reward at the end of a long day of op shopping are definitely the purchases. It’s the thrill and excitement of not knowing what you’ll find. Timing, consistency, persistence and patience are all important elements to bear in mind when shopping thrifty. Overall it should be fun. It’s amazing what’s donated to these places and they support some wonderful causes in the community too.
Opening up the conversation as to the benefits of op shopping creates awareness and give us all another option where to buy our clothes. And it not only benefits the purchaser and the op shop, but the person donating the goods as well as the community benefit too, so it’s a win-win for everyone involved.
But a word of warning, shopping thrifty can be addictive so don’t say I didn’t let you know.
For those of you who are yet to discover the treasures that can be found while op shopping, if you have a friend who is an op shop devotee, ask to tag along with her or him one day and see how it’s done and have some fun. And for those already converted, if you’ve found anything amazing at an op shop recently that you want to share with us as I’d love to see and I’m sure other fellow thrifter’s would too. Share your discoveries in the comments below, post a photo and gloat, go on. We want to celebrate your op and thrift shop finds with you too!
HAPPY OP AND THRIFT SHOPPING!!
Yours in Health and Happiness,
Image: Glenn Hampson