If you’ve ever wanted the perfect excuse to hit your local op-shops for a second-hand-buying spree (on a budget), now you’ve got one.
Yes folks, it’s National Op Shop week, and this Saturday and Sunday, August 29 and 30, marks the grand finale.
To celebrate, we’ve compiled a series of tips to help you in your treasure-hunting endeavours.
So if you’ve never op-shopped, now’s the perfect time to give it a try — and see if you can unearth some hidden gems for your wardrobe.
Tip 1 – Take The Good Days With The Bad
Op-shopping isn’t like walking into Bunnings, finding aisle seven, selecting your 8mm widget and walking out. Be prepared; some op-shopping sessions may turn up nothing at all. In the words of John Denver, some op-shop days are diamond, some op-shop days are stone.
But if you do have an op-shop fail, DON’T GIVE UP! Your second or third attempt may be the day you find those cherry-red 18-hole Dr Martens boots from 1992 in near-mint condition that you’ve always wanted.
Tip 2 – Allow Yourself Time To Comb The Racks
If you only give the store a shallow, five-second glance before giving up and retreating to the nearest Forever New, you’ll never succeed. Great treasures are often hidden, so don’t be in a hurry.
Those who find the best gems are the completionists (to borrow a term from the world of video gaming) — who insist on inspecting every single item in store. Now most of us aren’t that patient, but it’s best to at least be pretty thorough when you flip through the racks. The perfect emerald green accordion-pleated skirt for your next garden party may well be hidden behind a faded polyester number. Seek, and you shall find.
Tip 3 – Picture The Item In An Overall Outfit
If you come home with 15 whacky, lurid vintage items bought on a whim, you’ll probably watch them collect dust, because they don’t actually go with anything in your wardrobe.
As you shop, consider what you already own. “Will this purple disco skirt work with any of my existing tops? Do I have a shirt that will complement this amazing flocked bolero jacket? If I buy these incredible high-gloss leopard-print stilettos, will I actually find an occasion to wear them?” Be at least a little bit sensible.
Tip 4 – Be Open To New Possibilities
If you think outside the box, you may unearth a piece that creates a whole new look you’ve never tried before. See that gauzy, shimmery turquoise shirt up the back that’s four sizes too big and looks like it belongs only on a mermaid queen? Don’t pass it by so quickly. If you pop it on over black leggings and singlet top, step into your best navy heels and add a silver bangle, it might be the start of a great night out.
Tip 5 – Don’t Set Your Heart On The Latest Trend
If you’re fixated on buying an off-the-shoulder print-on-print bohemian dress, a canary maxi, a satin kimono or a military inspired khaki jumpsuit, don’t count on finding it in an op-shop. You may get lucky, but you’re more likely to be disappointed. Instead, have an open mind when you approach the thrift strip. And if you absolutely must have an oversize hat in tan felt to go with your chambray-and-denim combo for tomorrow’s brunch, maybe just head to Westfield.
Tip 6 – Look Out For Great Basics
Op shops are great for evergreen pieces that can last you for years. They’ll usually house an abundance of black dress pants, conservative work tops, neutral coloured skirts, floral spring dresses and other go-to items that never really go out of style for long. If you need a few new outfits to freshen up your wardrobe and don’t care too much about what’s happening on the catwalks in Milan, op shops are generally guaranteed to please.