5 Secrets to finding the best bargains while thrifting

In honour of National Op Shop week a couple weeks back, I wrote a top 5 for Sacred Heart Mission, and I thought I'd share it with you all here too. 

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Try on Everything

Have you ever been told to “just try it on” and all of a sudden that piece you were doubting looks fabulous? Well the same applies while op shopping; taking the time to try clothing on ensures what you’re buying fits and suits you. Even though you’ll generally be paying a lot less than a regular retail store, you don’t want to be wasting money on something you won’t wear once you get it home. I’ve made that mistake a few times over!  Don’t be like me.

Keep an Open Mind

Remember op shops are not regular retail clothing stores so keeping an open mind while visiting is key. Sometimes you’ll fall in love with a piece but it’s too small. Yes, it’s a disappointment, but you’ll leave knowing that someone else will discover it! And don’t forget to look on all the racks, you may find what you’re after in the boys section.

Ignore Sizing

This follows on from tip #1. You’ll often come across clothing from past decades; aka Vintage! Clothing sizes were a lot different then so my rule of thumb is if you like what you see, pick it up and try it on. You’ll often find that brands also tend to size their clothing different, so sizing isn’t always a good indicator of fit. 

Tailors are your friend

If you can’t sew or don’t have the time, a tailor is a great option. They’ll be able to take up pants, hem skirts, bring in a dress and more! It’s amazing how different a piece of clothing is once it’s altered to fit you. Plus you’ll be the talk of the town in that one of a kind freshly altered outfit!

Bring a mate

I enjoy shopping solo, but if you can find a friend who appreciates op shopping as much as you do, or is up for the bargain hunt, then invite them along. Friends are great to bounce outfit choices off of, and they may even convince you to buy that leopard print jacket you don’t quite have the courage to purchase on your own!

Hope this helps you to find those thrifting bargains. 

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Em xx

National Op Shop Week - Why I Thrift

In honour of National Op Shop Week I thought I'd share what got me into opshopping and why it's now my main source of clothing.

I've always been an opshopper; even in high school my friend and I would rummage through op shops on our weekends. Although we were mostly looking for costumes and dress ups, not everyday clothing. I was never one to dress 'cool'. In fact I dressed very much like a tomboy in high school. Did anyone else live through the "surf wear is cool" look in high school? I definitely did, but fortunately I spent most of my time in uniform, so pictures of me in surfwear are few and far between.

My love for op shopping continued throughout the years but again mostly for costumes with the occasional everyday find. It all changed when I moved to Seattle. I didn't know anyone and my social life was fairly non existent, but I discovered that the Goodwill near my house was open every night until 9pm. For someone with few friends, this was perfect. I'd spend hours at Goodwill, searching through clothes, hats, shoes and even the furniture. And I bought up. Every Goodwill trip I returned home with something. I was so impressed with what you could find.

I challenged myself a few months later to only buying second hand, and again I was surprised how much you could find. Even on our 2 month roadtrip through the US last year (at this point in the story I have a US boyfriend), I found it so thrilling to visit thrift stores in different cities. And once again came out with the goods.

 A few of my thrifted outfits

A few of my thrifted outfits

On returning to Australia I wasn't sure if I could continue my thrift store habits but have I been proved wrong. Melbourne has some of the best op shops going around, and the community of thrifters I've met along the way also tells me there are plenty of great finds throughout the whole country.

I've also become much more socially conscious of how my love for fashion contributes to the destruction of the environment and the world. I'm much more aware of what I can do as an individual to try to change the industry. 

Earlier this year I watched True Cost, if you haven't yet seen it I highly recommend it. It might even change the way you look at the fashion industry, it sure did for me. As consumers, I think it's important to understand where our clothing comes from, where is it made, who makes it, how those that make our clothes are treated, and what we can do about it. The fashion industry has changed vastly in the last 10 years and fast fashion is one of the major contributors. If I do buy anything new, I make sure I know where it comes from and I avoid fast, cheap fashion.  

Remember it starts with ourselves. The power is in the consumer. 

Op shopping doesnt just help the environment and our international neighbours, you're also supporting local community charities, and don't forget it's very easy on the wallet!

Interested in thrifting? I've written some blog posts on Op shopping in Melbourne and A guide to Thrifting

What have your experiences been? Have you been inspired to try thrifting for yourself?

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Em xx