I like to think it’s every week, but no doubt about it, it’s super exciting that today kicks off the official start of National Op Shop Week.
When you shop sustainably at a thrift store not only do you save money and mother nature you support the vital work charities like the Salvation Army carry out.
Salvos Stores is the retail division of the army and every year these op shops around the country raise millions of dollars to empower people…people that may be homeless, dealing with addiction, depression, family issues or even a natural disaster.
All these clothes you see here I found at Salvos Stores a few short weeks ago and I love nothing more to show you just how stylish second hand can be.
My inspirations for all the ladies looks were current Australian Vogue editorials and the 70th Anniversary of DIOR.
High Fashion looks for (way more than) half the price!
To set you on your way here are 3 of my favorite op shopping tips
1. DO YOUR GOOGLES MATE
Spend time exploring the world wide web, look at street style, fashion publications, blogs, read magazines – Vogue has taught me a lot – explore fashion history, take an interest in style.
The more you know the better you can become at recreating all those expensive and divine designer looks.
For example, take a look at Chanel…what is this iconic French fashion house famous for?
Well my little thrift-anistas
Founder Coco Chanel made pearls, tweed jackets and quilted bags with chain straps famous. To this day, these elements are there in every collection creative director Karl Lagerfeld delivers.
So if you want a slice of the Chanel pie without the big spend then take some inspiration pictures with you and hunt for these items in your local op shop.
Start with a simple white tee and distressed denim, then add a chic black heel, black tweed blazer, a string of pearls and a replica quilted bag, et voila designer on a dime!
I can easily find this look for $50 in an op shop, sometimes even less.
2. GO BY FEEL
When op shopping I always aim to seek out superior fabrics, cuts and details. Most of us can tell when something seems a little bit special, keep an eye out for those pieces.
Natural fibres like silk, wool, leather and linen will always hold their shape and last season after season, so if you see these definitely take a closer look.
If you find a piece that’s synthetic, thats no problem just make sure it has nice structure and looks well made.
Choosing quality over quantity is the simplest way to look effortlessly more expensive without having to break the bank, so is my next tip…
3. KEEP IT SIMPLE
Treat op shopping like a normal shopping experience, don’t just buy a bunch of stuff because its cheap, be discerning. Think about what you really need and would honestly wear, what suits your lifestyle and your shape.
Hunt for classic pieces like a great blazer, cool distressed denim, a stripe tee, black skinnies, a pencil skirt or a trench coat.
These pieces are timeless and will work season after season, when you have a basic palate you can inject trends and your personalty from there by way of accessories and accents.
Oh and don’t forget to shop the whole store not just your section, I’m a huge fan of mens vintage tees and oversized crisp white collared shirts.
Borrowing from the boys is a great way to go.
Then you can add in color and print from there, think a leopard print scarf, a pop of red in a stiletto or statement bling.
4. CRAFT-ERNOON IT!
Diving into a little bit of DIY is a super easy way to emulate the trends for less
When you break down a lot of the runway and celebrity looks, they can be quite simple.
Gucci’s patchwork denim and embellished bags, big time florals at Balenciaga, fringing at Fendi, if you ask me why would you spend $1000 for the privilege when you can do it yourself?
Hit your local op shop, snap up a preloved denim jacket and then have a look at your local craft store for cool patches, then all you need is some craft glue and a few simple stitches to hold them in place.
Apply the same theory to a bag…
Find a piece that has a designer feel (and you’ll know because you’ve been applying tip #1) and add some patches on
Some of Gucci’s current bags have the word LOVED embellished on them, Lincraft and Spotlight has had these iron on letters for literally decades, so get amongst it.
A $50 spend or less for sure my lovelies.
I also just recreated the deconstructed suiting featured in the August edition of Australian Vogue, all from Salvos Stores finds. Check out the pics in this blog post.
Snipping an over sized skirt and outdated blouse, adding in a mens white shirt and even turning a houndstooth vest into another skirt to layer over the top
No sewing was required, it looked super high fashion yet was a total spend of $50.
5. HAVE A DRESSMAKER ON SPEED DIAL
Apart from altering your perception about op shops (they are totally filled with modern and on trend pieces) altering your clothes is a nifty little trick to look super chic on a budget.
I’ll give you an example of my own
I found an authentic DIOR homme mens suit jacket at a Sydney Salvos Store and the fabric and cut was so sublime. It fit me perfectly through the body, but it was a little big on the shoulders.
Rather than dismissing it, I had my trusty dressmaker slightly adjust it in this area and it then became a perfect fit
The blazer cost me $30, Jan’s dressmaking services cost me $15…so I scored a stunning designer piece for just under $50!
Tailoring to suit still ends up being way cheaper than the original price of the designer item.
Minimal spend, maximum bang for your buck…and by the way op shopping is one of the best things you can do for the planet.
So get amongst it this week and op shop til you drop!!