Monday, 15 June 2015

Terrific Thrifting Finds

The start of winter is a great time for trawling the op shops.
Perhaps the high volume of secondhand goods is due to the cooler weather causing people to clean out wardrobes and cupboards and donating lots of things they no longer want/need. And maybe the op shops have been stockpiling winter goods too, waiting for the weather to turn. Either way, there is a lot of great finds to be made, so today I thought I'd give you a glimpse - in to the heady world of fashion.
So what have I found of late?
I'm glad you asked! Here's a mix of discoveries - not all came home with me (had to leave some goodies for everyone else!)


Oh my, they are everywhere and I've been dazzled at the array of trendy, well-made warm and stylish coats on offer. For as little as $12 you can find something well-made and stylish, to suit most tastes and sizes. 

For a glamorous and lightweight option this delicious number by Alannah Hill was only $15 but alas, too small for me. I loved the delicate polka dots and rose patterned silk lining, wear it and be transported: Straight to Downton Abbey!


Or this rosy pink 1950s styled Jigsaw woolen coat had me with visions of myself rushing through Bletchley Park (more to do with me having recently seen The Imitation Game on DVD than reflecting my math skills..)


To this edgier more Military style by Zara. It was a tad tight across the shoulders, but I figured if I could get my arms in, then a slimmer silhouette could only be a good thing. And it will quite possibly promote good posture. Just a thought..


I paid $45 at Vinnies, which is quite a hefty price in op shop dollar terms, but its classic go-with-anything styling and as new condition made it well worth it. Wouldn't be easy to find the equivalent in a retail store for under $100. Which doesn't mean you shouldn't look of course - Zara in Australia is having something of a profit slump (SMH June 12, 2015) so I'm sure they'd be grateful if you gave them a try.

The article in the Sydney Morning Herald I linked to above provided the following information:
According to Knight Frank's director of retail leasing, Alex Alamsyah, Zara's average price point per item is $US90 ($116), compared with $US80 at TopShop, $US60 at H&M and $US30 at Forever 21.
I would say my average price point per item from the op shops I visit on a regular basis would be around $12. Plus I get to feel good for supporting a charity and the good work they do. I'm reusing/recycling used goods which is good for the environment too. So while I don't advocate NOT buying retail - op shops are a great cost-effective and ethical option, without sacrificing on quality or style. 


Boots are a fashion must for winter and again I've been impressed at the styles and range I've seen on op shop shelves. Many years ago when I started op shopping, knee high leather boots were as rare as hen's teeth (!). Very expensive new I think people held on to them year after year. I bought a used Italian pair eons ago from an Anglicare store I used to frequent in the inner west. They were a little big for my small feet so I lined the inner sole and toe with thick winter socks. They were so warm and comfy I wore them for years! I passed them on to a friend's daughter and now she is wearing them!

These I found a couple of weeks ago in Vinnies for $15. Score!


And these were all as new and $10 a pair. And all in my size.
That's why we're eating a lot of soup this week... 


So winter has only been going a couple of weeks, but I may have already found my ultimate thrifted winter outfit. It came together in three visits to two different Vinnies stores and I only paid under $50 total! I present to you:

Australian made leather coat: $20
Morrisey black dress: $20
Black heeled glitter boots: $15

And yes I know, even my inferior maths skills can tell me that that is $5 over my bargain outfit limit. Still, as any good op shopping fashionista will be able to tell you, it's all about the thrill of the hunt!

If you're interested in op shops, here's some links that might help you find those near you + information about donating your used items and even volunteering work opportunities:

Lifeline Shops
Red Cross Shops
Salvation Army Salvos Stores
St Vincent de Paul Vinnies

Tell me what your favourite items to search for at op shops might be?
Do you find your op shopping experiences great fun (like me) or frustrating?
I'd love to know..

Saturday, 6 June 2015

Reel Time

How many movies do you see in any given week, month, year? Since having kids, I haven't averaged many. So in the last two months I've been on practically a movie binge. It doesn't really explain my lack of posting in May, but I know you'd be bored with the excuses and this is far more fun to discuss. Remember my joy in April at experiencing the exciting and much longed for release of  CINDERELLA?  What fun that was. My girls are talking excitedly about the future release of the DVD. Despite the fact that DVDs are apparently supposed to be dead, we are not (so far) a downloading family. We want the movie in our hot little hands and an MOV (?) file will simply not do. I mean really, how is one supposed to take successful shelfie pics of one's favourite movie collection if one can't line them all up on a shelf in a satisfying row? 
Please consider...

The next special event was my 18th wedding anniversary. My husband had flatly refused to take me to see Michael Bolton - so I had to settle for humming "How can we be lovers if we can't be friends?" while we drove to the cinema. I chose the movie. "Testament of Youth" was playing at the Dendy. A movie based on the memoir of Vera Brittain, an english girl who had just begun at Oxford when World War 1 began, the movie opened on VE Day and then backtracked through the war years. Brittain wrote most powerfully on the futility of war, the role of women, and life in the aftermath of the horror. I had read the book while at university, and the movie did not disappoint. It was beautifully done. At times heartwarming, uplifting, moving and tragic. I was in danger near the end of crying like I hadn't since seeing Life is Beautiful so many years ago. Had to pull myself together for dinner afterwards, remembering we were supposed to be celebrating after all. For two hours we were transfixed, transported and overawed (I'm talking about the movie again, in case you were wondering.) The clothes and interiors were amazing too. The acting superb. Totally loved it. 
And all for $40 for two tix. 
Sorry, but Mr Bolton wasn't good value for money in comparison.

Then, a friend's birthday treat became a rare and exciting pleasure of meeting in the morning for a (shock horror!) daytime movie! Yes, it was us and a few dozen seniors. We went for coffee first, and a pastry - it was 10am after all. At 10.30am we rushed into the cinema having neatly missed the advertisements (on account of searching for the perfect winter beanie with pom poms in David Jones Department Store) and then had the most fabulous time watching A Royal Night Out. Set on VE DAy (yes I was having dejavous!) this movie was hilarious and jolly good fun! I found myself thinking how jolly good it was to be there and wondering why with Arch at preschool for the past year and a bit I hadn't done something like this before now??? #lostopportunity

Loved the acting (Elizabeth was uncannily like the real Queen I thought, knowing her as well as I do) and realising that the film had obviously played loosely with the truth, the entertainment of watching Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret let their hair down was fabulous. And who knew Rupert Everett was looking so old? He did make a lovely King and the Queen Mother (also as the mother in Testament of Youth - more dejavous!) was excellent as a stern "keeping up appearances" type.

Then came my own birthday. May is my birthday month so having lined up some babysitting and therefore a few precious hours to celebrate myself, Jonathan and I again returned to the cinema to see A Woman in Gold. You might be thinking three wartime movies in a month is too many, but they were all so good. Again the acting in this one was superb - Helen Mirren is perfect as a Jewish/Austrian/American war survivor who has a burning desire to see her family property returned to its rightful owners. When the property just happens to be some of Gustav Klimpt's finest works, and paintings that seem irreversibly tied to Austria - well the (true) story is one well worth watching. 

War has many victims. When a movie can show the poignancy, the tragedy and the suffering that has occurred, in a manner that is heartrending, informative and rich in characters, stories and history - as well as fulfilling the purposes of being entertaining - well surely they have achieved something good. Perhaps even very good. I'd heartily recommend these movies (yes, download them if you must!), you won't regret it.