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!)

WINTER COATS:

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!

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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..)

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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..

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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. 

SHOES:

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!

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

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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:

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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..

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