To mark the first day of National Op Shop week, I’m wearing an outfit that was entirely thrifted, and sharing some tips for thrifting and donating at your local op shop!
Firstly, apologies for being quiet on the blog and social media lately, I haven’t been feeling well (and to be honest, I’m still not 100%). I have been looking forward to National Op Shop Week though so I thought I’d try to make an effort and blog about it!
National Op Shop Week is a great initiative to support the work that the charities who run the op shops do. It also raises awareness for the importance of shopping secondhand, not only to provide much-needed funds for the charities to continue their work, but also to highlight the need to reduce the impact of fast fashion on the environment.
I recently overheard a conversation between two girls who were talking about buying second hand, and one of the girls mentioned she felt “creeped out” by purchasing other people’s pre-loved clothes.
I believe a lot of people think the same way as this girl, and it is a successful bit of marketing to tell people that buying new is always the best. However, they’re missing out on some really great pieces and bargain prices, and depending on what you’re buying, second hand is just as good, if not better, than new.
The outfit I’m wearing today was entirely thrifted through different Vinnies NSW stores, and all of these pieces were still in fantastic condition when I bought them. I also love that no-one on the style street has these pieces (as far as I know) and they’re much more unique than the items in the fast fashion chains.
Below I’ve outlined some tips for thrifting and donating during this National Op Shop Week!
Know your brands. Op shops are filled to the brim with all manner of clothes and other items, so it’s easier to sift through them if you know what brands you like. I’m partial to most designer labels (be careful for the fakes though), Witchery, Seed Heritage and Country Road, but will also check out Zara for jeans. The exception of course is vintage; there are some amazing vintage pieces that are constructed so beautifully that it doesn’t matter what brand it is, it’s a great buy nonetheless.
Know what you want to buy. If you go into an opshop with the intention to buy something specific, it’s a lot easier to go through the masses of clothing without getting overwhelmed by the sheer amount of stuff. If you have the luxury of time, then going in for a browse is a great way to find that hidden designer piece at a bargain price.
Check each item carefully. Unfortunately people do donate things that have been stained or ripped and opshop volunteers simply don’t have time to do a proper quality check on all the things that come through the store. Carefully inspect what you’re buying for any flaws or stains, and unless you’re willing to spend the time and energy to fix the item (like what I did to this Ginger and Smart blouse) then leave the item behind.
Go beyond the male/female/kids division. I’ve found some great stuff in the men’s and kids’ section for myself; indeed, sometimes women’s stuff is accidentally sorted in the kids’ or men’s section (such as jeans). This is of course if you have that elusive thing called time, but you could find something great hiding in a different part of the shop that you normally look at.
Why not experiment? The prices at opshops are ridiculously cheap so it’s a great chance to try a colour or trend that you wouldn’t normally wear.
Only donate good quality items. The rule of thumb of this is “only donate things that you would give your family and friends.” Anything ripped, damaged, stained etc should really be used as rags or binned – opshops will end up doing that anyway but at a cost to them, when the money should really be spent somewhere else.
Charity bins are NOT rubbish bins. I live near a charity bin and it’s insane what people dump there. I’ve seen broken wine glasses, remote controls (without whatever it is that it controlled), broken dollhouses, damaged suitcases, mouldy handbags, and even a sex toy (thankfully still packaged). People seem to think charity bins are an excuse to put things they don’t want there, without having to put it in their own bins. They also don’t seem to mind that the bin is already overflowing so will dump bags of stuff around it, thereby making a hell of a mess. Only good quality clothes, shoes and bags go in the charity bins; everything else (not broken/damaged etc) shoudl be given straight to the charity store.
- Coat: Lioness (via Vinnies Neutral Bay)
- Blouse: Kachel (via Vinnies Surry Hills)
- Jeans: Rag & Bone (via Vinnies Newtown)
- Shoes: Dotti (via Vinnies West Ryde)
- Bag: Coach (via Vinnies Rozelle)
Pics by Instagram Husband