Orange you glad you tried op shopping?

You know when a friend asks to go op shopping with you and you don’t really need to get anything but you selflessly (some would even call it an act of pure kindness) agree to go with them? And then your friend doesn’t end up buying anything but you do? Yes, that happened again. I took a Japanese friend to Savers Brunswick last week and got this coat for $14.99. This is how it looked when I found it (yes, all wrinkly and fairly unattractive…just like my hair… but fear not, “after” photos are coming!).


(Note: this is not the interior of Savers! It’s my living room, admittedly featuring a few things from other op shops and markets and – I’ve just noticed now – a toilet roll that my foster cat* likes to play with, but coincidentally, nothing from Savers).

In my last post I linked to this story I featured in where I gave a few tips on op shopping for race wear, but op shopping can (should!) be done all year round, so here’s some hints on everyday op shopping.

Although you can be lucky and find something that looks exactly how it should, often at op shops you have to use a bit of imagination. This coat was actually in the dress section for larger sizes, so although I loved the colour, I nearly passed it by because I thought it was too big for me and it wasn’t the style of dress that I would wear (ie a bit “1980s business lady doing lunch on a weekend”). But then my imagination kicked in and I realised it might work as a lightweight coat, so I tried it on and discovered that if I shortened the sleeves, it would probably be fine. And once I was wearing it, its simple shape and subsequent styling potential sucked me in.

So a few snips off the sleeves, some stitching (and a fair bit of ironing) and here we are!

coat4AIt’s a handy weight for Melbourne’s changeable spring weather and works with dressy looks as well as more casual ones (this shot was taken while running around on a magazine production job last week).

coat8If you do find something you love at an op shop but aren’t quite convinced, remember that you’re not necessarily going to be wearing it with the outfit you have on right at that moment. Might a garment look a lot better with your hair tied back/let down? Or with a flared skirt instead of shorts, for example? Styling is super important! It turns out that although I chose it for its coat potential, with a bit of styling I actually could wear this as a dress (especially with buffalo horn earrings from my brand Wilderness Bazaar! hehe… it’s my blog and I’ll gratuitously mention my designs if I want to!)…

coat6Or as a kind of long blouse over a skirt… I think this might be my favourite “dressy” kind of look as I love the turquoise beads against the orange and the way the circle skirt flares beneath the coat.

coat7Anyway, in summary, these are a few things to keep in mind when you go op shopping:

– look outside your size range: some garments can easily be altered when it comes to fit

– remember a garment may not be looking its best – but wrinkles are easily ironed out and some stains/tears/holes can be mended

– consider different ways to wear things – a dress that’s a size or two too big might make a good coat, or a man’s shirt could be belted to be worn as a tunic

– think a bit outside your comfort zone and use your imagination when styling – one of the great things about op shops is that things are cheap, so you can experiment with different looks for little outlay. And if you don’t end up wearing them, you can donate them back to the op shop!

*Oh, and if you haven’t already seen her a zillion times on Instagram, this is my foster cat who has been generously helping with my styling by adding fur to everything!