Anyone who has an interest in fashion (aka all women) understands the torture of walking through a shopping centre knowing you can’t afford anything. Every now and then you can pick up something great in a sale and manage to walk away almost guilt free but let’s face it, $100 goes nowhere when you shop in regular retail, sale or not.
Don’t despair. If you really have the fashion bug there are other ways of getting your fix without smashing your credit card – and you can actually have more fun.
Here are a few expert insights into making your fashion budget go much, much further.
My obsession with op-shopping was instilled in me by my mother. When I was young we used to spend hours scouring local thrift shops for dresses and shoes and anything else we could get our hands on. Nothing beats the guilt free excitement of coming home with five massive bags filled to bursting with new threads.
Now, 80% of my wardrobe is second hand (“vintage” sounds nicer) and I have saved literally thousands upon thousands of dollars by avoiding retail. A few gems I’ve picked up along the way include a Moschino 1980’s handbag, an original Chanel lambskin handbag, an Hermes twilly scarf, a Versace dresses, all for a combined total of less than $250. Myer can never beat that.
The thing about op shopping is that it takes time and effort but once you’ve hit a couple of goldmines that musty op-shop scent will grow to be the smell of sweet promise.
Op-shopping tips and tricks
- Scour, pillage and comb – after a couple of visits to your local oppy you’ll have no qualms getting on your hands and knees rummaging through a box of a thousand scarves on the floor of Vinnies, that’s where I found that Hermes Twilly after all. Persevere with scouring, it pays off.
- Think outside the box. The key to op shopping is having an eye for potential and you should accept the fact that things might not fit you perfectly but they can still look funky and cool if accessorised well. You’ll develop an eye for what you can work with
- Get your sewing machine out! Lots of second hand things need a bit of touching up before they’re ready to rock out. I take a lot of stuff in and fix a lot of hems. Patching worn areas with cool vintage patches is another way to breathe new life in to a garment
- Whenever you visit rural or regional areas always check out their op shops, they tend to be untapped resources with loads of potential and they’re always cheaper than city oppies.
Market shopping is fun for so many reasons. Good markets will have a mix of second hand goods, handmade goods, factory seconds and bric-a-brack which you can stroll through with coffee in hand. The key to market shopping is to get there early and haggle. Haggling is completely acceptable in a market and it can be very rewarding.
In Sydney? Check out:
- Paddington Markets – every Saturday from 10am: http://www.paddingtonmarkets.com.au/
- Glebe Markets – every Saturday from 10am: http://www.glebemarkets.com.au/
- Bondi Markets – every Sunday: http://www.bondimarkets.com.au/
Scoring bargains at garage sales
In my experience of garage sale shopping (extensive) I’ve never really been to a garage sale that disappointed. My favorite cardigan which I’m wearing as I write this was bought from a suburban garage sale for 50c and I’ve probably worn it around 200 times. When I moved out of the parental home, I collected all my furniture and kitchen ware from local garage sales. We got a tele for $5, a toaster and kettle for $20 and a full set of matching plates, bowls, saucers and cups (more than 25 pieces) for $15. The potential is endless.
Here are a few tips for successful garage sale shopping:
- Research. Check out your local paper for garage sales that are on the weekend and map out a plan of attack
- Take small change. People hosting garage sales don’t want to change a $50 for you
- If you’re buying household stuff buy lots and ask for a discount. They almost always say yes
- The golden rule? Get there early. All the good stuff is gone by midday.