It’s 1992 and I’m sitting in the car, sulking like the moody teenager I am hoping no one will see me parked outside the op shop.
Meanwhile my mum is happily sorting through the racks and finding bargain Rip Curl t-shirts and on trend denim overalls to add to my wardrobe.
Fast forward to today and I am excited to tell anyone who will listen about my latest op shop discovery. Thankfully I grew out of my awkward teens and into a frugal, second-hand designer clothes hunter.
Having to dress for an office job or special occasion can be expensive. According to ASIC in 2016 an Australian couple in their 30s spent on average $2800 a year on clothes and shoes. I’d rather spend that money on a holiday!
Most of my work wardrobe consists of brands like Portmans, Cue or Witchery and over the past 12 months my (many) purchases have been cost neutral thanks to some savvy recycling.
On the racks of your local Vinnies it’s not uncommon to find a Cue work dress for less than $20 and it’s also not uncommon for that same dress to sell for $50-$70 on eBay.
I will often wear an outfit for a season then resell the items so I can go out and op shop some more.
This works really well with special occasion dresses so you’ll never be caught wearing the same dress twice.
Besides underwear I don’t remember the last item I bought new.
Not only does buying clothes second-hand save me money but it feels good to help the planet out and give clothes another life. By spending your money wisely you are giving back to both big and small charities which in turn use your money to give back to those in need.
Of all my purchases the one I get the most comments on is a simple wool check jacket from Country Road.
It was a bit over my usual op shop budget at $30 but at more than $300 retail it was worth the splurge.
If I haven’t convinced you to start op shopping already I can tell you it feels extra nice to get a compliment on your outfit when it cost you next to nothing.
Here are my best tips to save money while building your own second-hand wardrobe:
1. Church and community op shops are often the cheapest – you might just need to do a bit of extra sorting.
2. Salvos has $1 or $2 racks on Mondays and each week a particular coloured price tag is 50% off.
3. Check for holes, tears and working zippers before you buy and only purchase things that really fit well.
4. Download the eBay app to check resale prices on the go. Use the “sold listing” filter to see if your item is likely to resell and don’t forget about fees (9.99% of item + postage for ebay and 2.9% + .30c for PayPal).
5. Don’t just limit yourself to op shops, garage sales can be a bargain hunter’s paradise, especially in pricey suburbs. Or organise a clothes swap party with friends.
6. Don’t forget about the rest of the op shop. You can find lots of gorgeous home décor and plenty of books to save yourself even more.
7. To find an op shop near you see opshop.org.