Op shop stories

As a lover of thrifting, op-shops and old things, my curious nose has once again crept out and lead me astray. But not in a bad way. As the winter fog rolls and comfortably settles in, I have begun to revisit my old haunts – my dear little op-shops. For many years my weeks would pass with frequent visits to the Salvo’s corner store followed by the diagonal journey to the Vinnies on the opposite street corner and I would bring hoards of fabric, cardigans and summer dresses home and then proceeded to play dress ups in my room.

Now, being all adult and also a university student, my trips have become less and less frequent, I no longer hoard every little delightful garment, rather I am content leaving with nothing, holding out until I find just the thing I’m looking for. As a lover of strange clothes, I have a fascination with the idea that clothing has past lives, stories that they have been a part of and the sorts of stories that they have in the future.

Though many people have differing op-shopping experiences, I thought I’d let you in on the way that I now approach it ( as a sincerely reformed hoarder). Firstly, one thing that helps stem the tide of hoarding is pre-visualisation. Usually before each trip, I think about what I would like to look for, be that a red dress, a denim jacket, or a vest – I think about the exact cut, colour, and material that I want and then set about focussing on those items. I still keep an open mind for the sparkly happy pieces that jump out at you, but by focussing on a selection criteria, you can stay focussed and I tend to yield a fairly good turnover of items. Secondly, the thing to remember is that you won’t find that select something every time – the secret is to keep going back, every so often after the stock has turned over (see the puffer vest below? – that took me a good couple of months to source!). Thirdly, every charity shop is different, over time you will notice patterns and trends in the stock, so shop to its strengths, eg. Salvo’s in Fyshwick is a warehouse store – has a great selection of dresses and jackets, and if you are in the market for it, furniture. Vinnie’s in Belconnen has great material and shoes. Moss Vale’s Vinnie’s has the highest number of secondhand kilts per capita (non ABS study/my non-expert opinion), and the Salvo’s in Mitchell has excellent ceramics and crockery.

So after that crash course, here are a selection on my latest op-shop finds, some with visual stories, some without.

Best of Luck with your own Op Shop adventures! X


Polka dot skater dress – $7

Belco Salvo’s


Navy Puffer Vest – $7

Fyshwick Salvo’s

Binoculars – $5


*Fur collar attached later by me

whiteshirt dyp


Dotti Basic White T-shirt – $5

Belco Salvo’s



Red Cardigan – $6

Dickson Vinnies

Baggy Blue boat pants – $5

Fyshwick Salvo’s

*Scandinavian style wooden buttons added by me



Yellow dot blouse – $5

Belco Salvo’s

90’s Blue light jacket – $3

Belco Salvo’s


Blue dot top – $5

Belco Salvo’s



Fur/Leather Hunters hat – $2

Fyshwick Salvo’s



I am a person who loves books.

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