St Augustine’s Southern Op Shop in Mentone

This op-shop is tucked away on Florence Street in Mentone. I visited here with Erica from Recycled Fashion a few weeks ago. It was quite lucky we had smart phones, because otherwise we would have had to have asked for directions!

It’s a very long store. It’s quite spacious, although it got quite busy while we were there, and then it was hard to move. It’s also pretty well organised, although I would advise you to take your time and look through everything carefully. Some of the gems I found were quite hidden away.

 

 

I enjoyed visiting because the prices were pretty good. I picked up a pair of satin Lipsy pants for $7. I know Erica got some bargains, too. In fact, I think she got a brand-new Ben Sherman jacket for her son (around $3, if I remember correctly? I’m sure she’ll leave a comment if I’m wrong!). I would say that’s because this is a church-run op-shop. (They are generally a bit cheaper.)

There was a lot of everything to look at. The clothes stretched right up either side of the store, with most of everything else down the middle.

I was impressed by the range of shoes. They didn’t have heaps, but there was a good quality selection in what was there. The books were opposite the shoes up the back – I didn’t really get a good look at them because it got quite busy at that point. There were about five people hovering in front of that section!

 

 

I’m not sure when to advise to go because it got rather packed on a regular weekday morning. It probably fluctuates. But because it’s in a busy shopping strip, I’d say avoid the store on weekends!

 

I found the Mentone shopping centre interesting in general. It had a few old buildings (including the train station), which were quite pretty.

So, if you’re interested in checking it out, head to:

St Augustine’s Southern Op Shop
51 Florence Street
Mentone

Savers in Footscray

Every time I enter a Savers store I am shocked by the size. I know what to expect, but it still manages to take my breath away. These stores are like giant warehouses stretching on into infinite.

 

 

I didn’t know which way to turn when I first entered this store. I finally decided the safest route was to stick with what I usually make a beeline for – hand bags and shoes! The bags have a whole big wall to themselves, and the shoes have several aisles, arranged in sizes. (They can get mixed up though, so it’s worth browsing a few aisles just in case.) While there was a lot on offer, the selection didn’t really tempt me.

 

 

 

I was also seriously impressed by a lot of their pricing at this store. Unfortunately it’s very easy to spend a lot of money! I found a lot of really good stuff at cheap prices though – pure cotton skirts for $5 for example. I bought a brand new Tommy Hilfiger cotton jumper for $15, and a brand new Alannah Hill silk dress for $30. They were the most expensive items, which I thought were worth it for both the brands and materials.

 

 

And now I would like to share an important tip. Keep an eye on the change rooms, because the queues can become huge. I would advise waiting for a quiet moment before trying to use one. The store is large enough to keep you entertained for a long time before you need to try something on.

 

 

Which leads me to my next point: this is not a store you can spend half an hour in. I was in there for over two hours and I only went through the clothes and accessories. The book section itself is like a mini-library.

Some top tips for a successful Savers expedition:

  • Allow enough time to explore the whole store.
  • Bring your own bags, because you have to buy them at Savers.
  • If you have a car, drive. I ended up carrying a Santa-sack home on the train because I got so much stuff.

I’ve also come to realise that Savers have huge themed costume sections. At the moment the Footscray one has a big Halloween section. Could be a cheaper costume option?

The only downside to the store is the area. I had never visited Footscray before, and was a little shocked. Just be careful and keep an eye on your bag.

If you love the sound of this store and are busting to see it for yourself, check it out at:

33 Albert Street
Footscray
VIC 3011

The Fitzroy Market

 

I stumbled across this market accidentally. I had a meeting in Fitzroy and went for a wander because I arrived early – and saw lots of signs up along Johnston Street proclaiming there was a market on.

And of course, once I knew it was on I had to stop by.

The Fitzroy market is held at Fitzroy Primary School on the third Saturday of each month. According to their website, it helps to raise awareness and funds for programs for people in need.

 

 

 

The market hosts about fifty stalls, and from what I saw there is a lot on offer. In some ways it was a bit like a car boot sale because there were some people operating out the back of their  cars, but there was also a lot of food stalls and handmade items for sale.

I was also quite surprised to see a Hunter Gatherer stall at the market. I actually stopped into the store on Brunswick Street on the way home though, and found out they now regularly have a stall there. If you stop by the market, it’s well worth a look because everything is priced between $5-$20 or so.

I found this market really well priced. It’s unusual to find such consistent pricing at markets, but when I spoke to stall holders who were selling second hand clothing and accessories they seemed to be trying to get rid of everything. And of course, a market where people are trying to offload their wares is always a lot cheaper than a market where they are trying to make a profit.

I myself had $3 to spend. I gave a $2 donation at the gate (I’m not sure if that’s compulsory – the manager at Hunter Gatherer said it wasn’t though), and had $3 left.

You would think that $3 wouldn’t get me very far. In fact, it got me a new ‘blingy’ ring and necklace. I have plans for this ring, because I have one in pink too – ultimate finger bling.

 

 

 

I enjoyed visiting this market, although I really wish I had come prepared with more money! (Although perhaps it was better I didn’t…) Some of the handmade items were really unique – I saw some beautiful rings that were pebbles with intricate little drawings on them. That particular stall holder was also selling designer bags for $10 each, and they were real too!

I think I’ll be going back as soon as possible.

You can read more about the market here and find out their opening dates, or check out their Facebook or Twitter pages. As mentioned above, the market is open on the third Saturday of each month from 10am-3pm, at Fitzroy Primary School (corner Napier & Chapel Streets, Fitzroy).

 

 

The first image used in this post is from here.

Salvos in Mentone

I am going to be honest. I had never been to Mentone before in my life until recently. (Unless driving through on Nepean Highway counts.)

But I met up with the lovely Erica from Recycled Fashion for a catch up – and of course, we wouldn’t be the bloggers we are if we didn’t go op-shopping! Mentone proved to be a convenient halfway point for each of us.

And I am very glad we chose Mentone – because some unexpected goodies were in store for both of us!

 

 

 

But first, the op-shop. I really enjoyed visiting this Salvos. It had a lot of unexpected things – designer brands and beautiful jewellery, and some more unconventional items in the back room. It actually seemed to have everything you could could possibly need! I even came across some fabulous lavender wheelie bin stickers.

 

 

There was quite a lot to explore in that back room. There were some great original paintings, and the book selection appeared to be excellent! Erica found a fantastic book (which looked like it was from the eighties) on recycling fashion.

 

 

 

 

The front of the store was mostly taken up by women’s clothing, jewellery, accessories and shoes. I found some goodies here! I picked up a pair of DKNY sandals, a necklace and some turquoise-coloured earrings. (Don’t you just love finding things that are ‘in vogue’, and cost less than $10?)

There was quite a lot of beautiful jewellery in this store. I was very tempted by a delightful brooch – but it was $30, and I don’t know enough about them to judge whether it was worth it. So sadly, the brooch got left behind.

 

 

I think it would be quite easy to spend an hour or so in here going through everything. There really was something for everyone – a relatively large children’s section and even a ‘teen’s’ clothing section. I thought the men’s section was a bit small in comparison, but perhaps it works for the store. As I’ve already said, most of the store was dedicated to women’s clothing, so there’s plenty to look at there!

All in all, I felt the trip was a big success! I have a feeling Mentone will be seeing me again sometime in the future.

You can see it for yourself at:

46 – 48 Florence Street
Mentone
VIC 3194

The ALSO Fabulous Op Shop

Here is another op-shop to add to the list for when you’re in Collingwood. I went for a wander down Smith Street last week, because I knew there were still a couple of op-shops I hadn’t visited yet.

 

 

The ALSO Fabulous Op Shop supports {also}’s programs in the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer (GLBTIQ) community. As befitting the area it is in, it is an op-shop with quite an unusual personality. It has a very retro/vintage/quirky vibe.

There was a fabulous mixture of clothes available. I kept getting excited because I’d find something nice, only to discover it wasn’t my size… so sad. I loved the set-up though.

There was a big music section at the front of the store that seemed to be quite tidy. Most regular op-shoppers will know this is unusual, and I was really impressed. Usually the old CD’s and records are shoved away at the back of op-shops, but here they seemed to be a feature of the store – an interesting touch, considering how well-known the area is for it’s arty vibe.

The pricing seemed alright, although anything that was considered a ‘brand’ was marked up. For example, a two-piece suit was $30. I saw a nice Lisa Ho suit, but unfortunately it had lost it’s tag! (And I really don’t need another suit, so I didn’t pursue the matter.) I did wonder if this a deliberate ploy by some one to perhaps try and get it marked down.

There were some pretty cool displays around the place. Be sure to look up if you ever visit this store. That’s where all of the cool stuff is!

 

 

You can see it for yourself at 328 Smith Street, Collingwood.

 

Last image is from the ALSO gallery.

Sacred Heart in Elsternwick

This store has a special place close close to my heart. It could be because it is local to me, and it could be because it’s a lovely store with beautiful displays.

Mostly, though, it’s because I have never walked away from it empty handed. In the picture below, my boots, bangle and t-shirt are all from there.

 

 

Every time I visit this store I see at least five things I fall in love with. It’s very difficult not to buy a whole new wardrobe while I’m there because I find the quality and variety of clothes and accessories so amazing. The pricing can vary though – I have seen a tatty Alannah Hill dress priced at $25, but I also recently bought a pure silk wrap for $6. I suppose it all depends on which volunteers are in at the time!

 

 

This store really seems to have everything except furniture, and that’s only because it can’t fit! I actually have friends who come here specifically to buy books, because the varieties are so good. I must admit I’ve stopped by here myself if the local library is closed and I have nothing to read. (Reading is like breathing to me – if nothing better is on offer, I tend to re-read my own books a million times.)

A lot of the decor in the store is in leopard print. It sounds tacky, but it actually adds to the store’s character. Even the change rooms have heavy leopard-print curtains. The store itself is always well-laid out, keeping with the standard you see in most Sacred Heart stores. (Except perhaps the St Kilda one.)

 

 

The only thing that could possibly be lacking in this store is space. But on that note – I dread to think how much more money I would spend if they had more room!

You can check it out at:

1/486 Glen Huntly Road
Elsternwick
VIC 3185

Take 2 Markets at Northcote Town Hall

I stopped by the Take 2 Markets event at Northcote Town Hall today.

And I was delighted to find it was a bit of a vintage treasure trove!

But firstly, I finally got to meet the lovely Rina Chia (you can read her profile here). It was great to finally meet her and put a name to a face. It’s also always fun to meet a fellow op-shopper/market-goer (in this case, organiser!) to compare notes with. Other people just don’t understand the appeal of finding a Gucci belt for $5.

 

 

But the big question is, of course: what was the market itself like?

 

 

I enjoyed myself immensely. What I love about markets is the mixtures you can get. At an op-shop, prices in a store are generally similar (for example, all boots range from $15-30.) At a market, each stall can vary as much as day and night.

I saw 1980’s Chanel bags that were priced at $1800, and I saw Chanel sunglasses at another stall priced at $30. Both were in perfect condition. The difference was that one stall was operating as a business and the second was a personal stall (some one trying to sell anything they no longer had a use for).

 

 

 

There was a mixture of both at Take 2 Markets, and it was very interesting observing the price differences. I personally prefer to buy from people selling their unwanted items. Apart from the fact that that is where you’ll find your bargains, quite often the stall holders can tell you the item’s history.

Some of the genuine vintage sellers had some lovely pieces though. I had a good look at the Circa Vintage stall – by golly they had some fabulous dresses! And such a range, too. Some of the dresses dated back to the 1920’s. (The older they were, generally the more expensive they were.)

There was also the usual hidden gems in amongst some stalls. I was shocked at how many people had shoved designer goods to the back of their racks. I think if I was selling at a market that’s known for it’s high-quality and vintage pieces, I would be showcasing all designer gear at the front of my stall.

I think I could easily have spent $500 or more here. As it was, I was quite good and spent less than $20! I bought a pretty blue ring for $5 and a Bettina Liano dress for $10 (I thought the dress was a bit of a steal!).

 

 

I had a lot of fun at Take 2 Markets. Rina appears to run a tight ship, and it was very well set-out and organised.

If you’re interested in attending a Take 2 Markets event, I’d advise checking the website regularly for upcoming markets details as the venues change. You can also check the Take 2 Markets Facebook page for info on any upcoming markets.

The Prahran Mission

The Prahran Mission op-shop is a rather exciting one to visit. It’s located on Chapel Street, right near Prahran station – and dare I say it, where a lot of the more ‘lively’ Melbournian characters lurk.

No joke, while I was in the store some sounds came into the store that made me believe (from what I heard the volunteers say); that a dog was run over and a possibly homeless person tried to start a fight. I’m not sure if the two were related. (And whilst I may be saying this jokingly, I really, really hope that the volunteer was wrong about the dog.)

But onto more pleasant matters. I have mentioned before that this store gets regular donations from Secondo (a luxury second-hand boutique). I imagine that is why they often have some rather lovely things when I have popped in. Now, I know some people disagree on this point, but I think they mark them quite reasonably. I saw two pairs of Dolce and Gabbana heels in here once for $25 each. I consider that quite reasonably priced, considering many Melbourne op-shops would charge above $50 nowadays.

 

 

 

The volunteers here can be… a little zany. I think perhaps you need to visit for yourself to understand. I myself was given a massage by one when I visited. (I wasn’t singled out, she did it to everyone in the store! She found a massage roller-toy that had been donated, you see.)

One of the younger volunteers was also ‘tsk-tsking’ over the designer label rack when I was last in. Oh wait – it was entitled the ‘Haughty Couture’ rack, I’m sorry. (A much better name!) I have to agree with that particular volunteer though (who was muttering to herself about the labels on the rack) – half of the labels weren’t actually ‘Haughty Couture’.

 

 

I loved some of the odd stuff I found in this store. For example, there was a pair of tights hidden amongst the coats that had little pictures of chickens and the words ‘spring chicken’ all over them. So cute!

 

 

I myself only walked away with a book called Bringing Home the Birkin by Michael Tonello. For anyone who hasn’t read this – do! It’s fantastic, and possibly the best $3 I have ever spent. It’s a true story about a man who begins to make a lot of cash through selling on eBay.

But honestly, the range of books in store was superb. They had them set up properly too, although the room between some of the shelves was a little squidgy!

I think the only downside to this store is the lighting. It can appear a little dark and dank. But don’t be put off! There are hidden gems yet to be found…

If you think this store sounds as interesting as I found it, you can visit it at:

211 Chapel Street
PRAHRAN VIC 3181

http://www.prahranmission.org.au/

Vinnies in Ormond

What a delightful little store this is. I actually stumbled across it by accident!

The whole store is bright and perky, from the front window displays filled with books, to the bright green shelves on the inside.

 

 

When I visited, the volunteers were also so chipper and friendly that I couldn’t help liking the store. The store itself seemed to exude a cheerful personality.

I’m not going to lie though – it’s quite small! But I must say, the space is utilised very, very well. It’s quite neat and tidy – no squeezing past people in here!

 

 

Apart from the rather colourful store itself, the things that most caught my eye were the books, materials and belts. A lot of the best books can be found in the front window display.

I think the material caught my eye because there were some lovely patchwork pieces. The types that are done very delicately, one by one, until you have enough patches to make a quilt. Perhaps some one got bored after doing a couple of squares.

 

 

The pricing was pretty good. I think because it was a slightly smaller Vinnies things were more reasonably priced. Also possibly because Ormond (while still a lovely suburb!) is less upmarket than Malvern, for example.

 

 

So, overall: a bright and friendly little store.

 

You can visit the Vinnies store in Ormond at:
491 North Road
Ormond
VIC 3163

The Salvo’s Little Shed in Whittington

 

I love this name – “The Little Shed”. In reality, it is anything but!

The Little Shed is a rather large Salvos store in Whittington, Geelong. They actually seem to specialise in furniture, and the back of the store is just a big jumble of couches, mattresses, dining tables and chairs, bed frames, paintings, etc., etc… The list goes on.

 

 

I may be stating the obvious here, but I imagine it was originally a warehouse that is now used by the Salvos. (Note: one of the great things about op-shopping in Geelong and surrounding regions is that the stores often have fantastic furniture at very reasonable prices!) If I lived in Geelong, I’d probably be popping along here to furnish my house.

 

 

The front of the store is more like your typical op-shop, filled with clothes, books and accessories. It was quite nice, but I really think the back is the place to focus on in this store!

 

 

There was such a quirky collection of stuff – a state-of-the-art treadmill was literally on sale for $200. (You know the ones: they have a million buttons to tell you how fast you’re going, what your weight is and whether your bottom looks big in your trackies.)

I was also rather taken with some of the kitsch stuff in the kitchen section though. I very seriously had to remind myself that actually, I’m meant to be spring-cleaning next week, not adding to my clutter.

 

 

I thought this giant vase was a bit cute, and if the paint could be removed would look great as a display with those glass fish in it.

My sister disagreed and informed me it looked like a bong. That is not a word you will hear on this website often, so best savour the moment.

I thought that the store was quite quirky, mostly because it was so big and had a large variety of stock. A last warning though: the (muddy and pothole-studded) car park gets very busy and difficult to navigate. I’d recommend parking on the street.

 

 

 

You can see The Salvo’s Little Shed at:
90 Coppards Rd
WHITTINGTON, VIC, 3219