Optimise your op-shopping

Chanel flap handbag
Picked up this beauty at Portobello Market in London. It was a little expensive, but soooo worth it!
Chanel flap handbag
Picked up this beauty at Portobello Market in London. It was a little expensive, but soooo worth it!


I constantly hear how lucky I am in my op-shopping. Friends are always amazed that I find something in my size, or that is a designer brand, or is really original. I thought I would address this issue, because it’s not just luck. I also thought I’d discuss it because it fits nicely with Buy Nothing New Month.

Before I delve into this topic, remember that op-shopping is a serious hobby of mine. I visit a lot of op-shops, markets and vintage stores on my days off. I also usually visit several in a day.

It also pays to remember that I don’t always find something. Usually I keep a specific lookout for designer gear in any form. For example, out of the hundreds of times I’ve been op-shopping, I have bought about ten authentic designer hand bags.

I love the searching though, and the excitement if you do find something.

Beautiful silk French jacket
I had to leave this silk jacket behind because it was just a touch too small!

So here are my tips to optimise your op-shopping!

  1. Spend some time in the shop. Don’t just rush through and glance over everything! Half the stuff I find is at the bottom of bins and baskets, and you need to look below the surface items.
  2. Go to an area where there is more than one op-shop, so you can visit a couple. You have more chance of finding something you like if you visit three op-shops rather than one.
  3. This may sound like an obvious one, but try clothes and accessories on! There is no difference in buying a $300 leather jacket to buying a $40 one in an op-shop. The same rules apply even if it’s cheap – make sure it fits, is comfortable and flatters your figure. If you don’t try things on, you end up with excess clothes that just take up closet space (trust me on this one, I know what I’m talking about!).

    Camel neck top (poncho/capelet style)
    I searched all over Europe for something like this, and ended up buying this one in a charity store in London.
  4. On a similar note, buy things you like – don’t just buy them because they’re cheap. And always check for broken zippers, stains etc!
  5. The beginning to middle of the week is prime time for op-shopping! People who work full-time will make their donations on the weekend and the staff/volunteers will sort through it on Monday and Tuesday. You can expect new stock to hit the ‘floor’ late Monday arvos.
  6. I always make a point of carefully checking all display windows and having a sift through the jewellery trays. Just last week I saw a silver Tiffany & Co. bracelet for $15. Which leads me to my next pointer…
  7. Know your brands! Have a look on brand websites to get an idea of what to look for if you’re thinking to buy designer. I saw an almost perfect Louis Vuitton replica wallet on Chapel Street the other day – it came with the box and everything! On closer inspection though, the dust bag wasn’t in the correct LV style. This op-shop had $75 on it, and that’s a lot of money to spend on a second-hand fake.
  8. Don’t judge a book by it’s cover. Just because an op-shop looks small and dingy doesn’t mean it they don’t have anything nice. The same goes for suburbs and towns – my mum found me an authentic LV wallet for 50c at a carboot sale in Ocean Grove. (A classic monogram wallet –  it matches my new Speedy perfectly!)
  9. If you see something interesting in a display, ask to see it straight away or pick it up! I got beaten to a Chanel scarf once because I stopped to look at something else. Or if you’re a bit unsure about buying something, you could do what I do and think to yourself, ‘well if it’s still there when I get back it’s a sign I’m meant to buy it!’
  10. Have fun op-shopping! Stop for coffee and enjoy yourself. I genuinely love just meandering around op-shops and markets, because you never know what you may find. Luck may have a little bit to do with my op-shopping success, but I’d be more inclined to think it’s because I’m an op-shop addict.

For more tips and pointers, I really like these articles:




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