Op shop fashion: how to shop like a stylist second hand

We asked the head of our shops, Pauline, to share some of her best tips:

Looking for a fun, affordable past-time?

How about a new pair of jeans for a couple of bucks?

There are tonnes of advantages to op shopping – more than just picking up a dynamite pre loved item.

When you shop second-hand, you divert clothing from landfill, use resources that are already available, give a garment another life, donate to charity, and decrease the demand for fast-fashion.

You’re doing something truly amazing!

You also never know what you’re going to find in an op shop and Aussies are picking up on the fun of thrift shopping.

The shopping experience is popular among families, uni students, treasure hunters, and hipsters to name a few, and Melbourne clocks in as the number one thrift shopping capital of Australia!

The trend is spreading like wildfire and the results are overwhelmingly positive.

According to statistics website, ID: The Population Experts, op shops diverted more than 530,000 tonnes of clothing and other donated items from going into landfill in 2015-16.

Want to learn how to become an expert op shopper and look like fashion icon while giving back to the community? We’ve thrown together our top tips for shopping like a stylist – second hand!

Size doesn’t always matter

Close up photo of a torso wearing pink draped dress and leather jacket

We all search for our size when shopping for clothing or shoes. We get used to shopping at regular retailers who stock a range of sizes – something is bound to fit!

However, op shop clothing and shoes are often unique, one-of-a-kind finds. There aren’t going to be multiple, carbon-copies of the same item.

Don’t be afraid to stray away from your regular size. Here are a few ideas for items that look great oversized:

  • Trench coats
  • Denim jackets
  • Leather jackets
  • Mom jeans
  • Boyfriend jeans
  • Knitted sweaters
  • Hoodies
  • Flowy dresses
  • Scarves

Next time you’re op shopping, try on bigger jackets, shirts, sweaters, and jumpers with skinny jeans. You can tuck shirts into a pair of pants or a skirt, wrap a belt around an oversized jacket or dress for a fitted waist, and even wear a giant shirt as a dress.

There are a hundred and one ways to repurpose a size that doesn’t fit like a dream. Want to find the best oversized, pre loved clothing in Newcastle? Head over to our ever-popular blog, the best op shops in Newcastle.

Woolly jumpers are a major staple – especially for winter

Woman faces camera wearing knitted jumper

If there’s one thing op shops have an abundance of, it’s knitted sweaters (or, as we Aussies like to call them, “woolly jumpers”).

You’re bound to find a few hand-knitted sweaters from Nanna, preloved turtlenecks from retail stores like Cotton On, Factorie, and Supre, plus classic sweaters from the 1970s and 1980s with a headache inducing pattern…

…but that’s how you want them.

Life is too short to wear boring sweaters and according to fashion experts Who What Wear, the haute couture world 100% reflects that!

Fashion icons are wearing bell-sleeved sweaters, balloon-sleeved sweaters, baggy turtlenecks, grandpa cardigans, and bright coloured stripy sweaters, just like the 90s.

Pop into one of our op shops throughout New South Wales and pick up a sweater! Find a store near you here.

Find retro accessories to finish off your look

There’s a treasure trove of retro jewellery to be found in the glass cabinets at the counter of an op shop.

Think giant pearl earrings, bright coloured shapes and plastics, plus massive beaded necklaces that were sure to have been worn at a disco in the 1980s.

Pair these pieces with a plain black dress, jacket, or top with a low neckline, and you’ve got yourself some $0.50 statement jewellery!

Remember to give back

People sit in circle on grass with bare hands and feet

Op shopping, thrifting, or second-hand rummaging can be a major treasure hunt. There’s nothing more exciting than heading into an op shop and picking up a preloved designer jacket, high fashion pair of shoes, or even some vintage chic homewares.

However, it’s important to remember that op shops need donations, too. Instead of throwing out old clothes, shoes, books, toys, and more, think about whether they’re good enough to be resold – then you can donate them to an op shop like Samaritans.

Donating old goods gives them another life and also has the potential to make students, children, and families a lot happier from your donation.

Before your next op shop treasure hunt, remember to take a bag of your old stuff with you. It’s a golden opportunity to donate to a wonderful cause!

Want to pick up some hidden gems from one of our op shops? Find a store near you!