My daughter, having recently been to some sort of styling course, decided we needed a mother and daughter shopping trip. Before I tell you about the shopping, I’ll firstly tell you what I know about the course that inspired it. Alice firstly had her colours done, and then was taught how to style for her body shape. Next she was taught how to shop sustainably, which in honour of reducing land fill from the rag trade, means either classic good clothing that will last a life time, or/and shopping at re-cycling shops. As she and I have similar skin tones (pink), she sent me her colour swatch and said I’d probably also suit the colours from the summer spectrum.
Before we left her home she ensured I was dressed appropriately – easy on, easy off clothes and shoes, and the all important handbag that drapes across the body. I’ll explain as we go along….. We left for Scarborough Beach Road where there just happens to be four Op shops (charity shops) almost next door to each other. On route she explained the joy she now gets from shopping second hand rather than in the new retail shops. I agreed with her 100% – new clothing retail shopping is just boring. If muted pink is the colour of the season, but you don’t happen to suit muted pink, then forget about shopping for that season – you won’t find anything else except muted pink in the shops for months. Likewise if you don’t suit skinny leg jeans, forget about shopping for jeans. I have been known to ask the shop assistant where the ’fat leg jeans are’? I was met with a blank, uncomprehending look at the time, so I went on to explain that I don’t have skinny legs, so I need some jeans for fat legs. There were none!
Anyway, back to the shopping, and the purpose of the cross over bag. Those op shops are just jam packed with clothes, so two hands are needed to put some spread between the clothes when something is spied that may be suitable. Perhaps here is a good place to tell you the apparent rules of Op shopping as related to me by my daughter:
- Use a crossover hand bag
- Wear comfortable, easy to remove clothes and shoes
- Know your colours and what suits you, but be a bit adventurous – you never know, that top that looks matronly on the rack may just look amazing on you
- Don’t look at sizes
- If you’re completely unsure, don’t buy it
And the all important rule for charity shops, and this is the rule for when you’re donating to them – only donate clothing in GOOD CONDITION that you no longer want. Put your paint stained overalls in the bin along with your $10 Kmart tank top that’s pilled and out of shape. No-one is going to buy your rubbishy clothes that should have been put in the garbage. Under no circumstances donate clothes that the charity shop is going to have to pay to discard, that’s just not charitable!
At the first shop Alice spied a pair of Italian designer turquoise shoes with a chunky heel and sole. They were in my size. “No”, I said, “I can’t walk in heels.”
“ Try them on” she insisted. So I did, and I walked around in them for a little while. Guess what, they fitted perfectly, and are very comfortable. There was a fun handbag in the same colour. Cost – $20 for the two.
Next, a Perri Cutten dress. ”I don’t know if I’d wear it”, I say.
“Try it”, she insisted. So I did, and yes I think I’ll wear it. It cost $30, so quite expensive for an Op shop dress, but hey, the same style of Perri Cutten dress is still available in the shops. If I was buying it new it would be costing me $459, so I think the $30 is worth it, don’t you.
When she pulled out a blue and white floral blouse with short sleeves, I thought she was bonkers. It looked matronly and just not my style, but I humoured her by trying it on. Guess what – it looked amazing on. (Perhaps amazing is an overstatement, but it did look really good).
I passed her things she had overlooked but I thought might look good on her, and she did the same for me. By the time we left for home we had full shopping bags, and I think at least half of what we had in our bags are things we would have overlooked had we not had the trusted inspiration of a fellow Op shopper.
Since then I’ve been to a couple more Op shops. I’ve bought size 12, 14, 16 and 18 tops, and I’ve bought a pair of size 12 jeans. I normally take a size 16 in jeans, or if I can get Sportscraft jeans, a size 15. A 14 wouldn’t normally go near me. However, I’ve always wanted a pair of, ’Not Your Daughther’s Jeans’. NYDJs are known to be generously sized and styled to fit and flatter the mature figure. So when I saw a pair of perfectly good NYDJs in a size 12, I remembered Alice telling me not to take any notice of sizes, so I gave them a go. They need taking up, but apart from that, they fit and flatter perfectly. They normally retail anywhere from $129 to $259. I paid $2.00. They’re as new almost, so you can imagine how thrilled I am with them.
Here’s a couple of pictures of the full hoard from that shopping trip, plus another couple since then.
Total cost, for 1 pair of Italian designer shoes, a handbag, a pair of NYDJs jeans, a Perri Cutten dress, and seven tops $127. Gotta love that!