While I’ve always been thrifty, it was when I was l living overseas on a tight budget that hitting the charity stores became essential for me.
I would scour the pages of Vogue (aka my bible), study the trends and designer aesthetics, then dream up ways to recreate what I would see.
I began developing an unintentional “eco chic” ... not only did I save a stack of cash but people kept asking where they could get these designer finds too.
Ahead of National Op Shop Week (which kicks off with a great pop-up in Paddington, Sydney on Sunday), here are my tips to get you up to sustainable speed
1. Do your Googles, mate
Spend time exploring the internet, look at street style, fashion publications, blogs, read magazines, explore fashion history, take an interest in style.
The more you know the better you can become at recreating all those expensive and divine designer looks.
For example, take a look at Chanel … what is this iconic French fashion house famous for?
Founder Coco Chanel made pearls, tweed jackets and quilted bags with chain straps famous. To this day, these elements are there in every collection creative director Karl Lagerfeld delivers.
So if you want a slice of the Chanel pie without the big spend, take some inspiration pictures with you and hunt for these items in your local op shop.
Start with a simple white tee and distressed denim, then add a chic black heel, black tweed blazer, a string of pearls and a replica quilted bag, et voila — designer on a dime.
I can easily find this look for $50 in an op shop, sometimes for even less.
2. Go by feel
When op shopping I always aim to seek out superior fabrics, cuts and details. Most of us can tell when something seems a little bit special, keep an eye out for those pieces.
Natural fibres like silk, wool, leather and linen will always hold their shape and last season after season, so if you see these definitely take a closer look.
Choosing quality over quantity is the simplest way to look effortlessly more expensive without having to break the bank.
3. Keep it simple
Treat op shopping like a normal shopping experience, don’t just buy a bunch of stuff because it’s cheap, be discerning. Think about what you really need and would honestly wear, what suits your lifestyle and your shape.
Hunt for classic pieces like a great blazer, cool distressed denim, a stripe tee, black skinnies, a pencil skirt or a trench coat.
These pieces are timeless and will work season after season, when you have a basic palate you can inject trends and your personality from there by way of accessories and accents.
4. Craft-ernoon it
Diving into a little bit of DIY is a super easy way to emulate the trends for less
When you break down a lot of the runway and celebrity looks, they can be quite simple.
Gucci’s patchwork denim and embellished bags, big time florals at Balenciaga, fringing at Fendi, if you ask me why would you spend $1000 for the privilege when you can do it yourself for around $50?
Hit your local op shop, snap up a preloved denim jacket and then have a look at your local craft store for cool patches, then all you need is some craft glue and a few simple stitches to hold them in place.
5. Have a dressmaker on speed-dial
Apart from altering your perception about op shops (they are totally filled with modern and on trend pieces) altering your clothes is a nifty little trick to look super chic on a budget.
I found an authentic Dior homme mens suit jacket at a Sydney Salvos Store. It fit me perfectly through the body, but it was a little big on the shoulders.
Rather than dismissing it, I had my trusty dressmaker slightly adjust it in this area and it then became a perfect fit
The blazer cost me $30, Jan’s dressmaking services cost me $15 … so I scored a stunning designer piece for just under $50!
Tailoring to suit still ends up being way cheaper than the original price of the designer item.
If you’d like to shop some of the best Salvos Stores finds, and meet Faye, she has teamed up with Wardrobe Crisis author Clare Press for a three-day event as part of National Op Shop Week. Salvos Curated is an exhibition, concept store and upcycling workshop. More than 2,000 garments will be on sale each day, hand-picked from Salvos Stores by De Lanty and Press, along with an auction of “one-off” personally selected items donated by prominent Australian designers, celebrities and fashion editors. For all the detail on this and the national campaign visit http://salvosstores.salvos.org.au...Read more