In the words of Macklemore, one man’s trash is another man’s come up. And heading into the layer-heavy autumn and winter seasons, Macklemore's 2012 rumination still has some underrated merit. There will be two distinct camps: the spenders and the spendthrifts. Some are never going to make it to a Coachella mosh. But the cunning ones will harness the musky, eclectic glory of the op shop to safeguard their pennies.
Get a fur coat on and let the crawl commence. These are some of the best Op Shops in Melbourne.
Retrostar Vintage Clothing
Opening up shop in 2002, RetroStar Vintage Clothing is now hailed the largest vintage store in Melbs. Their specialty? All things 1940s through to 1990s (hello JT-and-Brit-worthy denim ensembles). It’s a maze of clothes, shoes, bags and bling.
CBD, Fitzroy, Windsor
The thrifty breed of shopaholics behind Vintage Sole have been in the biz of garnering vintage clothing, footwear and accessories for over a decade now. Think of all the retro sunnies you’ve seen swathing the ‘gram lately, rolled out with other gold nuggets in stores that’ll make your hearts go pitter patter.
Professional hunters and gatherers, Shag’s vintage finds are hallmarked by a zany, technicolour trend. We’re talking endless embellishments, out-there ear candy, and if you’re planning on time-travelling anytime soon to a sequin-clad era, just get yourself in here.
A jewel in the crown of the second-hand fashion arena, Hunter Gatherer has operated under the Brotherhood of St Laurence to bring traditional vintage clothing together under a canopy of neon signage. So next time you’re admiring the impossibly-cool dressing of Fitzroy locals, head to HG and find your own Grandma-chic groove. We know you already have a brunch date a few streets away.
Windsor, Bendigo, Richmond, Northcote, Kyabram
This story is pretty heartwarming one. We aspire to be as savvy and altruistic as the crew behind Storehouse Thrift, a bunch of do-gooders working to combat addiction in adolescents. You know that shopping through these garments will not only perfect your Cher à la Clueless Wardrobe Master Plan (still so very cool) but also help a heck load of people.
Pre-loved pieces are rocking the racks at Secondo. WARNING: This one will get severely expensive, so if you’re looking for a $-saving rummage, take your pennies elsewhere. If, however, you’re into all things consignment clothing, they’ve got a whimsical assortment of high fashion to sieve through.
Cheltenham Opportunity Shop
There’s a trove of miscellaneous goods at the humble Cheltenham Opportunity Shop. While clothing and accessories are on offer here, the knick-knacks and ornamental trinkets steal the show. Give that room revamp some vintage vibes—this is the stuff you can’t find in IKEA's Smols section (homeware-y heaven of small items).
Toorak Opportunity Shop
Yeah, it’s a huge oxymoron. Toorak might be the last place you’d think to hit the ground running for some op shop hopping. But you'll be surprised to know the Toorak Opportunity Shop only stocks its shelves with an impressive league of quality, cared-for and preserved goodies that you’d swear were untouched.
The Posh Opp Shop
All of the loot you swipe at The Posh Opp Shoppe will go towards children living with disabilities. Sweet op-shop bargains for a good cause—that's the dream, right? These guys offer up a range of toys, children and adults clothing, jewellery and heaps more. Bring a big bag.
Red Cross Op Shops
These guys have a simple mantra to help you remember the difference between ‘donation’ versus ‘bin it’ pile: ‘If it’s good enough to give to a friend, it’s something we’d love’. The profits made here go to a whole crop of great causes, including disaster relief abroad. Take a stroll through a Red Cross Op Shop wonderland and you’ll get your Splendour get-up sorted while doing a good deed.
Hey, studious folks. Our favourite thing about Salvos Stores across Melb is their almighty student discount day. Yup. Every Wednesday, show your student card to save 20% off your haul and find a sensational outfit for that next Uni booze cruise you’re boarding. Our pick? Cheltenham. Just a stone’s throw from the shopping cosmopolis of Westfield. Definitely add this to your weekend to-do.
Chapel Street Bazaar
Do you know that scene from Wild Child where Emma Roberts and her posse have a shopping spree-turned-music-video moment in the British op shop? You can recreate that at the Chapel Street Bazaar. It’s a cacophony of crockery, crystals, dolls, shoes, clothes and jewels, but spliced into stalls by passionate purveyors, like an antique mini-mall.
Sacred Heart Mission Op Shops
If you purchase a distressed, brown satchel from the South Melb Sacred Heart window for 8 dollars, you’ll have just funded 2x three-course meals to someone in need. Mind-boggling but completely legitimate. Stock is sorted and displayed on a daily basis, which is also pretty bloody impressive. We’d recommend turning to these guys when embarking on a leather hunt, or simply in the mood for a good convo with the dedicated and chatty retailers.
The Vinnies Op Shops pepper our city like little gold deposits with pristine window displays and oodles of bargains. They’re clean and specialise in sifting through hoards of donations to weed out the best stuff for you. Special mention to the huge collection of crockery and adorbs kids’ clothing at the Hampton fixture. Very good for fitting out shared house kitchens. Live it, learn it.
Family Life Opportunity Shops
While all of the Family Life Op Shops do their bit at assisting vulnerable families in our city, the Highett trove also hosts a PeopleWorx program. Basically, they help people develop customer service skills and retail experience to assist them in their search for full-time employment. That’s worthy of some applause. The shop sells furniture, books, clothing and electrical goods—you know the drill.
If you're on a budget, you'll be pleased to know that there are plenty of free things to do around Melbourne every month.
Image credit: Prudence Earl