If Macklemore taught us anything during his brief but incontestable reign over the radio, it’s that thrift shopping—correction, op shopping—is f**kin’ awesome. And while spending twenty bucks at a fast-fashion store does more harm than good, at Auckland op shops that twenty goes towards the community, charities, reduces waste, and gives you bragging rights because—oh, these? They were seven dollars.
So, give your wardrobe a cheap-as-chips refresher and pop some tags at the best op shops in Auckland next time you find $20 in your pocket.
The good folks at Mercy Hospice heard the cries of the fashion-starved and whipped up a pandemic-proof online store. You can now take a deep dive into their vintage and designer wardrobes—updated weekly—from the comfort of your couch. Score.
Northcote, New Lynn, Onehunga, Manurewa, Takanini
Got some time up your second-hand sleeve? SaveMart is your warehouse wonderland. Think threads for all occasions: chill, fancy, workout, corporate, the enigma that is ‘smart casual’, even wedding attire. There’s always a solid assortment of shoes and bags, and an impressive range of clothing for kids too. Most pieces are around the seven dollar mark, with designer labels pricing a little higher.
St Vincent De Paul Society
The members and volunteers at St Vincent de Paul Society work hard to promote human dignity and personal integrity and you can make a difference, too, with your small change. Their Mangere Bridge store gets a thumbs up from us for great store layout. It’s cosy, not cramped, with great bargains to be had. This spot has good reviews and deserves them.
Paper Bag Princess
Paper Bag Princess has a charm to it that we love and we always find something delightful every time we pop by. Whether you want glittery dresses, a statement tee, quirky vintage throwbacks or a fine pair of trousers, Paper Bag Princess has you covered. The staff are lovely too and at-the-ready with great styling advice. Come armed with a whole lot of ‘I can’t believe this is second hand!’
Balmoral, Royal Oak & Onehunga
A purchase at the Sallies helps to kick poverty to the curb and end social and spiritual distress for people in need so you can feel pretty happy about snagging that rad onesie. While there are stores dotted all over Auckland we love the variety of clothing at the Royal Oak, Onehunga and Balmoral stores, and the latter has great shoes and bric-a-brac too.
Otara, North Shore, Henderson, Panmure & Pukekohe
Habitat for Humanity's ReStores has everything and the kitchen sink. This is next level op-shopping with wicked clothing, great kitchenware, nice glass stuff, doors and vintage gems. And all purchases go towards supporting Habitat for Humanity on their mission to build homes, community and hope. Not bad, Habitat, not bad.
Dominion Road, Onehunga & Panmure
All proceeds from Red Cross op shops go towards providing humanitarian aid and support in our local and global communities. Hit their Dom Road store for an amazing selection of kitchenware, Panmure for good appliances and well-priced furniture, and Onehunga for a massive range of clothes.
GoJo Recycled Store
Twenty bucks probably won’t go that far at GoJo Recycled Store but it’s still worth checking out their sale rack, vintage scarf selection or joyfully obscure jewellery collection for bargains. For the more baller op shoppers among us, this emporium of retro and vintage clothing’s full range will not disappoint.
Dove Hospice Mega Store
Love op shopping but find yourself fighting the urge to reorganise the store? The coloured dot pricing system and delightfully logical layout at Dove Hospice Mega Store will make you weak at the knees. Highlights from our last visit include their enviable crockery range, a partially stained minion onesie and a pair of what we could only assume were sushi shop uniforms. Did we mention proceeds go towards supporting people affected by life-threatening illnesses?
SPCA Op Shop
The SPCA Op Shop lets you enjoy all the wonders of op shopping with the added bonus of helping some furry critters. Their Onehunga store is a cute one with great bric-a-brac for all those who love to rummage and friendly staff. Score a neat jumper with a side of warm fuzzies.
Honourable Mentions: Tatty’s & Recycle Boutique
CBD & Ponsonby/Newmarket (respectively)
These consignment-based recycle stores are great if you’re looking to on-sell your pre-loved designer pieces or coveted vintage treasures. We love that Tatty’s and Recycle Boutique give people the opportunity to make money by keeping clothing out of landfills. If the seller chooses, unsold items are passed onto op shops and local charities, both strengthening the second-hand supply chain and clothing people in need. Unable to get to a store? You'll be stoked to know that Recycle Boutique are now online, too.
Looking for a retro graphic tee or killer Levi's? Check out Auckland's best vintage stores.
Image credit: Cottonbro