Clothes-purchasing a side-effect of my job, for sure, but it’s an expensive habit, and, you know, children, bills, life!

I don’t have a big budget at all, but I do love keeping you guys inspired and excited about your personal style journey, so I’m always looking for ways to do that a little differently.

Hello op-shopping!

I used to be a HUGE op-shopper as a teenager. I vividly remember dragging my mumma to the Vinnie’s behind the shopping centre at Caloundra on the Sunshine Coast every single time we went up there for school holidays. I’ve have a budget of $20 and I would try and get as much bang for buck as I could (is it any wonder I grew up to be a personal stylist? haha)

Since then I’ve always loved a sneaky second-hand purchase, and recently I’ve bags some great ones that I wanted to share with you, along with some tips if you want to hit the second hand stores yourself.

So here are a few of the things I’ve found recently…..

JayJays pink faux fur vest $15 – Epsom Mercy Hospice Shop

Decjuba shaggy wool jacket $35 – Epsom Mercy Hospice Shop

Unknown brand poncho $29 – Epsom Mercy Hospice Shop

I picked these three yummy jackets up for a TOTAL of $79 recently at the Epsom Mercy Hospice Shop (it’s on Queen Mary Road, opposite the cutest little Flour Mill Cafe). I was so excited to find the Decjuba jacket especially, I have the sleeveless version in black and I get compliments all the time!

So want to know a few tricks of the trade?

1. Take your time

Don’t rush. Peruse the isles if you can. Go back around and look again and just pull anything off the shelf that grabs your eye.

2. Size doesn’t matter

Usually these stores are either organized in size, or garment type. If it’s in size, look OUTSIDE your usual size range! These three pieces were all on different size racks and they all fit me!

3. Try something new

Op shopping is DEFINITELY the time to step out of your comfort zone a little more. Maybe you wouldn’t have paid full price for something new, but for a little less, it might be worth the gamble!

4. Give things a wash when you get them home

This seems like an obvious one, but I think it’s always a good idea just to give your items another clean (if you can) when you get them home. I know that op shops do their best to make sure everything is clean, but sometimes I find things just smell different so I feel better once I’VE given them the once over…. know what I mean?

Where to look:

There are SO many places to pick up something second hand. First off, the charity shops are a great place to start. Mercy Hospice, Salvation Army, SPCA stores  are just some of the amazing charities you can support by shopping there.

Savemart is a New Zealand institution (thanks Lynda for the reminder!) it’s basically a warehouse treasure-trove of second hand goodies.

Also have a look at Recycle Boutique has stores all around the country – they are great for high street and higher end (you can get a Trelise Cooper dress for less than $100!).

Recycle Style is a personal favourite of mine – she’s 100% online, and she re-stocks twice a week – but make sure you sign up to her mailing list to be the first to know, because ALL the good pieces always go super-quickly!

Former personal stylist Anna Paterson runs Everlasting, a not-for-profit that donates all its profits to charities who support women. She sells online, on her Facebook page and has pop-up sales in Auckland. I scored this colourful CottonOn Kimono and fluffy Glassons knit for about $10 each.

There are so many amazing second hand markets and fairs (I even held one at my house recently with three other amazing stylists!), just keep you eye out on Facebook and the like.

The BEST thing about shopping second hand for me, is that you know you’ll have unique pieces that you won’t see walking down the street (that can purhaps happen with current season garments). I love being able to play, and have fun, but also be conscious of both my bank balance and the sustainability of my wardrobe!

So tell me, what was YOUR best op-shop find? I’d love to know in the comments below

Until Next Time, In Love & Style Always,