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As seen online at The Sunshine Coast Daily

In the aim to lessen our fashion footprint, second-hand stores have secured themselves as stylish shopping destinations. But to simply flutter in for a quick scan will not uncover the gems.

Second-hand shopping takes patience, skill and dedication.

Yes, a scan is necessary upon arrival, but for entirely different reasons. The on-entry scan is to measure your competition before you get stuck in.

This will determine where you begin your search. If there’s a style of clothing you’ve been seeking and you spy someone a similar size as you snooping around, you must head straight to the section you’re most likely to find it. And hope your opponent hasn’t already made the discovery. This applies to anything you’re looking for; you must first look at who’s looking then plan your attack.

Second-hand shopping is not a social outing. Go alone, or with a friend who’s a dedicated op shopper, they will understand op shop etiquette and allow you to conduct your search as they do theirs, with minimum interruption. Conversation confuses your rummaging radar causing you to lose concentration. When you’re focused, you will find. It’s all there you just have to look.

Likewise, this is a no phone zone, now is not the time to take calls. While you’re fluffing around discussing what to do for dinner, someone else is stalking the shop with their eagle eyes.

Take your time to comb through everything, including the men’s section. This is not your everyday shopping excursion; you need to refine your seeking senses. Often something wonderful is hiding in the most unexpected place. Like the pair of Zimmermann shorts, I once found beneath a pile of undies. Look EVERYWHERE!

Always check the changeroom rack, often I look here first to see what someone has already found for me. What doesn’t suit them may be exactly what you’re looking for.

If you’re not yet a seasoned op shopper, look to find your fundamentals first, then build your collection on further expeditions. This will ensure you stay focused rather than overwhelmed, whilst also keeping your wardrobe in check. It’s incredibly easy for an op shoppers’ wardrobe to spiral out of control.

Trying before you buy will help you spot any flaws as well as giving you time to ponder your purchase, how does it look? Does it suit you? Or are you only excited about the label? Your focus must be on fit and quality, it’s easy to be excited by the price but if it doesn’t suit you, it’s not a bargain. However, if you try it and love it, buy it. Rarely will you get a second chance.

Finally, its crucial to dedicate time upon arriving home to look back through your buys. Trust me when I say, there’s no worse torture for an op shopper than a bag of bargains left waiting until after dinner to be upended.


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