One of a kind stories

Top Tips for Op Shopping


The days are longer, the air is warmer... spring is finally here! It’s the perfect time to clear out your old items and make way for new op shop finds (well, new to you at least).

For some, op shopping is a much-loved hobby. They can walk into any small thrift shop, or huge warehouse-style Salvos and flick through the racks with ease. Just by looking at the dress/jacket/top they can get a sense for if it’ll fit. If it’ll flatter them. If they’ll feel great in it. 

For others, the racks brimming with pre-loved clothing are intimidating. It’s difficult to know where to start browsing and near-impossible to decide if it’s worth trying something on. 

If you fall into the second camp, we’ve got a few simple tips that will turn your op shop pit stops into the exciting thrift-ventures they should be.

1. Get a feel for the garment

It sounds simple but take a moment to actually feel the fabric of the item you’re considering before you bother trying it on. Is it soft? Does it stretch? Is it see-through? For bonus points, check the care label. It’ll give you a quick snapshot into whether you need to hand-wash a piece, dry-clean it or (fingers crossed!) can chuck it in the machine. The care label will also let you know what it’s made of – is it mainly natural fibres like cotton, linen or wool, or is it synthetic (which may irritate those with sensitive skin). A blend of both is often the case, and usually delivers the best of both worlds.

2. Know your colours 

All Salvos Stores are colour coded, which not only looks really pretty but allows you to head straight for the hues that work for you. The colours that show off your complexion and work best with your hair. The colours that make you ‘pop’. If you usually shop the same hues out of habit, or aren’t sure what your colours are, this article is a great way to get acquainted with your complimentary rainbow shades.

3. Size it up 

Thrift shops are filled with clothes ranging from BNWT (brand new with tags) to true vintage finds that have survived the decades, and much like trends that have evolved over the years, so have the way designers and brands size garments. You may be a certain size in today’s world, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that a vintage garment in that same size will fit just as well.

Although nothing beats trying a garment on (whether that’s in a change room, or at home when purchased), there are a few ‘size at first sight’ tips to keep in mind.

  • Don’t limit yourself to your current size. Labels are almost meaningless while thrifting, so look at the garment’s shape over its size tag.
  • It sounds obvious, but hold it up to yourself while on the hanger. The waist and length can be checked in moments with a quick hanger test.
  • Think outside the box. If it’s a shirt or blouse you love but it’s too small, could you wear it open over a tee? If you find jeans that fit perfectly but are too long, could you chop the hems off? Your only limit is your imagination when it comes to thrift style.

We hope these short and sweet thrift-tips inspire those new to op shopping. To share your own hacks, tag @SalvosStores on Instagram – we can’t wait to see them!