Monday, 30 April 2012

A collection Nana would be proud of

Before you start getting all judgemental, no I didn’t go and steal a nanas wardrobe. I just happen to be really in love with cardigans. Their all soft and snuggly and surprisingly warm, I have a lot of woollen cardigans that I can wear in winter as well as a few cotton ones that can be worn in the warmer months.  I think what I really like about cardigans is the slouchy fit – well I personally buy them to fit like that because for me it looks better and fits in with my style of dressing better. Also the fact that they are so casual, it’s pretty much the same as wearing a woollen pull over - which is what i wear at night when i get home. Wearing a cardi is a really easy way of toning down an outfit, sometime when I look in the mirror i realize that i look really overdressed for just going to a friends, so they are a good wardrobe staple in the respect.

Charity stores are honestly the BEST place to find a cardigan, I have only ever bought one from a chain store and I no longer own it- not actually sure why I got it in the first place? I just find that op-shop ones are such a great style and fit plus they are amazing quality and last for years - i have had one of mine for nearly 3. Also I find it so annoying going in to a chain store and they are trying to charge you $60.00 for a piece of cotton to 'keep you warm' during winter, it just seems absurd, especially when you can buy a cosy woollen one for under $10?!

 Cardigans are another one of those items that there is an abundance of in op-shops; I really don’t need any more as you can see from above, but I still keep buying them! Their almost turning in to my guilty pleasure, I find myself trying to justify something that I obviously don’t need.

Cardi 1 - I got this duck egg blue Cardi form Vinnie's in Piction for $6.00. its a New Zealand Merino wool so its super warm and the fine wool means that it isn't itchy - yay. It fits me really well as it has nice tight sleeves, some cardigans can swarm smaller figures. 

Cardi 2- I got this from Porirua save mart for $6.00. I really like the plain cream strip i think it makes it that little bit more interesting. the neutral colours means it goes with anything. This Cardi is made form cotton so i normally only wear it in the warmer months. 

Cardi 3 - This Cardi is from Recycle boutique for $16.00 - recycle boutique is a second hand store not an op-shop hence the price. But  i have gotten so much wear out of it it was worth it, plus its 100% wool. I am in love with the colour, its bold with out being overpowering which i really like. 

Cardi 4 - I also got this from Recycle Boutique a few years after the red one for $17.00, i wear this all the time, the style is really flattering and the colour literally goes with everything. For me this is a wardrobe must have. Its a wool and nylon blend so its warm in winter but not too hot in spring which for me is really important as i think i would be lost with out this, i really do wear it with EVERYTHING. 

cardi 5- And finally, i got this one for $1.00 at a Vinnie's sale. Because i am not a fan of black i use this as a substitute. I also really like this as its so soft, but i'm not sure what its made of? plus its a slightly different style to my other cardigans, more fitted and not as chunky which is quite nice. 

Tips to buying cardigans
  • Think about where you want it to sit on you – I often find ones that are really long and would come to just above my knee and that’s not really a good look if you plan on wearing skirts and dresses with it.
  • Look in the men’s section
  • Choose a good colour – don’t buy the first one if you’re not so keen on the colour, you will find another one – Trust me, I would know.
  • Look at the care label to see what the material it – wool will keep you warmer. 

Sunday, 29 April 2012

ANYTHING but black - Blazers

Navy, chocolate brown, dark grey just not black! I’m not sure why, but I really dislike black, with the only exception being black jeans and heels (only some heel though). I just find black so boring and chunky. I dislike black so much that I only own 1 pair of black shoes that were gifted to me and I only kept them because they were so cute. I don’t have any black belts or bags. And as far a clothes themselves go I have one black shirt that I like because of the opaque fabric meaning it’s not so…. Black?

‘But black goes with everything!’ In my opinion so does navy and dark grey, plus these colours just add that little bit more interest to an outfit. Also black can cause so many people to look pale and washed out. Walking through town at rush hour, the pavements are literally a sea of black business suits. SO BORING! But the thing that annoys me the most is when people are wear the most stunning little floral dress that looks so elegant and then the go an through a big old black jacket on top. Why? Because black goes with everything. While it might not clash like red and green it certainly doesn’t go!

This is a blazer I picked up about a year ago at Porirua Save mart for $20.99 – again I will mention that Savemart is more expensive than your typical op-shop but it does have such an expansive range so it’s worth it, as long as you look in the cheaper stores first to see if you can’t find what you’re after. I love the colour of this blazer a nice dark grey that is still light enough for spring. Personally I prefer dark grey to navy, no particular reason just do so this was a great find. The cut of this is perfect for me, nice and fitted yet slightly less formal so I don’t look like a secretary. It lined in plain grey satin, which I think looks really nice rolled up. This Jacket is by KRISP which I have never heard of, it’s a UK brand, looked up the website doesn’t look that amazing, would be interested to see if any of you have?

Tips for buying Blazers:
Well these will sound very similar to coat buying tips. Oh well. Finding a blazer should be relatively easy as they tend to go in and out of fashion so a lot of people discard them to charity stores. 

  • Fit is extremely important.
  • Think about the look you’re going for – do you want formal and fitted, or slouchy boyfriend style?
  • SHOULDER PADS – beware.  

Saturday, 28 April 2012

What is Op-shopping?

When i started this  blog i didn't realize  that the term op-shop isn't universal. Oops. So i will do my best to come up with a definition.

Op-shopping is when you purchase items from charity stores, its very similar to thrift shopping which is what they call it in america i think? The 'Op' part of the word is short for opportunity, i guess this is because its a great opportunity to find some really nice items/garments. Also because op-shopping is buying from charity shops it gives the less fortunate an opportunity to better  themselves through the work of charities such as Salvation army because in a round about way your donating?

Any way hope this helps, if this makes no sense what so ever, which is highly likely (I'm not the best at explaining) you could try Google it.

Friday, 27 April 2012

Bag Lady?

Wearing beautifully put together clothes is all very well, but I am a strong believer that it’s the little thinks like bags and shoes that really make a person look stylish and put together.  

Op-shops generally have a great range of bags, of course there is expected amount of cheap tacky bags but there are a surprising amount of quality bags in most stores. In fact I would even go as far to say that a hand bag is the easiest QUALITY item to find, other garments like jeans and coats can be a little harder.

Real Leather. In my opinion there is nothing better. When I go shopping town I see countless bags that I love in cute styles and colours, but I HATE fake leather. That tacky brown plastic that rips and stains so easily, to be honest I don’t know why people would pay $30.00 for something that looks so tacky and won’t last when real leather is so easy to come by and so cheap!  Anyway I will stop boring you with my leather rant. 

Bag 1 - well this bag actually isn't from an op-shop.... but technically it is second hand, it was my mums and i stole it! Its about 15 Years old, real leather. the main part of the bag is a khaki green with brown leather detailing. Its beautifully lined in tartan - cute. with one zip pocket on the inside. 

Bag 2 - This bag is op-shop gold! I got it last week for $5.00 from the Newtown Vinnie's. its real leather in a dark chestnut colour, real leather for a that much is a bargain! Also on a more detailed inspection at home i realised that the bag is designer which is always a bonus and makes the extremly small price even more of a bargain. The designer is Etienne Aigner admittedly i have never herd of him but it turns out he is a European designer. But what i really love about this bag is the rectangular shape and colour. also i think the gold detailing is a nice contrast with the leather.

Bag 3 - this was the first op-shop bag i bought. its Real tan Leather, i got it from Te Aro Salvation army for $5.00.  the detailing on this bag is really nice, i also like the curved shape. And then there's that fact that i am quite partial to tan leather, so of course i like it. 

Bag 4 - This bag is from Christchurch Save-Mart for $8.00. Its a deep red snake skin look-a-like clutch with detachable chain strap in bronze. i really like the colour of this bag i'm not really in to black so that explains the abundance of brown leather bags! Also the fact that the clutch looks so old, i'm personally not  a fan of the newer modern looking clutches a lot of them look really cheap and poorly made.

Tips for hunting down a bag:

  • Make sure you check to see what the bag is made from - you don't want to pay for leather and get plastic, however you can usually tell. ultimately, if you like the look of what the bag is made form buy it!
  • Think about of you wear more brown or black when choosing a bag.
  • look on the inside to see if it has too many or not enough pockets for your liking.
  • Also look on the inside for spills and stains. 

St Vincent De Paul's AKA Vinnie's

Ahh… Vinnie’s, you really do have a special place in my heart. This is my all-time favourite op-shop (closely followed by Salvation Army). Vinnie’s is everything an op-shop should be: Clean, helpful staff, AMAZING clothes with such a range so you can have decent hunt around and cheap.. Very very cheap!

The other day while on trip down south I managed to stumble upon a store having a $1.00 SALE! And a very strange thing happened….. I only bought 2 things? Looking back I can’t believe it! I have no idea what happened? I mean for god sakes everything was $1.00, a pack of gum cost more! Typical. Sensible Anna comes out at the strangest of times.

Where to start? I have many a worthy purchase from Vinnie’s. Hmmm. Well typically, like many op-shops Vinnie’s has an amazing range of shirts so i will start with one of those: 

Black floral shirt – Picton Vinnie’s $6.00: of course what drew me to this was the fabric, black chiffon with cute little pastel flowers. I really like the way chiffon hangs and there seems to be a lot of it around in the op-shop world. Yay.

Lilac pull over jersey – Petone Vinnie’s $8.00: how could you not love this? I really love hoe the colour is so original, normally woolly jumpers are in darker more wintery tones but I think the lighter tone goes better with a dark coat? And over all it just really cute and snugly.

Khaki Green shirt - Petone Vinnie’s $6.00: I am in love with khaki. Not really sure why? Just am. I am a real fan of longer shirts that cut across the bum; I just think it’s a little more flattering? Also the fabric is quite thick, almost like denim so it will be a tad warmer in the winter months – always a bonus
Pale blue/green cardi – Picton Vinnie’s $6.00: again I really like this colour. But more importantly this is real New Zealand merino wool meaning that its super warm and amazing quality. In fact after buying this I realised that I know the brand, its super old school Te Kau. So that was a nice surprise considering their stuff costs $50.00+

Black chiffon shirt – Blenheim Vinnie’s $1.00 (YAY): what drew me to this was the really subtle stitched detailing on the shirt and the chiffon fabric. Also the cut and fit really suits me which is a bonus. I have always been a little apprehensive about wearing black I think it makes me look like I am going to a funeral? And it’s just so solid looking? But in the slightly transparent chiffon I think it works well.

So, in my opinion Vinnie’s is DEFINATLY worth a look. It’s such a bargain and they really do have a great range of clothes. Only thing is I am not sure if Vinnie’s is only an Australasian charity or worldwide? I suppose you could just Google it.

Thursday, 26 April 2012


Apologies, please try to ignore my stumpy fingers if you can…

I have a wild and crazy ring obsession. I love them! But I do have to confess my collection is mostly made up of cheap costume jewellery. But there is nothing wrong with that, it’s just that in comparison quality jewellery is so much better in very way! I even think it make you feel nicer when you wear it. Warm and fuzzes.

This ring was found by my dear mummy in the Picton junk store.  Its real silver and the gem stone is turquoise – green turquoise … strange? Not that I’m complaining, I actually like the more subtle darker green, it seems to go with more?

It was a mean bargain at $40.00. My mum wore it for few years before passing it down to me after gaining level 1 excellence in NCEA. One of the best gifts ever!  I adore this ring! Everything about it is stunning, the colour is so deep and rich and the metal detailing complements nicely. I have had countless compliments.

However admittedly, rings as nice as this for a good price are really had to come by… which is such a shame! Because not only do I love the ring itself, but also the idea that it has a storey. I think it’s cute that my mum handed it down to me, and it was found in a little seaside  junk store, but maybe that’s me just being naff? Haha. Even though they are hard to come by, it’s still worth having a look.

Make sure you check what the metal is you buying as well as the gem you don’t want to pay a small fortune for a fake!
Try it on; it will be no good if it won’t fit your fingers!
Will you wear it? Personally I don’t think I would wear a giant pink diamond? But that’s just me.

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Op-shop Gold: Winter Coat

I literally had to look for years to find a winter coat that I liked and would be warm enough in windy Welly. First, I started out looking in chain stores, they had some really amazing coats. I was especially tempted by one coat last winter in Dotti until I tried it on; I have had jerseys thicker. In a freezing southerly it wouldn’t have stood a chance. It’s a personal annoyance of mine that chain stores feel that they can use a copied design, cheap fabric which is usually super thin and then whack a $100 price tag on. So typically I started religiously hunting through the coat racks in every op-shop I could.  And I was pleasantly surprised with the amount of quality coats you could find for a decent price.  My coat that is pictured above is from Porirua Savemart for $24.99. I think that this is probably the most expensive second hand item I have ever purchased.  However admittedly Savemart is defiantly a little more pricey than your typical op-shop but they have such range of clothes so I don’t mind paying extra.  

So I got my lovely new coat home and was showing my all-knowing mother which is when she informed me how lovely my coat actually was. I know that a lot of people set out to find vintage designer gems and are really not that fussed by all the other items in op-shops. I however am not one of them. If I like it I like it, designer or not. Still it was a nice surprise to know that my coat by the Australian designer CUE, that its woollen – so now I actually know that the coat actually will be warm instead of my usual ‘well it feels pretty warm. I’ll buy it!’ and finally the most exotic detail is that the fabric was imported from Italy – fancy.

Knowing all of this is a nice bonus and resulted in me feeling rather smug about my find, but even without all of those extra details I still love this coat! It’s so snuggly and a perfect fit on me. It’s beautifully lined in a deep purple and has really cute button detailing on the cuffs. I LOVE IT. Also, it turns out that $25.00 for a designer coat made of fancy Italian wool really isn’t half bad is it? 

When it comes to op-shop coats its actually pretty easy, i mean colours are pretty limited to the normal bunch of : Brown, grey, navy and black with a few others. The main things to look out for is the cut and fabric. Try and go for wool, most coats will be of high quality but just didn't fit the previous owner or it became too outdated for them so they had to give them up. An easy way to check is to look at the care label. Fit is probably the most important aspect of buying a coat - make sure you try it on! Also make sure you consider what you will be wearing underneath - you want it a little larger if you will be wearing thick tops underneath. That's pretty much it! but a word of warning it may take a while to find a nice coat because it really does have to fit well its not like shirts or jerseys that can be worn a little bigger for a different style, but its defiantly worth it!

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Lace, Stripes and Frills

I thought that I would trawl through my ever growing wardrobe and pull out my best finds. First off I thought I would post my three most favourite tops.

So, the first top is from the Petone Red Cross shop, I bought this about a year ago? It cost me around $8.00. Its cotton knit material, which means it’s cool enough to wear in summer and can be layered in winter, so I can wear it all year round. But what I really love about this top is the asymmetric stripes and the super cute collar. I’m one of those annoying people who makes a point to be different and not follow the trends, not because I think that this will make me some kind of amazing 'Indie babe' but purely because I find it so annoying going in to town and seeing 10 girls all wearing the EXACT same outfit in varying shades! So for me I love this top because of its point of difference - it’s a rather strange material and cut, but it’s not too quirky that I look like some die hard fashion wanna-be. And to be honest there is no way that I would even consider myself fashionable, I like what I like - therefore I wear it. That’s it.

The second top is also from a Red Cross shop, this time the Newtown one – which is kind of bazar considering that I am not as fond of the red cross stores as they can be a little pricey. I have always loved lace and the patterns it creates, so when I stumbled across this for $6.00 I had to have it. The thing that I love most about this top is the high neckline and the lace design. Because lace is a transparent fabric it can look a little skanky if worn tight and low cut as well as being see through, having the high neckline makes it slightly more modest - slightly. In the past I have bought other lace tops with more delicate small designs, but I actually really like the larger design it moves it away from the generic lace that chain stores use repeatedly.

And finally the third top, a pretty frilly little number from none other than the Salvation Army for $6.00. This cute button up shirt is in a nice silky fabric that’s in matte - because no one wants to look like she’s out wearing nanas pyjamas. I am really not a pink fan, but I actually really quite like this shade... I was trying to think of a way to describe it: it’s sort of pink with a hint of grey?  Because that sounds really nice doesn’t it? * Sarcasm*
I am such a sucker for embellished collars, I have seen quite a few during my op-shop rounds but I have never been that compelled to buy one? Until I found this one. I just love everything about it – colour, cut, fabric. Also I think it has just the right amount of frill? Because again, I don’t really want to look like a doily.

I defiantly think that if you are going to take up second hand shopping shirts are a great place to start, there are so many hidden beauties, I always find myself making a mental note:  ‘ Now, Anna.. No matter how beautiful or cheap or original any shirt you find is – YOU DON’T NEED IT! Back away slowly….’ And what do I do? Go in and but two new shirts! So there really is an abundance. Personally I like to look for a great shape or fabric when looking for shirts – there are so many amazing 80’s printed shirts that I find are really easy to wear with a cute skirt or pair of skinny jeans. This is also a really easy way to start finding and wearing second hand items.

Final tips:
  • Sometimes a shirt that is a few sizes too big can still work with a belt or just baggy over leggings?
  • Make sure when trying on you roll up the sleeves, a lot of shirts sleeves may be too big and loose swamping your figure rolling the sleeves helps to avoid this.
  • Look in the men's section! I have found countless pieces of op-shop gold in the men's section, defiantly worth a look.

First Things First

So, this blog is dedicated to all things pre-loved and vintage. I will be posting all of the op shop gold I find on this blog to hopefully inspire others to take up this freakishly addictive pass time! However, unlike many of my other addictions op-shopping is actually beneficial, buying second hand is great for the environment and what not because it cuts down the carbon foot print, also it reduces the need for slave labour - GENIUS! So really it’s a community service... kind of? Not that I really need much encouragement, in the past two weeks I managed to pick up 11 new items to add to my wardrobe, all for a grand total of $55.50 - bargain!
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