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How to get the most from op-shopping in Canberra

Beatrice Smith

Salvos might have turned 130, but the presents are coming to us, with the launch of Canberra’s first Salvos ‘Street Boutique’ at their store in Philip last year. 

I was lucky enough to be at the celebrations, which included a workshop with sustainable fashion blogger and stylist Faye ‘Fashion Hound’ De Lanty.

Faye De Lanty

Faye De Lanty

A full house of attendees sat rapt as Faye shared her op-shopping tips, tricks and secrets in the middle of the bustling Phillip store.

What’s no secret is how much Canberrans love op-shopping.

My friends have been frequenting Salvos, Vinnies and Red Cross charity stores since high school, delighted that our dollar could go further than the sales racks at the mall. As I got older, however, it almost becomes more about ‘the chase’ – that magic moment when you’re rifling through a rack and find a last season Country Road dress that flew off the shelves before you got a chance to nab it – in your size.

The Street Boutiques will be one such place to find these brands in great condition. Created within existing Salvos stores, the boutiques will stock a curated selection of items that are handpicked for their quality, brand or style. All proceeds will still go towards the great work that the Salvos’ do in our community.

A Salvos' Street Boutique

A Salvos’ Street Boutique

We spoke to Faye at the launch and in her opinion, op shopping is one of the greatest fashion opportunities afforded to us.

Salvos Stores and I are really focused on showing people how to reuse and reduce their fashion footprint,” she explains.

“Great style isn’t about how much you spend. It’s about fine tuning your eye and your mind to understand fashion. If you don’t have a natural eye for style don’t worry, you can develop it.”

Faye de Lanty

Faye De Lanty at one of Salvos Street Boutiques

She credits British Vogue with teaching her the importance of cut, quality, styling and colour and she says it’s not all about the editorials either – even the advertisements for luxury brands can be useful.

“Chanel, for example, is famous for tweed jackets, quilted bags and stripe Breton tops,” explains Faye. “So it really is a cinch to find those pieces and recreate this iconic French look with second-hand.”

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Faye’s fashion motto is “second hand never has to mean second best” and her op shopping tips are proof that amazing purchases are out there.

A flat lay by Faye

A flat lay by Faye

FAYE’S TOP SHOPPING TIPS FOR GETTING THE MOST OUT OF OP SHOPPING

  1. Educate yourself. Read fashion magazines, look at style websites, research brands and understand cut, colour, fabric and form.
  2. Be prepared. Go shopping with an idea in mind, to avoid a feeling of overwhelm.
  3. Follow the fashion fundamentals. Seek out and stick to the classic and timeless pieces like a great pair of jeans, a white tee, a little black dress or trench coat. Once you have those you can build on trends from there.
  4. DIY and customise. You don’t have to pay hundreds of dollars for ripped denim or a bejewelled clutch when you can make it yourself.
  5. Dress for it. Wear something that’s really easy to change in and out of or wear fitted clothing so you can just try on things over the top.
  6. Shop the store. Faye explains that half of her op-shopped wardrobe is from the men’s section. You never know what you might find.
  7. Know your body and know your style. Don’t be a slave to trends and only buy what you feel looks great.
  8. Become friends with your regular op shops and get to know when they receive donations to make sure you have the freshest pick of new items.
  9. Set a good tailor on speed dial! Maybe the jacket you found has boxy shoulder pads but with a little help from a skilled tailor could become perfect!
  10. Take a took kit. Snacks, water, tape measure, inspiration pics and a wishlist are all in Faye’s bag when she hits the stores!
One of Salvo's Street Boutiques

One of Salvo’s Street Boutiques

Find out more about visiting Salvos’ Phillip Street Boutique here. For more information about Faye and her shopping tips at fashionhound.tv.

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Beatrice Smith

Bea loves that her job as HerCanberra’s Editorial Coordinator involves eating, drinking and interviewing people - sometimes simultaneously. The master of HerCanberra’s publishing schedule, she’s usually found hunched over a huge calendar muttering to herself about content balance. Otherwise you’ll find her at the movies, ordering a cheese board or ordering a cheese board at the movies. More about the Author

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