Jane Pike gives the insider's guide to op
All for the price of a coffee.
''How's my new dress, honey?'' I say to my husband, twirling
around the kitchen. I barely come up for air, continuing to
whizz around in a sexy-but-not-slapperish 1950s movie
I finally stop twirling.
''Five dollars!'' I squeak, before he's even had a chance to
reply. My face is quite animated now.
''FIVE DOLLARS!!!'' Slightly louder that time. I'm too dizzy
to be quite sure, but I am certain he is sharing my
''I mean, that's a coffee, right? A coffee! And I have this
forever. For-ev-ver. FOR THE PRICE OF A COFFEE! In your face,
mass production chain stores!''
Clearly, in such moments, I am hard pressed to love myself
more. For me, op shopping is a rather huge thumbs up, a rage
against the machine and a given destination of unadulterated
delight. It becomes a certain smugness, a vague waft of
never-pay-full-price, finder-of-great-secrets superiority
only known to those truly dedicated to the craft.
If there is any way to assert your own sense of personal
style, then op shopping is surely it. But for the
unconfident, the unsure, or the uninitiated, such territory
can be daunting. You need a road map, a friendly prod, a
what's what and what's not flick in the right direction.
And so here they are, my five tips for vintage and op
shopping. You know, I'm kind of an expert.
(***self-proclaimed, conditions apply).
1. Know what suits you
Just like in any ''regular'' store, the lure of secondhand
shopping can be even more overwhelming because clothing is no
longer as defined by price. In general, everything is a lot
more purchasable, and consequently a lot more
Be really clear - fashion is for you. It's your personal
style. It is not what the magazines tell you, or what you
think you should be. Find the colours that suit you, the
shapes that suit you, and run with it. If you make a mistake,
who cares! You probably paid next to nothing, so donate it
back and start over. Be a rebel! You look great, by the way.
2. You don't have to buy something just because it's
I know, I know. The temptation is massive but you really
don't have to buy something just because you can. If I
experience any sort of indecision, I try to picture it
hanging among all the things I already have.
Am I likely to pick it out over my other options? If the
answer is no, I leave it. Take a deep breath and put that
puppy back on the rack. It was probably the type of material
that smelt in the heat anyway. Nasty.
3. Be your own designer
Things may not fit your booty exactly as you find them but
fear not - you can probably adjust them. If you are anything
like me and find sewing needles are just fine, pointy
instruments of torture, find someone fabulous who can do the
dirty work for you. Go in with open eyes.
If you spot some spanking hot material but the dress is five
sizes too big, look to get it tailored. Or if something is
slightly dull, accessorise a little. Such embellishments will
earn you bonus kudos on the op shop score-o-meter also.
4. Not everything is ''Vintage''
Let's be clear: crusty and old does not equal vintage. A
simple exercise in imaginative time travel should clear up
any questions here. Study the item carefully, then close your
eyes, and imagine yourself wearing it.
Now transport yourself to a scene in the era of your choice
wearing this particular item of clothing. Do you fit in and
look fabulous? Or are you actually starring in a bad 1980s
sitcom? If the first option applies, congratulations! Go
forth and purchase. Otherwise, sit down and have a good, long
think about what led you to pick up that item in the first
5. If you love it, buy it
Simple! Take that bad boy to the counter and seal the deal.
Your work here is done.
- Purakaunui writer Jane Pike is addicted to fashion,
being a mum and not taking herself too seriously.