|My lovely Ma|
So once I got my op shopping groove back (ie got myself a job!) I started coming home with bits and pieces from the various local oppies around her area. I think she was like a lot of people I know, aware that op shops are around, but not really too sure of their amazing offerings (or their bargain prices) and not really into exploring them.
These days it’s a very different story, as soon as she sees me wearing or using something “new” Mum just rolls her eyes and says “don’t tell me, you got that at an op shop?”. You bet Ma!
Now it seems she's keen to do a bit of thrift exploring herself, it was her who suggested coming over to my side of the river for a little mother/daughter thrifting time just recently!
Anyway, onto the review! I had previously come across the second hand wonders of High Street in Fremantle a little while ago, when I took my 10 year old niece down that way for lunch. Unfortunately she was much more interested in finding Diva, so our op shop exploration was kinda cut short, although I did manage to come away with a wonderful Ironstone tea set thanks to the amazing Vinnies Retro in Fremantle.
And since that day, I have been more than curious to return to this delightful shop.
So, for those of you who may not be aware, Vinnies Retro is an offshoot of the regular Vinnies stores scattered around the place. There are actually two Vinnies Retro centres in Perth, the other one situated in Northbridge. I will admit that sometimes some of the regular Vinnies stores haven’t really inspired me – and it’s not that they aren’t great shops, it’s just some of them tend to cater for a bit of an older crowd (think Millers shirts and Avon talc). So it was a surprise to step back in time, in a good way!
This place is fun, funky and fabulous! The shop windows alone were worthy of our lengthy admiration, but once I had spotted the glass & porcelain, it didn’t take long to pull Mum in with me. We headed straight to the bric-a-brac section which – whilst not huge – is (in my eyes) wonderful. The stuff here is branded, dated, retro and really really well priced. I was able to grab myself a Colclough teacup with purple irises for $5 (to complete the plates I picked up at the Sammy’s in Vic Park – remember??!), 2 x Johnson Bros platters for $5 each and a set of (slightly damaged) Bohemia glass bowls all for $6 – hello 70’s amazingness!!!!!!!!!!!
After ascertaining that all of these items were of absolute necessity, I was able to leave them with the lovely ladies at the counter and move onto the apparel. Mum and I had a ball. The store is sectioned off into areas such as 60’s/70’s/ 80’s and then broken down again into coats, jumpsuits, blouses etc etc. There is so much to check out at this place, whoever is involved in the design and running of this store has got it figured out. It just appeals.
Even the change rooms are fun, being decked out in lacquered montages of retro and vintage images (complete with a warning of “no photography” too – put camera away Kel…).
Ladies, you can safely bring your men here too, as they are extremely well catered for. During our venture, there were guys buying items from duffel coats to shirts with sailboats emblazoned on them. It’s an interesting enough place for him to browse while you shop….and hopefully come away with something himself.
So, once Mum and I got over the glitter and the glam, we got stuck into a bit of rummaging, I ended up with a couple of coats and shirts to try on, and Mum a couple of vintage waistcoats. I tried on some weird and wonderfuls, which I feel you gotta do in this shop. And whilst I probably knew I would never be able to pull some of the looks off, I was willing to give them a go. So this brings you to my:
Op Shop Rule No 7: Experiment! I am the first to admit that even though I LOVE vintage fashion to a fault, it doesn’t necessarily mean it suits me. But op shopping has really opened up my fashion eye and I’m finding half the fun of op shopping is having the opportunity to give anything a go. My motto is that if you buy it, wear it and love it, it will bless you in return. You might find you get a lot of admiration for your piece, as well as probably owning something that you're not going to see on anyone else too soon.
These unique pieces create conversations, they creat curiosity, they encourage others to try recycled fashion too. And worst case scenario, if you buy it, wear it and hate it, it should have hopefully only cost you a relatively small fee so it’s not a major loss – and hey, you can donate it back to charity again for someone else!
Did I ever think I would come away with a 70’s Park Avenue blush coloured blouse for $12? No. Did I ever think I would be wearing a cropped Perri Cutten jacket for $20? Uh uh. Would I even think about buying myself a 1980’s blue striped chiffon Target shirt (complete with shoulder pads) for $12? Get outta here. But you know what? I have and I love them (well, except maybe the shoulder pads haha).
So my advice to you is to experiment, don’t let department stores tell you what’s fashionable, today’s style is about confidence and uniqueness. Op shopping allows you the advantage of perusing a myriad of fashions and trying what works and what doesn’t, at a fraction of the cost. It's kinda how this blog got it's name!
So I came away pretty excited by my bric-a-brac and clothes, and Mum with a wonderful embroidered waistcoat for $12. Hey Mum, I forgot to ask, have you worn it yet??
I’m ultra keen to check out the Northbridge store, and can also say I will be heading back to this one. The one thing I will say/warn is that given it’s a “specialist” op shop of sorts, prices are a little higher than your regular shops, but please don’t let that put you off, you are going to find some true one of a kind quality items here.
Also, this is not a place you will come to find your "plainer" type of clothing items, if that's what you are after. If you do just need a pair of slacks or a white blouse, visit a regular Vinnies store instead. Here is where you come for something much more original.
So whether you rate yourself as funky or not, Vinnie’s Retro is a place to check out. It’s a step back in time alright, and it’s damn cool. Just like my Park Avenue blouse….I don’t care what anyone says!
Try Another Vinnies for: Everyday wear
Shop 2/142 High Street
Open: Mon-Fri 9-4.30pm / Sat 9-3.30pm / Sun 11-5pm
HOLD THE PRESS - VINNIES SIGNED FINDS!
The Vinnies have been collecting shirts from some of the coolest local and international music acts and are hiding them throughout Australian centres! To get in on the hunt, and grab yourself a piece of musical history, head over to www.signedfinds.com.au (or visit the facebook page) to get information on the treasure closest to you. Two Door Cinema Club, Boy N Bear, Cloud Control, Tim Rogers, The Deftones.....what an amazing concept!