The many benefits of op-shopping over being a chainstore fiend.

There are a lot of style experts. Some more educated than others – from the working slaves of the fashion industry to the judgmental-eyed people having coffee on the street. I belong to neither of these groups. I just enjoy choosing what to wear. But if there is one piece of advice that I would give to you, it would be that, style cannot be bought. It can only be owned.

I don’t believe it is where you shop, or how much money you spend, or what label your dress is. For me, it is about how you put it together, how good and decidedly confident you feel when you are wearing it.

Today, I caught up with a friend for coffee on Rundle St. It was a last minute catch-up, so I threw on random items of clothing to leave the house. I wore a maroon and white vertical striped shirt over a white dress emblazoned with an image of the vivacious disaster that was Sid & Nancy. I threw on my standard black Chuck Taylor’s, and left. My friend complimented my outfit, which was overjoying as he is more than definitely one of the most stylish people I know. We sat and drank and chatted in a side alley off of Rundle St, then on my way back to my car, I got handed two compliments, one regarding my dress (I’ll admit, it’s damn cool), and an off-the-cuff remark from a fashionable and handsome young gentleman (“Dude, sweet get-up.”)

My dress cost me AU$4.00 off of Ebay, and the shirt I bought from Savers in Noarlunga, for $3.50. That’s a $7.50 outfit.

A lot of Adelaide residents believe that there is ‘nowhere to shop’ in their city. How wrong they are… perhaps you aren’t looking in the right places. Or perhaps you have just walked past a shop, and decided not to go in because it didn’t look appealing to you from the few garments you saw from the window. I bet everyone can say they’ve done that on multiple occasions. That there: that is your first error. I own pieces from places I’d never want to admit I’d set foot in. I own staple pieces from Supre, for Christ’s sake. But hell, if you wear it interestingly, how will anyone ever know? I still manage to style myself in a way I feel comfortable, and a way that people seem to find interesting. Don’t be a snob. I’ll go in a take a look, even if looks horrible from the outside – there might be gems in there! How do you know? You don’t. Take a chance.

I’m not snobbing off major labels. I watched Burberry’s Prorsum Menswear A/W 2011 show live last night, and (regardless of the fact it was a men’s collection) I was damn near salivating over some of the pieces in it. Because I love clothing, and some of those pieces were damn beautiful. But on a part-time wage while I’m studying at university, I certainly can’t afford the prices upscale fashion houses demand. I have to make do with my pauper’s pocket while I have it. I have to save my non-existent ass off to buy things of such calibre, and I do sometimes. Sometimes you have to sacrifice other things in order to purchase something you really love. But if it’s you, then do it. But I’d advise against doing it nonstop and ending up covered in labels. It generally just looks tacky, sort of like… you are trying too hard to prove you’re pay packet is great.

My main piece of advice I suppose is, don’t dress like everyone else. Don’t dress how the shop windows are telling you to dress. Be yourself – I read two fashion magazines, and I take the advice from the runways, but I always stay true to myself. If you dress exactly how a shop or a magazine is telling you to, all you will do is walk around dressed like you are in a catalogue you don’t belong in. And so will the girl standing next to you on the street. Don’t be a clone.

And lastly: always, ALWAYS remember that op-shops are your friends. A link to help you is below.

Comment and discuss anything I’ve said, I’d like to hear from other people (especially from Adelaide) who enjoy style, no matter what kind of style it may be. Peace amigos.

Oppurtunity Shops of SA


C x


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