There are many things you can do when op shopping to help you enjoy your time and help you get some bargains. No doubt I have forgotten or overlooked some but I will just touch on the main ones in this post and try to elaborate on some of them in a separate post.
+ Don't rely on the size written on the tag.
We all know how ridiculous sizing can be! There is no rules or standards in Australia for clothing sizes so a small in one brand may be 4 times the size of a small in another brand. Personally my wardrobe ranges in sizes from a 10 to a 26 so the number on the tag may not necessarily apply to what size you think you are.
This dress is a size 10 but fits me a 22, so I wear it as a tunic instead!
+ Don't limit yourself to the plus size section
Plus size clothing isn't always put in the Plus size section, that's if the op shop you are at even has one. Often things such as a City Chic Medium (which is equivalent to a size 18) will be put on a straight size rack because a Med isn't an XL right? And plus sizes are only XL upwards right? It all depends on who hangs the clothing on the racks and thier knowledge of plus size clothing brands.
Plus there are volunteers who may put it on the wrong rack and customers who try stuff on and just hang it back wherever they feel like it.
When Op shopping I usually look through ALL the womens clothing and occasionally the mens!
+ Try It On
Always try clothing on! Even if you're not sure it will fit, you might be pleasantly surprised! This is also good as it help you see if there are any holes, rips or stains that you may not have otherwise seen.
+ Look everywhere
The heading sums this up perfectly. Basically look through all the racks. I wouldn't go so far as to say look through the childrens clothing but you never know!
Especially with shoes and accessories make sure you look at displays, mannequins and in baskets of "stuff". Up high there can be displays or on low tables, under racks and in display cabinets (this doesn't necessarily mean they are expensive but more likely an easier object to shoplift). That's part ofthe fun of opshopping too, The thrill of the chase and the find!
+ Look often.
New things are coming in and being put out on the racks and shelves all the time. I'm often asked by customers if there is a certain day things are put out. Maybe some op shops do it that way but personally I'm putting things out all day, everyday. When I'm not serving customers I'm sorting, pricing and putting out new stock.
My theory is the more trips you make to the op shop the more chance you have of finding something.
There is never any harm in asking. You have nothing to lose here so you might aswell ask staff/volunteers if you are looking for something particular. They might have seem that exact item donated just previously and have it out the back!
However a couple of tips. Have a look first, you just seem lazy if you come straight in the door and ask first thing. And be nice/suck up a bit before you ask. Start a conversation or compliment the store or the volunteers dress. I think they will be more likely to help you out if you're a nice person.
+ Think outside the box
Be creative. Things can be much more than what they are labelled as being!
Fold it, knot it, cut it, add to it, the possibilities are endless! And if you can sew then there are even more possibilities than that!
A dress can be folded down to make a skirt.
Earrings can become a necklace and vice versa.
A top that is too small can be a crop.
The pic below is a mens size small sports top that made the perfect crop top for me!
I love this size 12 dress but it wouldn't work on me as a dress. So I just folded the top half down and tied the sleeves in a knot and viola! A maxi skirt!
A great blog to follow for inspiration is Recycled Fashion
+ Don't Expect Much
Don't expect to find anything, that way you won't be disappointed if you don't find anything but over the moon if you do! This works for me anyway!
Keep an eye on sales your local op shops are having whether it be by Facebook, drivebys, newspaper ads etc. I joined a group on Facebook that is specifically for the promotion of my local opshops. If I'm ever curious if any good sales are on I can just look or ask on that.
Over the next couple of weeks I will try to elaborate on some of these points and will link them back to this main post.
Please feel free to ask any questions you have and to add any tips you have when it comes to op shopping.