SUSTAINABLE STYLE; OP-SHOPPING.


When I was a kid there was nothing that annoyed me more than receiving my sister hand-me-down clothes. It was the worst. Mostly because I was quite feminine and into dresses and pretty colours whilst all my sisters were tomboys. I wanted my own clothes and I wanted them to be new. Not second hand. Not pre-loved. I wanted something my own. Fast forward twenty years and my love of Op-Shopping would shock Little Bella.

I have never really found much joy in clothing shopping. Wandering from store to store, trying to find something that will fit my body type that I can actually afford - I'd rather stay home to be honest. But a girl has got to wear something - public nudity is frowned upon, after all.

About a year ago I moved into a new house in a  new suburb that happened to be on the same street as an Op-Shop - a Vinnie's to be exact. One day when I was off work I popped in there for a look around and found of all things a pair of Calvin Klein, high-waisted wide leg jeans with the tags still on them. That was it. I was in love.

That humble little Vinnie's has now become my favourite place to shop. The amount of amazing and sometimes designer clothing that I've managed to find at this place is astounding and the brands are nothing to sneeze at. Every single time I go there I come home with at least three or more items and I have never spent more than twenty seven dollars. I don't know about you but I love a good bargain. Op-Shopping however, is about more than that. It's not just about finding amazing pre-loved clothing - although that's a definite perk. There are so many more reasons why Op-Shopping is a must that are so often overlooked.

YOU'RE HELPING THE COMMUNITY.

Most Op Shops help fund many community programs including aged care, drug and alcohol rehabilitation, crisis/support accommodation, youth support and more. By shopping at your local Op Shop, you are helping fund these community programs and helping all of the people who rely on them. You're also helping the people that work in them (usually mature aged men and women) stay employed.

IT'S GOOD FOR THE ENVIRONMENT.

Today Fast fashion is all the rage. Society has changed how we view the things we buy and how we value them. Gone are the days of buying good quality items, taking care of them, repairing them and wearing them till they are no longer wearable. Now it's perfectly normal to buy cheaper, lesser quality clothing, wear it a dozen or so times and then dispose of it for something newer.

Because of this disposable mentality, we have Op-Shops all over the country full of pre-loved, barely warn clothing and all of those clothes that aren't donated, they end up in landfill. When you donate and shop at Op-Shops, you're helping break that cycle. You're giving your preloved clothes a new life and you're stopping some of those clothes from being sent to landfill. If you consider that most clothes today are made from synthetic fibres, those clothes that you threw away and that are being left to rot are going to be sitting in the ground for a long, long time - none biodegradable fabrics can take anywhere from 20 to 200 years to decompose.

QUALITY OVER QUANTITY.

One thing that never really changes with fashion is, 'You get what you pay for.' Yes, some clothing is ridiculously over priced and sometimes a t-shirt is just a t-shirt - no matter the label on it. Yes, buying fast fashion brands might be easier on the bank account at the time. But the amount of times you will have to go out and replace that item, will end up costing more than what you could have paid if you had just bought a better made, better quality item to begin with.


False Economy 
Noun. 
an apparent financial saving that in fact leads to greater expenditure. 



Good quality, well made pieces of clothing will last a lifetime - which is why you can always find beautifully maintained vintage pieces in Op-Shops. I have some pieces of clothing that I spent a pretty penny on and I've had them for years. They are still in pristine condition because they were made from quality fabrics, well made and most importantly, I take care of them. So the dresses that cost me a few hundred dollars hanging in my closet that people told me I was crazy for spending that much money on? Well eight years later and I still have them and they look as good as the day I bought them. How many dresses can you say the same about?


Op Shopping isn't just about clothing. The amount of amazing homeware items, DVD's, books and furniture pieces to be found in op-shops is amazing. Just last week I found a crystal decanter with four matching glasses for $25.00 at a Salvation Army store. A quick online search told me the something of similar quality in a store brand new would cost upwards of $150.00. Too bad I don't drink. And the books! The amount of times I have gone into the book sections and found so many amazing books that have been read once and then given away. Most of the time they don't cost more than a dollar or two, because apparently there are crazy people out there that get rid of books after reading them once. Madness. So the next time you're passing a local op shop, why don't you head on in and see what treasures you can find.

Sincerely,

Bella.

What's your opinion?

@bellaleeheart