Sydney’s Inner West is an area known for its quirky vibe and unique fashion culture. There’s the popular, cool hubs like the vintage stores in Newtown (Cream or Holy Kitsch spring to mind), but there are awesome finds in other, lesser explored suburbs that only the locals seem privy to. Words by Larissa Shearman
The cool thing about thrift shopping is the excitement you get from rummaging through good quality clothes until you find the perfect piece. I’ve popped some tags in the area’s star thrift shops and they’re ready for your 99 cents. Oh and, we encourage you to play this in the background as you read – it sets the mood.
This bright, cosy shop has such a great selection of dresses – there is a particular wall that’s like a holy grail, dedicated to every variety imaginable. I also like the jackets here – you can find classic leather ones for a steal or go nuts with some funky styles. I was surprised to see luggage in really good condition – something that certainly isn’t easy to get for a great price. I stood in front of the book wall for ages, astounded by the amount and variety to choose from.
This is the type of place you hope to stumble into, and when you do, you don’t want to leave. I also like how organised the clothes are, it makes it easily shoppable and super inviting for everyone. Key take-away: If a novice like me can do it, anyone can find something here.
Summer Hill Anglican Shop
This is the real place (pictured above) I’ve been bragging about since I first visited. It’s the kind of venture where some experience in thrift shopping is necessary, or you’ll be completely overwhelmed. That, or a strong will to unearth something truly spectacular.
If you’re up for the challenge, the sheer amount of clothes in this place will get you excited. There are large tubs filled to the brim of mixed clothes – children’s, women’s and men’s. You really don’t know what you’re going to pull out. It’s because of this that you pay by the kilo – so get ready to rummage.
This kind of shopping is really appealing and it lends itself to the traditional idea of thrift shopping. You could find nothing, or anything. It’s super rewarding when you find something you really want.
For those who are looking for something more selective, there’s the ‘Marketplace’, a room attached to the main warehouse where clothes have been hand picked to impress. I scored a great (and as it turns out, designer) jacket from this special room, which didn’t cost a pretty penny as if it were still in mint condition. This is the place where your keen designer label senses will tingle, and you should enjoy everything it has to offer.
Something else I found interesting about this store is that they have a brilliant selection of kid’s toys and gift packs ready to go. This is worth a look if you have the need for something for children, considering how expensive children’s toys can be at retail price – and knowing what time of year we’re now in, it’s certainly a smart idea for some cheap and easy present shopping.
Op shop salvation – sitting directly off the Princes Highway, the Tempe Salvos store is conveniently located and even has its own car park, so there’s no excuse not to swing by. It reminds me more of a department store, with so many other things on offer than just clothes – there’s furniture, home décor, electronics and other household staples.
If you do come for clothes you won’t be disappointed at all, with rows and rows of funky wear for all ages. The one thing I loved about this place is how ridiculously cheap some of the clothes are – there are different sales on particular days, so I was lucky enough to go when the cute shorts I wanted were one dollar! It really was like a fantasy turned reality. There’s a certain thrill about checking to see if the clothes you love have the sale tag on them, the sign of a discount on already crazy cheap clothes.
They also have my favourite policy in the world – No eftpos minimum. Those three magic words mean you could not have a more relaxed thrift shopping experience.
If you’re a long-time thrifter, you’ll love the choice and variety when you hit up these places. But to be fair – there’s nothing greater than the thrill you feel as a newbie on the scene. No place is like the other, and when it comes to the inner-west op shop scene, there’s few parts of Sydney that can boast the greatest collection of grandad-like garments.
Where else have you found a solid bargain? Let us know on Facebook or Twitter (see below)!