Let me just reiterate: I LOVE op-shopping. Adore it. I would much rather have $100 to spend in an op-shop than $500 to spend in "normal" stores. I love to put aside a whole day to slowly and carefully sift through racks and racks of pre-loved, and often shameful, pieces of fashion to find those one or two pieces (yes, I just called them "pieces") that make the last two hours of crap totally worth it.
Yes, it takes patience, and plenty of optimism. Often enough I will find something I think is brilliant, only to find I might have fit into it...oh...four or five years ago. D'oh!! But that's where it turns into an art form. If it doesn't fit me, it might fit someone else. And if I'm willing to pay $4 for it, maybe, just maybe, someone, somewhere (hopefully on Ebay) is willing to pay $8.
I've had some awesome finds at op-shops. It has taken me a good three or so years to refine my op-shopping skills. There are plenty of op-shop finds that I thought were awesome at the time, that I've never actually worn. Like that crochet dress (yes, DRESS) that I thought might look good over something. Turns out I don't own that something that would make that dress look good, and therefore have never worn it. Oh well.
So what are my best finds? By far, the best one is a Dolce and Gabanna satchel (pictured) that I bought for $30 in an op-shop in Pakington Street, Geelong. It looks like it's from the 80s, and is really worn, but is still in quite good condition, which makes me think that it's actually real. It has a huge ink stain on the inside (which may or may not be my fault) and one of the handles had to be re-sewn because the stitching came undone (which may or may not be from shoving too many phones/cameras/diaries/books/keys/perfumes/moisturisers/nappies in it), but it's the one thing that people always comment on when I go out with it.
I've also found a huge burgundy Guerlain tote bag from an op-shop in Camberwell. Just recently I found a beautiful grey cotton Country Road t-shirt (pictured) that was in perfect condition, for $5 at an op-shop in Yarraville. And a really nice pair of metallic grey Esprit pants (pictured) that were also in mint condition. And the best thing about these pants was not only was it in my size, but they were also my length! Amazing! No matter how hard I shop at "normal" stores, I can never, EVER find a pair of pants that fit me as well as these ones do. I am a midget, and "normal" stores only cater for "normal sizes".
So, whether you're like me, a poor, job-searching student and mother who can't afford (or detests) shopping in "normal" stores, or just want to find those clothes that no one wears anymore, to make a unique statement, I highly recommend op-shopping. Yes, it's old news, but it never goes out of fashion.