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Published January 16th 2018
Do you love scouring the racks at op shops and discovering fashionable items of clothing, for a great price, that is exactly your size? Me too! It is like discovering your own personal treasure. If you enjoy this experience, then you will be more than impressed by the range of second-hand clothing shops there are around Canberra. Most are reasonably priced and some are even cheaper than you imagined – in some op shops you get to the counter and it's half the price again!
Keep reading for my personal favourite places to shop for second-hand clothes in Canberra, however, if you have a favourite that isn't mentioned, please leave a comment at the top of this article and share your locals tip. Why not grab your purse and your sense of adventure and hit the op shops this weekend? Who knows what treasures you'll find hidden in the racks...
Find brand name clothing at reduced prices at Material Pleasures (Fyshwick)
If you enjoy shopping for brand names and quality items of clothing at reduced prices, then check out Material Pleasures in Fyshwick (next to the Good Guys). This recycled fashion store buys brand name clothing from Canberra locals and sells them in their store, with over 500 new items on display each week. When you enter, it is just like walking into a colourful, friendly boutique - it doesn't appear to be a second-hand store at all. When you look through the racks, expect to find brands such as Witchery, Calvin Klein, Desigual, Diesel, Hurley, Collette Dinnigan, Alannah Hill and many more. See here for a full list of what you could find.
Most items of clothing cost around the $25 - $30 mark, which is a fraction of the price they would cost brand new. Each time I visit, I find the perfect outfit for a special occasion or wedding and often receive comments about my new brand name outfit - little do they know it only cost me $30! On my last visit, I picked up a ladies Jacqui E silk long skirt for $8 and a children's Lily & Dan party dress for $10, which were both great buys. See here for details (closed Sundays).
Material Pleasures - look for this colourful shopfront on Barrier Street, Fyshwick
Salvos stores make up just some of the many op shops around Canberra, however, they are another place that I never leave empty-handed! Where else can you have a "$2 Clearance" rack and find fashionable clothing in excellent condition, for such a cheap price? The prices around the rest of the store are reasonable and most Salvos stores also have a half-price sale each week on particular coloured tags.
Salvos stores can be found in Tuggeranong, Woden, Weston, Belconnen, Jamison, Mitchell and Queanbeyan, however the largest choice is at Salvos in Fyshwick, with a whole warehouse choc-a-bloc full of clothing for men, women and kids. You could easily spend hours scouring the racks for that new outfit for work, new pair of jeans, dress for a wedding or winter clothing for your kids. For example, on my latest visit I got a Tarocash men's shirt for $5, a sequin-hem girl's dress for $1.75 (half price ticket from $3.50) and a girl's collared top and ladies exercise jumper for $2 from the clearance rack. See here to find your closest store (closed Sundays).
There are two large second hand markets that are held each Sunday in Canberra – the Rotary Trash and Treasure Markets in Macquarie on the north side and the Lions Woden Market in Phillip on the south side. Each market has a gold coin entry to enter the markets and then you walk in to discover Canberra's biggest jumble sales! Just like any jumble sale, you will find a wide range of items, however the clothes in particular, are fun to sift through, with many bargains to be found for just a few dollars, or more for designer labels. The Trash and Treasure Markets in Macquarie is the larger of the two, however we have often found some excellent bargains at the Lions Woden Market, with most kids clothes just costing $1 each.
Before you go shopping, here are some last minute tips so you can make the most of your shopping experience:
If you want to buy something, check that all the zippers and buttons work and there are no stains or holes in the fabric. There is nothing worse than buying something and getting home to a broken zipper!
Shop out of season - you will find more options if you shop ahead for your winter wardrobe in summer, or your summer wardrobe in winter. If you are looking for winter jackets in particular, summer is the best time to look in Canberra.
If you are buying for children, buy sizes bigger than what they are now, to guarantee they will fit.
It doesn't matter if you are looking for babies, kids, women's or men's second-hand clothes, you will find a wide range in Canberra's markets, op shops and designer recycled fashion stores. It is a fun way to shop, as well as being kind to your wallet and the environment. So why not grab your friends, your Mum or just go shopping on your own and bag some bargains this weekend? You never know what treasures you'll come home with...
...you are sure to find something in these racks! (Photo taken at Salvos Fyshwick)