A Melbourne based writer who is a travel junkie, dedicated foodie and emerging photographer.
Published May 5th 2014
Sacre bleu I hear you say. Op shops in Melbourne's leafy - and dare I say relatively affluent - inner east? Well yes, of course, op shops are everywhere. The advantage of scouting the shops in slightly more affluent areas is that the stock may reflect the area's socio-economic status. Where there is more disposable income to spend, it seems logical that people will turn over their clothes more readily - meaning that op shops in these areas can be veritable gold mines for quality clothes.
I've scouted five op shops in the inner east, approaching them with objective criteria to make a determination as to which offered the best value. I decided to cost three items: a pair of jeans, a casual black jacket and a pair of mid-length leather boots. All needed to be in good condition, and at least a 'brand' name (e.g. not Target or Millers). Below are the results of my mission, along with a short overview of the shops I visited.
Epic Treasure Trove is located at 111 Auburn Road, Hawthorn East. Epic is a provider of early childhood intervention services to families of children aged 0 to 6 years of age with developmental concerns.
Epic Treasure Trove - a hidden treasure
This store is by far the smallest of the shops I visited. I consider it to be a bit of a hidden secret as it seems to be overshadowed by the larger and higher profile Vinnies store just a few hundred metres down the road. As a small store, the staff have to be selective about the stock, and it shows in the quality of the available goods. My best find here has been a gorgeous Miu Miu dress that fitted like a glove - $8. I bought it to wear to Vue de Monde.
And so to my purchasing experience for the three items I mentioned:
Sass & Bide jeans: $8.00 Tacuri Bros boots: $20.00 Calvin Klein jacket: $8.00 TOTAL: $36.00
I visited two stores, one at 183 Burwood Road, Hawthorn, the other located at 529 Riversdale Road, Camberwell. Most of us know of the Salvos' work in helping a wide range of disadvantaged people. Their Hawthorn store is a large store with a lot of stock. I particularly like the shoe display in this store, which is always very neat and offers a wide range of footware.
The Camberwell store also has a lot of floor space, allowing an impressive array of clothes, but also kitchen ware. A bargain I previously found here was an enamelled baking dish (with a lid) which cost me $15 and I use all the time. In terms of clothes, my experience is that, for an op shop, this is an expensive one. This is what I found:
Sacred Heart Mission assists people who are homeless or living in poverty to find shelter, food, care and support. Their shop at 86 Riversdale Road, Hawthorn (at the intersection with Glenferrie Road) is large and always popular. A word of warning, the music playing in the store (which is not to my taste) is always FAR too loud. It makes me want to run out of the store - wrong psychology for sure.
The Vinnies store located at 254 Auburn Road, Hawthorn East, is again a large store and well stocked. Shelves are well organised, and there's room to move around. I like their 'designer' racks - though I will say that, at times, they are a little liberal with the description. For the record, Vinnies, 'Witchery' is not a 'designer label'.
Gasp jeans: $10.00
Anthea Crawford jacket: $15.00
Nine West boots: $15.00
So there's the summary of my findings. For good value op shopping in the inner east, my recommendation is to head to either the Sacred Heart Mission shop (Hawthorn) or the Epic Treasure Trove store (Hawthorn East).