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Second-hand Savvy Tips & Tricks

ABOUT THE WRITER: Laura Morley is a Brisbane-based freelance writer. When she’s not writing she enjoys drinking coffee, op shopping, stretching her back and crying at bad films. You can follow her adventures on @opshopgal 

At times it may seem like you’re the only person on the planet who can’t seem to sniff out anything stylish at the op shops. Well, let me tell you that every second-hand, savvy stylist has done the hard yards and honed their skills to get the results they do. After multiple unsuccessful journeys and wrong choices, I’ve finally graduated with honours at the op shopping degree. Here are some of my second-hand tips and tricks to set you off on the right path the next time you hit the op shops!


Map out where you’re going if possible; in an area like Brisbane there are plenty of op shops, but they’re often spread out. Prior to setting off, make sure you check the opening hours and the pit stops you can make to refuel with coffee. If you’re not into driving around, there are great clusters of vintage and second-hand stores in areas like Paddington, Sherwood, Wynnum and Stones Corner. 

At the risk of sounding too spiritual, don’t set your sights on one thing and close of all other possibilities. They key is to not feel discouraged by your findings – even the most successful op shoppers can go home empty handed. The other day I found seven banging items for fifteen dollars in the first store I went to and then nothing in the next four.


Be confident and be open-minded; shop how you would normally shop. If you’re someone who likes to browse with friends for backup and second opinions, then take a friend a long. Likewise, if you’re a slowcoach like me, who doesn’t like being told, “well, at least the colours really flattering for your skin tone” then go it alone.

Checkout second-hand fashion Insta-moguls like @op_shop_to_runway, @theonlywayisop, @nevereverpayretail, @fayedelanty and me…@opshopgal for inspiration to prove that second-hand clothing certainly isn’t second best. There are hundreds of ways to spruce up an average op shop outfit and these ladies know them all!


This is a great tip to stop you feeling overwhelmed. Some op shops are neatly organised by size or colour, but others are an exciting (or terrifying) mess. I look for fabrics, patterns and hemlines I like and sometimes, low and behold, the snazzy linen I was looking for turns out to be Gorman. Don’t limit yourself, but try thinking of that initial sweep as a starting point.

Lastly but certainly not least, wear something that’s easy to get in and out of. Lace-up knee-high boots area strict no-no. You want to easily strip out so you can quickly strip in.

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