Fossicking for treasures

Founder of Abbey Road Vintage, Belinda Strahorn shares her op shopping tips in anticipation of National Op Shop Week. Photo: Kim Pham.

Founder of Abbey Road Vintage, Belinda Strahorn shares her op shopping tips in anticipation of National Op Shop Week. Photo: Kim Pham.

AS A young girl, Belinda Strahorn would fossick through her mother's wardrobe uncovering forgotten favourites.

It's that same feeling - the thrill of the hunt, the promise of uncovering a prized piece, flicking through the racks to find that special something - that later fuelled her passion for op shopping.

So much so, she began building something of a sartorial swag of vintage pieces to sell online and at markets under the label, Abbey Road Vintage.

In anticipation of National Op Shop Week (August 24 - 31), Belinda has kindly agreed to share some of her best op shopping tips with readers.

Firstly, she says to go early and go often. Belinda likes to visit weekly and believes the op shops in Queanbeyan are some of the best in the region.

"I go all the time, I constantly keep my eye every week on different op shops. You'll find pieces do get snapped up really quickly but they've always got new things all the time," she said.

"It's just a matter of doing the rounds and quite frequently going in and having a look. It can be laborious at times but it can be really fun."

When it comes to the individual pieces, Belinda said it's all in the detail.

"Make sure zippers are intact, the buttons are sewn on and there's not too many rips. Remember to check the sizing and try it on, because vintage silhouettes and things made in yesteryear were a lot smaller than what they are today," she said.

"Another good thing is to feel the fabric because vintage things were made to last back then so the quality is often better.

"The other thing is smell, old things often have a musty smell. If it has a good smell, it's a good piece."

Belinda said there are so many advantages to op shopping - it's economical and sustainable.

She thinks National Op Shop Week is a great way of encouraging people to donate items that have been left to languish in the wardrobe.

"Billions of tonnes of clothes that are unworn go into landfill every year in Australia. I love the idea of recycling and reusing old clothes and that's what op shops are - preloved clothing," she said.

"I think it's really fantastic that you can do your little bit and help the environment by wearing something that's been preloved."

Not only that, National Op Shop Week also aims to boost sales by attracting shoppers that may not think to frequent their local op shop.

Belinda said the aim isn't to dress in head to toe vintage but consider how it might work with other wardrobe staples.

"The beautiful thing about vintage is it's really unique and tells a story about the past that maybe a trendy, mass produced clothing garment wouldn't today," she said.

"Clothes tell a story about different eras. I love looking at a piece and wondering who wore it, where they wore it, what they were going to."

National Op Shop Week runs from August 24 - 31. Shop or donate at the Queanbeyan Salvos Store, Anglicare Bargain Hunter and Queanbeyan Vinnies.

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