My favourite five opshopped finds*

*Well, my favourite opshop finds that I still have. There are some things I've bought and eventually sold and just regret it SO much now, like this cute pink rose dress I got for $2 in Nelson and this AMAZING 60s velvet floral dress I paid $20 for at Tassie Traders and sold for the same price and could just kick myself in the face for getting rid of.

But yeah, these are my top five finds that I've scrounged from charity shops and actually hung on to. My scores do not compare to those of Camelias and Crinolines or Helga, but I'm pretty pleased with my wee collection. It was actually hard to scale it down to five, and I would've had to make it six if my absolute favourite black and white striped top wasn't in the wash.
In no particular order:
1. The copper rose border-print 1950s day dress

I know, I know. I talk about and wear this dress way too often. This dress is the opshop equivalent of that time I met Tim Shadbolt and he kissed my cheek and we walked around Wellington talking politics; a story you just tell over and over at parties and bring up all the time and all your friends know it way too well but YOU'LL NEVER STOP TELLING IT BECAUSE IT WAS THE HIGHLIGHT OF YOUR LIFE. This dress is my big win and my favourite thing to be like 'oh? This? Just from an opshop' about. It's getting to the stage where no1curr about how much I love this dress or how I got it, but whatever, it still makes me happy every time I put it on.

And it was free. FREE. Someone actually looked in their wardrobe, examined this dress, and was like 'nah actually this isn't the most beautiful garment on earth, I'm going to throw it out'. And although that person is of questionable taste, I would like to thank them for bringing this into my life. Actually, Wellington is so small that one day I will be wearing this dress and someone will stop me on the street and tell me it used to belong to them and they donated it to the Aro Street Vinnies. I have seen people around Wellington tonnes of times wearing stuff I donated to the opshop or sold through consignment or on Trade Me. One girl had taken this great 80s fruit and veg print dress I sold and given it a mullet hem, which hurt me a lot to see.

Anyway, love this dress, number one dress, etc.

2. The sheer chiffon 1950s party dress

I got this dress from the same reliable Aro Street Vinnies that I got the former at, except I actually had to pay for this one ($4, I think) because I bought it before I volunteered there. As you can see in the last photo it has some unfortunate brownish spills on the skirt, but whenever I wear it people are usually so busy making thinly-veiled insults and being shocked at the site of 21-year-old woman dressed like a four-year-old from 1955 that they don't notice the stains. But seriously, this must be one of those great dresses that was made for a chubby child (I did find it in the kids' section), so the fit is really good on me as a wide and short vintage lover.  

I love the little diamante buttons and the sickeningly twee peter pan collar. I usually wear it with something black and sexy underneath so I don't look too much like an infant, but it also looks amazing with a plain slip and a knitted jumper with that great collar peeking out. 

3. The gray peter pan collar coat

 I got this amazing gray woolen coat, also from the kids' section of an opshop, at the Anglicare Depot in Summer Hill in Sydney in 2010. It was $8. The depot is this big, gross warehouse full of huge bins of clothing to be picked through. You cram your finds into this big burlap sack that you are provided with and weigh it at the end and pay $8 per kilo, or thereabouts. It also has a more curated opshop where the prices can be quite high, but I was happy to pay the price of an airport sandwich for this coat. This is sort of disgusting, but I've worn this so much that the lining has shredded through the arms and body and I have to be careful when I put it on that I don't shove my hand into the no man's land between lining and shell. The piping is velvet and navy blue, if this needed any more cute details. And the pink pin is from the Warhol exhibit.

4. Minnie Cooper red mary janes

 I got these shoes from a little church opshop in rural Taranaki where the old ladies manning the store were super, super cute. They let me go through their stock in the back room and I found SO much good stuff that Jack's parents had to courier a huge bag of clothes down to us because we couldn't fit it all in our luggage for the flight home. I got these for either $3 or $4, and one of the ladies was like 'back in the day we used to call those Mary Quant shoes and wore them with white tights and short dresses', and every time I style them like that I think of her. 

When I got them I thought they were real 60s mary janes, but I later found out the logo on the sole was for Minnie Cooper, an NZ shoemaker whose footwear is renowned for being excellent quality and super comfy. They took a couple of breaking-in wears but now they are by far the comfiest shoes I own and I am constantly stalking Trade Me for more of her shoes in my size. I have tiny feet so they don't often come up, but I honestly think they'd be worth the $400 they are new because of their craftsmanship and durability. I've worn these a lot since I got them and they look amazing still. I've got my eye on these.

5. The leather backpack

I found this one Christchurch day opshopping with my brother. It was $4 and I ran over to him and was like 'Will, you NEED this backpack'. He thought it was ugly and I wasn't actually that sold on it, but I bought it anyway and the next day I realised it was THE MOST PERFECT BACKPACK EVER. I haven't had an ill thought about it since. Not long after I bought it, one of my stylish friends said he loved it and asked what I paid for it. I held up four fingers and he was like 'four hundred? That's not bad' haha. Score. Several people have offered to buy it off me since then.

One of my biggest fears in life - this is telling about how chill my life is - is stuffing too many tomatoes in it at the veggie market one week and overloading it breaking it somehow and having to life the rest of my days without the style and convenience of a leather backpack.

Honourable mentions to ballerina dress I got for free when I bought a couch, 1950s chiffon ball gown with a print of flocked bows, the blue velvet cape (not cheap but worth it), 1950s wedding dress also from the Anglicare Depot, and peach pleated skirt that I still wear way too often plus BONUS the black and white striped top I mentioned earlier. Man, this post makes me so bummed to have to work all the time so I can't go opshopping during the week now. Saturday opshopping sucks :(


  1. You have found some awesome stuff. When I saw the title I was thinking, how will she choose five? Georgia always op shops the best stuff. That first dress is so beautiful. People make comments about you wearing the party dress? It looks amazing, especially with a black slip underneath.

    1. Yeah, people (not friends, just people) who think vintage is a bit weird say stuff about how it looks like a Sunday school dress and the puffy sleeves never fail to get a comment. I don't really mind, though, because I love it so much.

  2. I have a big, thick vintage coat that I bought at an op shop when I was in uni. It was $25 and I went every day until it was half price day for the colour ticket it was (orange. I still remember) so I paid $12.50 for it. It is teal and emerald green, my favourite colours, and it has big chunky buttons and it is warm and comfy. But the lining was already on the way out and now it is so shredded I can't actually wear it anymore. I have put it away and maybe some day I will fix the lining. I wish I'd taken it out before it get so shredded, because now I can't even use it for a pattern. I might see if I can take some pictures of it at some point.

    I LOVE that white dress, it looks totally amazing.

    1. Oh man, please post some photos of that coat because it sounds amazing! Vintage coats are so warm and made so well. My gray one is borderline unwearable so I'm trying to only save it for ""special"" occasions which is pretty stupid. I'm sure a tailor could replace the lining but it would probably be super expensive and I don't know if my sewing skills are good enough to do it myself.

  3. Fascinating collection! I've got a dress made out of the same seersucker fabric as your white one, except it is black, and has a tatted collar.

  4. Love this post.....and of course I love your top 5. I'm coveting those Minnie Cooper shoes. I dream of owning a pair too. I passed up a gorgeous pair of green lace ups in 2012 because they were $200. I've never spent $200 on anything. But I have regretted it ever since. What is it with the price of shoes in NZ??? Love your 50's frocks, & the fact that you wear the gorgeous white number with pride! Leisa. Xx

  5. I am head over heels for those shoes.

  6. I loved this post and am insanely jealous of your good finds! My favorite find was a red, wool Peter Pan collar tent coat in the children's section lined with a nautical print.

  7. Great post, I always love to see other people thrifting finds and you really do seem to have a knack for finding some pretty special pieces!

  8. Beautiful finds! I love those little red shoes! And the dresses! And the backpack! And...okay, all of it.

  9. Beautiful finds! I love those little red shoes! And the dresses! And the backpack! And...okay, all of it.

  10. Jaysus woman, you have THE best opshopping scores of anybody I know...Brodie comes pretty close too!
    I adore thta first frock. I would wear it to DEATH if I was lucky enough to get my boulders into it!

  11. I love seeing miraculous things people have found! You got some really great stuff!


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