Tuesday, March 31, 2009


Many of you suggested Op Shops - or as you quaint foreigners call them "Thrift" Shops - and if you knew the younger, spritelier version of Jeanie you would all have nodded sagely and whistled under your breath at how audacious she was at using such vendors.

I had a high-flying career (once upon a time) built around home-made suits and bargains from such stores. In fact, once upon a time there was a fantastic shop in Newtown, Sydney, where I made a weekly pilgramage, paid homage to the rather obese unmoving patronness and her rotating crop of Asian assistants and spent hours among the racks (that ran two tiers around the whole store and double depth in the middle) finding bargains just made - or about to be remade - for me.

I still have dreams about some of those garments - heck, I even have remnants of some of them in my "mending" box.

When I did my hippy stint, it was dressed in threads provided by Lifeline, St Vinnies, the Blind Society and Saint Veronicas.

And then I had a child - and my clothing vision became one of clothing her. Again, I turned to my shops of choice and she was a run(a)way model for hand-me-downs and bargain bins of charity.

But I forgot about me - I couldn't justify spending on myself, it seems, and has been the song for nigh on 10 years.

I have tried - since moving to Paradise, the one shop that offers such and the few (I have found six) in nearby big town have all been scoured for my style - but it is so sad, not only do they not have me, it seems that 'Salina no longer has cute and gorgeous wardrobe choices waiting to be snaffled.

Today, op-portunity knocked - hard.

I had to get to work. I had left early to pay bills and thought I would grab some lunch on the way.

My food outlet availability was a bakery. It is a good bakery - but there is something about bakery products + work clothes that just doesn't gel.

I opted out of the curried egg & lettuce sandwiches - I like egg & lettuce with mayo, but powdered curry powder added to egg brings out the snob in me.

Therefore my options were - pies or sausage rolls.

Obviously the sausage rolls = crumbly pastry = crumbs all over the shirt = not the choice for the occasion.

I discussed the pie options with the shopkeeper. He recommended the pork or lamb and vegetable options, as the filling was not too liquid and therefore would lessen the drip factor. I went with the lamb.

The first few bites went okay - good thing I like mint, as it had a fair whop of that also in the mix, but otherwise edible and filling.

Then the moment dreaded arrived - one bite and I swear half a lamb fell out with contents onto my pristine shirt.

I quickly did some mental arithmetic - I was 10 minutes ahead of my schedule, and therefore could blow 10 minutes on clothes shopping.

The "Clothesline" was on the road in - Lifeline's barn of clothes where I had never found anything worth salvation, but perhaps this was providence's call.

I entered. The racks are set up in long avenues.

Of course, they rearrange every other week, so there is no automatic going to one corner, you have to read the helpful placards.

Ladies - sleeveless - I didn't even bother, because frankly, I know my assets and my upper-arms need the offer of allure.

Ladies - short sleeved - that was what I wanted, although 75% were automatically out as t-shirts do not make the front-office job make.

I sifted through - unfortunately, the few options left were all "S" or "8" and while I have an active imagination, my bosom overcomes. I did find one rather beautiful one - but the sheer black would not have worked with the white bra I was wearing.

Ladies - long sleeved - didn't merit a glance. It may be the last day of March here, but I live in the sub-sub-tropics and daytime hours are partial to the upper end of the thermostat.

I had already wasted 4 minutes of my 10 minute breathing room and then glanced over to the forbidden territory - Ladies Oversize Shirts.

Luckily for me, I verge on the upper end of the non-oversize ladies, and so the lower end of the oversize could still work.

Within minutes I found a shirt that would do - I won't go into ecstacies, but it filled a gap - or rather, covered an expanse of skin that my lamb-stained business shirt couldn't do without shame.

The good news - well there were three. I got a shirt that was workable, I only spent $4 (I put 50c into the tin because I thought it was worth more than $3.50) AND I have discovered that they now open on Sundays for 4 hours - 4 hours more opportunity to go through racks and racks of clothes to find not quite the right garments - but for a whole lot less than retail!!!


Rootietoot said...

I LOVE Thrift stores! I got a brand new $150 Pendleton bathrobe for $3- tags still attached. I taught my eldest son how to pick quality clothes- a skill every young person should know. We filled his kitchen with 10c dishes and $1 pots, and he even found some vintage records to use as wall art. Our game room has furniture from the Habitat for Humanity garage sale ($5 recliners, a $7 table) and the list goes on. Why on Earth pay full price?

Debby said...

Oh, if only I could whisk you hear and take you to 'My Sister's Closet' in Erie. Or maybe 'Goddess'.

Jen at Semantically driven said...

I'm glad opportunity knocked for you.

Mistress B said...

I hear you. Sometimes in our smaller communities the op shops are the 'leftovers' not the bargains that they might be in larger centres.

Melody said...


Please don't blog about aussie bakeries again. Makes me want a bakery pie or sausage roll and a vanilla slice. Washed down with a Chocolate Big M.


MissyBoo said...

Phew! I'm glad you found something with seconds to spare :)