The best op shops in Sydney
With more than 50 St Vincent de Paul Society retail stores in Sydney alone, it takes something special to make any one store stand out, but you can always find something special at Vinnies Glebe Centre. The small store is packed with clothing, yet it’s organised in a way that it doesn’t feel stuffy. On our visit, we’re greeted by a mannequin wearing a fox-fur stole, which makes the store feels in-sync with its fashion-forward neighbourhood. Shoppers can find bargains like a $12 Princess Highway dress or dainty $15 Alannah Hill cardigans. Vinnies Glebe has a good range of men’s business and casual wear, too, ranging between $10-$30. If you’re looking for a statement piece we came across a hot pink flower-print shirt for $16.
Sandwiched between two construction sites, this unassuming op shop is easy to miss. However, shoppers who make the effort to visit the RESTORE are unlikely to leave disappointed. The exposed brick walls, wooden pallet shelving and vintage suitcases give the store an industrial-chic vibe more common in Newtown than Seven Hills and its stock is as stylish as its decor. We’re talking high street brands like Witchery, Tokito, Bardot, Trenery, Cue. You can find treasures like a Third Millennium crimson slip dress (rrp $399) for a very reasonable $90. The shop has an excellent range of women’s jeans, helpfully arranged by size. It’s noticeably tailored towards women’s fashions, though there’s a smaller selection of men’s clothes and shoes. You’ll find most (non-designer) stock ranges from $5-$15.
The Wayside Chapel is a Sydney institution, providing services and support to Sydney’s homeless population for more than 50 years. They run an Wayside Op Shop located in a period building adjacent to the Chapel. If you’re in the market for a winter coat, Wayside has options starting from as low as $12, with a fur-trimmed leather jacket setting you back only $25. You can also purchase Wayside Chapel merchandise from the store, or drop next door for a post-shopping pick me up from the Wayside Cafe. Our favourite pieces include a $10 Bardot blue sequined vest and $12 Tony Bianco heels.
Off the Great Western Freeway, this blink-and-you’ll-miss-it Salvos is the place to go if you’re moving house. The huge, warehouse-style store has at least two-thirds of the floor space dedicated to furniture. You name it: couches, dining settings, bed frames, mattresses, dressers, desks and even a family-size refrigerator ($350) are up for sale. Designs range from classic to wacky, and all for far cheaper than brand new. The furniture selection is rivalled for size by the massive range of clothing available. Bargain-hunters will find beanies, stationery, and school uniform basics in abundance. Fashionistas are also likely to nab an unusual find, with out-there factory seconds like navy corsets and tie-dyed hotpants available on our visit. The massive store has a small Street Boutique section, too (the Salvos’ curated fashion stores).
If you’re into classic cuts and styles that never go out of fashion, Lifeline Balgowlah is well worth crossing the bridge for. The old, whitewashed brick store is predominantly filled with ‘smart-casual’ selections, ideal for office workwear. A DKNY black dress will set you back $28, a Diana Ferrari wrap dress is only $18. If you’re after something a bit edgier, a gold lamé shirt with ’80s era shoulder pads can be yours for just $10. The shop has an extra selling point: costume hire. Rather than buying an outfit for your next fancy dress party (and never wearing it again), you can rent one. There’s options for men and women in a range of sizes, from Roman emperors to hippies and flamenco dancers. Clothing at Lifeline Balgowlah is around $20 on average. While it’s a little more expensive than a Salvos, the selection and quality of stock make it worthwhile.