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How to RESTYLE recycled fashion

28 Oct

One of my favourite things about opshopping is the huge array of fashion styles spanning decades that you might find in a single shop. For an imaginative person this is great fun and if you’re like me whose style is non specific bordering on schizophrenic its the perfect way to shop, but many people tell me they struggle with the idea of making a 1980’s jacket work into their current wardrobe. My advice is to leave your signature style at the door and enter op shops with an open mind. Try on things you love but have never been game to try in a retail shop, take a risk. The small outlay in cash for a pre-loved item means fashion can be fun again. This is not investment shopping or even a planned purchase. Op shopping is spontaneous, surprising and I think more rewarding than buying retail.

In August I participated in a fashion challenge on Instagram. I must admit to being a much more prolific Instagrammer than a blogger so if you’d love to see more of my second-hand finds and haunts you can follow me here. The RESTYLE challenge was run by the Perth Fashion Festival. Each day presented a new theme to restyle a pre-loved fashion piece.

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Here’s a selection of my entries into the Restyle challenge. What do you think?

Collar - Men's YSL shirt with a beautiful suede tie.

Collar – Men’s YSL shirt with a beautiful suede tie.

Button Down - a have a few thrifted denim jackets but this one is is a fave.

Button Down – I have a few thrifted denim jackets but this LEE Riders one is is a fave.

Fringed - everything in this shot is thrifted - the Aldo bag, the vintage mags, even the mat!

Fringed – everything in this shot is thrifted – the Aldo bag, the vintage mags, even the mat!

Classic - the Claudia Strater silk knit top, the Ellery scarf & the silver/copper earrings were all found second hand.

Classic – the Claudia Strater silk knit top, the Ellery scarf & the silver/copper earrings were all found second-hand.

The DIY challenge was about modifing a pre-loved garment. This top had big ruffled sleeves that I simply cut into fringe for an edgier look.

The DIY challenge was about modifying a pre-loved garment. This top had big ruffled sleeves that I simply cut into fringe for an edgier look.

Graphic - a fave Lola Vs Harper top found in an op shop still with the tags attached.

Graphic – a fave Lola Vs Harper top found in an op shop still with the tags attached.

Arm Candy - all of these silver bangles were found second hand and most of them I wear everyday.

Arm Candy – all of these silver bangles were found second-hand and most of them I wear everyday.

Tomboy - This outfit cost a total of $9. Ksubi denim cut offs, muscle shirt & Converse.

Tomboy – This outfit cost a total of $9. Ksubi denim cut offs, muscle shirt & Converse.

Knit - Someone knitted this super long, super soft scarf with love & now I'm loving wearing it.

Knit – Someone knitted this super long, super soft scarf with love & now I’m loving wearing it.

Monochrome - The leather Kahlo shorts, Zara top & graphic Converse all thrifted finds.

Monochrome – The leather Kahlo shorts, Zara top & graphic Converse all thrifted finds.

Spots - I wish I could find more spotted clothing, they are so much fun! This knit & the satin Wittner heels are both op shops finds.

Spots – I wish I could find more spotted clothing, they are so much fun! This knit & the satin Wittner heels are both op shops finds.

Cropped - thrifted leather Damselfly vest worn back the front. All the jewellery is pre-loved.

Cropped – thrifted leather Damselfly vest worn back the front. All the jewellery is pre-loved.

Outerwear - This felt Brixton hat is a favourite in winter and it only cost me $4

Outerwear – This felt Brixton hat is a favourite in winter and it only cost me $4

 

These challenges are pretty hard work but I find them very rewarding. I love seeing what everyone comes up with everyday and meeting so many like-minded op shoppers. It creates a little community but also a melting pot of ideas. Here are some of my fave posts by other Instagrammers during the challenge.

restyle Collage 1 restyle2 Collage

Aren’t they just fabulous? So much fabulousness! Go forth & follow them on Instagram.

 

 

 

Rhythms Op Shop, Seven Hills

21 Aug

Sssh don’t tell anyone but this one of my favourite hunting grounds.

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Rhythms Op Shop in Seven Hills is a sure thing, a place where I can always find great preloved clothes. It’s also a joy to visit. The staff are super friendly and love a chat often asking me if I would like a cuppa whilst I browse the racks. The stock is edited so that only items in good condition make it onto the floor, no sifting through racks of pilled Kmart t-shirts or jeans with busted zippers.

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My other favourite reason for visiting this store on a regular basis is to check out the visual merchandising. These guys have a clever stylist on their team who has really lifted the edge of this store above other op shops. I’d compare the styling to the overpriced vintage stores in Newtown, only better with price tags comparable to Vinnies. The stylist uses their own collection of vintage/retro items which sadly are not for sale. Recently the shop had a face lift and I was bowled over by the effect of chalkboard walls used as price points lit with vintage lamps.

 

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This week’s visit didn’t let me down. I found an out of print book I’d been searching for quite a while for just 10 cents. Yes 10 cents! Also two linen tops, a classic Country Road shirt and a black Hammock & Vine oversized jacket. All that for under $10. I did of course take a much larger armful of clothes into the generously sized change room but as is the way with op shopping not everything fits. Everything is like a one-off, you have to take what you can get. Of all the great finds I had to put back on the rack I was saddest to leave this gorgeous raw silk Akira piece.

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Rhythms Op Shop is run by a local church who believe in grass-roots level community assistance. Yes the op shop itself is fabulous but there is also a lounge area at the back of the store to take a rest & have a chat.  They offer all types of assistance to those in need whether it be food or contact with relevant community services. As a nonreligious person myself I find this type of work really inspiring but not because it’s the work of the church, I’ve never once had that pushed on me in all my years of visiting this store but because it’s about community building. Good people doing good for others. Of course many of the big charity stores run on this principle also but it is always at Rhythms that I feel the love. The genuine care for those that walk through their door.

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Rhythms Op Shop is located at 154 Best road Seven Hills.

Tip: while you’re there… Pop around the corner to Boomerang Place where you will find some great Indian supermarkets and authentic Sri Lankan & Indian restaurants. Don’t leave empty-handed.

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Front Porch by Fiona Lenord

15 Jun

Upcycle: verb. To reuse (discarded objects or material) in such a way as to create a product of higher quality or value than the original, moving it ‘up’ the consumer goods chain.

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I love creative people who breathe new life into old things. I’m not talking about The Toy Story theory of extending a discarded item’s life by passing it on to another to be loved all over again but rather upcycling. Pushing the boundaries of an item’s original purpose and creating a new form. Front Porch is one such brand riding the upcycling wave. Front Porch was launched in 2012 by Fiona Lenord after making a tree change to the Blue Mountains, NSW. Behind the brand is Fiona’s 23 years experience as a Textile Designer specialising in hand painted florals, including 13 years with iconic Australian brand Sheridan. This wealth of experience shines through her apparel and homewares designs. The attention to detail and the love put into each piece is really beautiful.

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The Front Porch signature piece is a dress made from upcycled textiles. The design is a simple strappy A line cut with a soft rope drawstring, tapering down to varying lengths. Fiona describes her latest best seller, The Foofoo, as “the love child of a poncho and a kimono. Both styles can be layered up and down for all seasons. Worn casually or dressed up for weddings and formal events”.

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A keen op shopper who loves hunting through secondhand stores and flea markets for vintage items, Fiona found herself “rescuing” old fabric like brocade, seersucker, vintage lace, retro 60’s prints, Australian printed tea towels, embroidered and crocheted tablecloths and doilies. The textiles span across the decades creating diversity in Front Porch, “I have a collection that is constantly rotating from soaking tub to a dye bath, clothes line, sewing machine and ironing board” notes Fiona. The history of the textiles also strike up sentimentality in her customers, some have even commissioned dresses made from family heirloom fabrics. “My biggest surprise has been the repeat customers. I have some customers who own over 30 of my dresses! I have met an amazing network of creative women and friends through this venture and feel lucky to have bonded so quickly with the Blue Mountains community”.

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In keeping with the nostalgia of her products is Fiona’s brand name: Front Porch, “I wanted a name with nostalgia, history and quintessentially Australian. I grew up on a fruit Orchard in Kurmond. Our fibro 1960s bungalow had a decorative Besser block Front porch. It was a backdrop to many family photos, a place to greet visitors and hang out.”

 

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This is my Front Porch dress (above) made from a white tablecloth with pale blue embroidery and trimmed with vintage lace. Not only is it cool to wear on hot days and perfect for throwing over my cossies at the beach, it’s also super comfy! I honestly feel like I’m wearing my PJs but I must look fabulous as I always get comments whenever I wear this.

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I first met Fiona on her stall at The Bluebird Market in Leura and now I have the privilege of calling her my friend. Talented designer is but one of her many hats. Fiona is also a wonderful mother, a professional wearer of red lipstick and owner of a great infectious laugh. I urge you all to seek her out. Front Porch has a stall at The Glenbrook Rotary Market on the 3rd Saturday of every month in the lower Blue Mountains. This is a lovely market full of local farmers, bakers, artisans and producers. Front Porch also visits other Sydney markets so please Like the Front Porch Facebook page for updates. Fiona regularly sells direct from her Front Porch Facebook page so even if you are not in Sydney you can still own one these unique pieces.

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Do you own a Front Porch original?

* Thank you to Fiona Lenord for the use of some of her images.

Op shop haul from Tasmania

16 Feb

Recently we had the absolute pleasure of exploring a good chunk of Tasmania. I love so many things about this island state that I could happily move there if it wasn’t for the cold. Cold weather and I are not friends. As always in our travels we seek out every market we can find and pop into every op shop we pass by. Here’s a visual feast of just some of our secondhand buys.

Found this bag for $8 at Cygnet Market, then daughter promptly stole it.

Found this bag for $8 at Cygnet Market. Daughter promptly stole it.

Glass bead earrings $2. Love these!

Glass bead earrings $2. Love these!

I couldn't believe my eyes when I picked this paper bead necklace up in an op shop in Burnie for $1 after just admiring them and chatting the the artist herself at The Markers Workshop just up the road.

I couldn’t believe my eyes when I picked up this paper bead necklace in an op shop for $1 after just admiring them and chatting the artist herself at The Makers Workshop just up the road in Burnie.

Glomesh Bag is great condition. I especially love the chain on the strap.

Glomesh Bag in great condition. I especially love the chain on the strap.

Such a cool book for imaginative kids and only $1

Such a cool book for imaginative kids and only $1

Yes that's me! Hello. Driving from Hobart to the West coast of Tassie it suddenly became very cold, 9 degrees and raining sideways. I didn't find any snow jackets but did unearth this warm two tone scarf for $4 from a country op shop.

Yes that’s me! Hello. Driving from Hobart to the West coast of Tassie it suddenly became very cold, 9 degrees and raining sideways. I didn’t find any snow jackets but did unearth this warm two-tone scarf for $4 from a country op shop.

Beautiful beaded clutch from Launceston.

Beautiful beaded clutch from Launceston.

You know that saying, you never know what you could find in an op shop? Well its entirely true! I was a little beside myself when I found this red back spider costume in an op shop in Wynyard for $3.

You know that saying, you never know what you could find in an op shop? Well it’s entirely true! I was a little beside myself when I found this red back spider costume in an op shop in Wynyard for $3.

So there you go, what do you think? It’s always thrilling to shop like this on holidays but also restricting. I have to be constantly reminding myself about baggage restrictions and putting the larger items back on the shelf, sigh. What do you buy on holidays?

As much as I love sharing our adventures, hauls and reviews of the places we go I must admit to being a very slack blogger. I simply lack the time (or dedication?) to write the damn things. I constantly write posts in my head, does that count? I am however an avid Instagram poster. So follow us here for pics of all our hauls and a sneak peek at us.

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