Wesley’s Window: Opshopping and Why It’s the Best Thing Since Sliced Bread

Introducing our guest contributor, Wesley Fourie, who is not only super-stylish but has a real eye for a bargain.

Since appearing in Wesley Wears Where?, a few people have stopped me in the street saying that they love my style. As flattering/embarassing as it is, the most recent encounter of this kind got me thinking. A well-dressed lady approached me in the street and told me it was great to see a guy pull off women’s high-end clothing. She proceeded to ask me what I was wearing and, when I told her one of the jackets was from an opshop, she looked absolutely bemused. As an avid opshopper, and having a mother who is potentially the best bargain hunter in the history of New Zealand, I totally forget that some people don’t embrace the art of opshopping wholeheartedly, especially in Dunedin, the second-hand store capital of New Zealand.

1960s jacket from a hairdressing salon in Nelson bought from Butterflies Hospice Shop (Hanover Street)

1960s jacket from a hairdressing salon in Nelson bought from Butterflies Hospice Shop (Hanover Street)

There’s a certain thrill about opshopping which keeps me so keenly obsessed. It’s the fact that roughly half the time there’s nothing that works for me or, if there is, it’s a size 6, so I broken heartedly strut out empty-handed and pretend like I’m okay that a Martin Margiela top is being sported by a mannequin older than me and it’s being sold for next to nothing. “Why not buy it and sell it on Trade Me?” you might ask. Because that’s not what opshopping is about; it’s not some moneymaking career. I’d rather be depressed at 3am gnawing through a third pack of Tim Tams, questioning why the earth bestowed upon me child-bearing hips and shoulders fit for a body builder than know that I ripped that gem away from someone who would have seen it, been so excited they had a heart palpitation, and have it become a wardrobe staple.

String art boat from an Oamaru opshop – only cost $2!

String art boat from an Oamaru opshop – only cost $2!

That is a true story, by the way. In Butterflies a few weeks ago, there was a stunning small top from Maison Martin Margiela for $16. And if by chance the new owner of that top is reading this, I hope you thrash that beauty to death because it is chic as.

Long top by Melanie Child from Toffs' $2 rack (Princes Street)

Long top by Melanie Child from Toffs’ $2 rack (Princes Street)

Another example of why opshopping is my favourite pastime is the fact that I’ve bought so many antique toys and knick knacks from ReStore that my dressing table resembles the entrance to Plato Cafe. And every single one of them cost no more than $2 and they are probably worth more than my weekly rent.

Knick Knacks purchased from various opshops

Knick Knacks purchased from various opshops

Lastly, my best second-hand shopping find ever wasn’t from an op-shop but from Inside Out which sells second-hand designer clothing. I found the Invincible coat from NOM*d’s A/W 2002 Clarion range, my most cherished item of clothing undoubtedly. It is two trench coats, halved, reworked and stencil-printed. I would have paid 20 times more for it and it would still have been a bargain. Recycled stuff is one of the reasons I dig NOM*d so much.

NOM*d A/W 2002 Clarion coat from Inside Out Clothing (George Street)

NOM*d A/W 2002 Clarion coat from Inside Out Clothing (George Street)

Clarion coat detail

Clarion coat detail

Opshopping can be hit or miss, but once you find your first gem you will be addicted. You have been warned!

By Wesley Fourie

Elvis clock – another opshop find

Elvis clock – another opshop find

PS My fave op-shops and second-hand shops are Butterflies, Shop On Carroll, Inside Out and Toffs (I’m all about that $2 rack life).

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