Where I opshop + Tips & Tricks

I’ve done quite a bit of opshopping / thrifting recently to update my winter wardrobe. I found some amazing pieces and when I shared them on Instagram, I got people asking me where I went. It gave me an idea that it’s about time I update the opshops I go to. I thought I’d also add my tips and tricks on opshopping as I’ve been doing this for years.

If you live in Auckland, check out my favourite opshops below.

I’ve been opshopping / thrifting for years. Way before it was cool and widely accepted. I love finding bargains and quality pieces for such an affordable price. Opshopping was also one of the reasons why I started blogging. I started sharing my opshop haul and then my outfits on my Tumblr around 13-14 years ago. On this blog, I started sharing my opshopping hauls in 2016. I also made a post on where I go opshopping but this post is now outdated.

It’s about time I update it and share which opshops / secondhand shops I go to more often. They’re mostly shops near me because it’s convenient and they have good brands.

1. Takapuna Hospice shop (507 Lake Road – corner of Lake Road and Huron St)

The Takapuna Hospice shop has been my favourite for quite some time. I’ve been going here for years and back when the shop was in a different location. Now the shop is even easier to get to and it’s a nice store to shop at. The store is laid out well and is always stocked. I know because I used to volunteer here and I really enjoyed sorting through donations and putting stock in the store.

Recently, I found this gem of Standard Issue 100% cashmere sweater. It was $24 and I knew the brand is a NZ brand but I had no idea how much they are until I got home. I was stoked when I checked the inside label that it’s cashmere and NZ made. I’ve been looking for a cashmere knit for this winter season and the ones I’ve had on my wishlist on Trademe have been $100+. For $24, this was such a steal and it’s still in the website for $679!

I do have to note though that this store is pricier than other opshops. They get some good brands and only put the good ones out (the lesser brands get sent to the other Hospice shops). The prices can be up high but you can find some great bargains from time to time. I have bought so many amazing pieces from this store over the years.

This opshop is also open on every day of the week, even Sunday as the Takapuna Sunday market is on.

2. Takapuna Auckland City Mission shop (114 Hurstmere Road)

This shop was a recent favourite. I know it’s been in Takapuna for a long time and I went in there years ago. It didn’t used to be a shop I visit because they’re not open on Sundays. However, I went in last week and I was gobsmacked at the brands they had in store! Lanvin, Ermenegildo Zegna, Allbirds, Maje etc. The prices are so cheap too compared to the Hospice shop.

I bought 4 items from one trip in this store and I paid $103. I got my bf this Ermenegildo Zegna 100% cashmere sweater and a Country Road cotton sweater. Then for myself, I scored a beautiful Maje coat and & Other Stories embroidered t-shirt.

The Maje coat I found on the left is 100% cotton but to give you an idea, currently a wool blend coat on their website is over $1k! I’m actually glad my coat is cotton because it’s more suitable for Auckland winters. The length and style of my coat is like the photo on the right though.

The thing to note about this Auckland City Mission opshop is that it’s tiny. It’s a small store and is full to the brim with stuff. There’s not much space to walk around inside and there’s also only one fitting room but I will keep checking this store out because the brands and pricing are amazing.

3. Savemart Northcote (30 College Road)

I’ve also been going to Savemart for years but for the past few years, I tend to limit my trip to Savemart 1-2 times a year. It is HUGE. It’s basically a warehouse-size secondhand store. It’s overwhelming in there and I do have to mentally prepare myself to go to Savemart and spend an hour or two going through the space.

If you’re patient though, you will find some gems in there. In our last Savemart trip, Max got so much clothes and I walked away with 3 items: a black blazer, a Forever New cape and my absolute find of Comme des Garcon PLAY denim jeans. The CDG Play jeans were $9.99! Unreal.

My top tip for Savemart is to prepare, be patient and don’t spend too much time on the ‘designer’ aisles. In all my trips to Savemart, the good stuff aren’t in the designer racks and they’re also more expensive. The designer racks in Savemart are usually full of Seed, Country Road, Forever New, Zara so mostly high-street brands.

The designer items I’ve found such as the CDJ Play jeans were not in the designer racks. I’ve found Karen Walker dresses, Lululemon activewear, Harris Tapper shirts and RUBY items in the other racks.

The shopping experience in Savemart is my least favourite because of how overwhelming the stock can be, the fitting rooms are horrendous BUT if you get lucky in there, you’ll leave with amazing bargains.

4. Northcote Baptist opshop (38 Pearne Place)

If you’ve been to Northcote Town Centre, you should be able to find this place. My dentist is nearby so I tend to go to this shop whenever I’m there. It’s across all the yummy Asian food places (like Xi’an Food bar).

This shop has expanded so it’s even bigger now but the clothes section is smaller / more limited than the Takapuna Auckland City Mission shop. The prices are cheaper though. I got the Seed knit and Portmans striped sweater for $6 each.

5. Recycle Boutique Takapuna (95 Hurstmere Road)

Recycle Boutique isn’t a charity shop and it is the most expensive shop on this list but it’s one of our favourites. My sister goes here more than the other shops I’ve listed above and she’s found amazing things too (Liam coat, plenty of bomber jackets, HejHej jacket, Kenzo sweater etc).

Recently, I found this embroidered denim jacket with a fluffy inside so perfect for these colder nights ($30). I also found these barely used Isabella Anselmi long boots for $100 and they’re on the website for $390! My older ‘branded’ pieces of clothing are probably from Recycle Boutique. I’ve been shopping in RB since I was at uni (they have a store in the city too, check out Newmarket as well).

My tip for shopping in RB is also to be patient, check the racks as you’ll find gems. There is also a sale/discounted rack. The one in Takapuna is by the shoes. After a few weeks, they put their stock on sale by 25% or 50%. You will see the sale stickers on the tags. The fitting rooms are spacious and lovely so this store has the best shopping experience for me.

Recycle Boutique is also across the road from the Auckland City Mission opshop so you can visit both if you’re in the area!

The shops above are definitely my top 5. If you don’t live in Takapuna, I have also found amazing things in these other opshops:

  • Devonport Hospice Shop – it’s small, also pricey but have good brands
  • Devonport Salvation Army store – this one is close to the ferry terminal. It’s a lot bigger than the hospice shop and the prices are much cheaper too.
  • Devonport Anglican Community Shop – this one is more tucked away in an alleyway but closer to Devonport Chocolate Shop (go get their hot chocolate and then visit this opshop!). This has a lot more vintage items than the other two.
  • Ellice Road Hospice Shop & Clearance Centre – this is the biggest hospice shop that I’ve been to. It has a clearance/warehouse part at the back for even cheaper / bulk items. You can fill a bag or box for around $3-10 (not sure if the prices have changed now). You might find more common brands here as some donations get sent here that we don’t want to put in the Takapuna opshop so the pieces are cheaper. Across the road is also the Vinnies opshop with a clearance part at the back too.
  • Link Drive Hospice Shop – this is tucked away behind the Asian foodcourt and near Spotlight but it’s also a nice opshop. It has an outdoor section with cheap plants/succulents/pots at the back.
  • Link Drive St John Opportunity Shop & Vinnies Opshop – Across the road from the Link Drive hospice shop are these two shops. They’re basically beside each other. I personally find the St John shop much nicer though.

Tips and Tricks:

Since I’ve been a keen opshopper/thrifter for majority of my life, I’ve got my own way of shopping at these stores.

It’s good to know your brands / designers

I don’t think I have many talents and my memory is usually terrible BUT when it comes to designer brands, I’m pretty good at knowing / remembering them. This has become so handy when opshopping. If it’s a smaller charity store or even Savemart, sometimes the people pricing items don’t know smaller designer brands so they price them lower. Where else can you find Lanvin for $18?! Also Ermenegildo Zegna 100% Cashmere for $10 when their cashmere wool blend sweaters on the website are priced at over $1000.

Knowing brands and their logos are quite handy especially when you’re going through racks and racks of clothing. I wasn’t looking for jeans when I went to Savemart but when I walked past the jeans aisle, I saw the red heart logo for the CDG Play so I stopped and had a further look.

Also bear in mind checking if an item is real. In these opshops, authenticity is not guaranteed so do your checks. For this CDG PLAY jeans, the button and all hardware had either the logo or PLAY embossed, the zipper is YKK and even the inside of the pockets had the heart logo. So besides the embroidery on the back pocket, the details of these jeans were great. I also googled it and a listing for this brand’s jeans had all the same details. It’s good to check.

Check the inside label

I always do this now. I don’t just tend to go for designer labels but what I’m mostly looking out for is the material. Cotton, cashmere, linen, wool are my go-tos and I stay away from polyester material. For the pieces I featured above, I instantly checked the inside label as to what material they’re made out of and the care instructions. I usually tend to stay away from dry-clean only material but I do make exceptions if it’s great quality, brand and material.

Check for stains and rips

Unless you’re prepared to mend the clothes, do check if there are any rips in the fabric. Check the seams and stitching. Also check for visible stains. I tend to leave an item if it looks grubby. Soak items too when you get home / prior to putting them in the washing machine just to be sure.

Try things on

I noted some shops above don’t have the best fitting rooms. Most opshop fitting rooms are dire BUT I like to try things on anyway instead of just buying them because they’re cheap. I’m more conscious of what I buy/keep in my wardrobe now so I want to make sure I actually like them on me. Some pieces look nice on the hanger but won’t fit right on me so trying before I buy is what I tend to do.

Check what you’re lacking in your wardrobe first and focus on finding these

There are plenty of times I’ve gone in the opshops without any particular thing in mind and that’s when I tend to impulse buy. In the past few years, I’ve really culled my wardrobe and I keep note on what I need / what is lacking in my wardrobe.

Winter is coming up and I didn’t have any cashmere and wool knits so I focused on finding those. I also didn’t have a long black coat so the MAJE coat and tall boots so those were perfect finds for me. Unless an item is so cheap (the CDG Play jeans at $10), I am more considerate in what I buy now. I don’t need 20 pairs of jeans or dresses because the more I have, the less these items will get worn.

Be patient

Sometimes it’s down to luck. I don’t always find gems to buy every time I go in an opshop. It can be a hit or miss but if you’re patient and have time to go through the racks, you might find something good. An opshop is not really a place you go in for just a few minutes.

I think that’s all I can share / think about when it comes to opshopping. You can definitely build a whole wardrobe by buying secondhand items. You can find some good quality pieces and you won’t have to pay full retail price for them and it’s a more sustainable way of shopping as you’re giving these pieces a second life.

I’m also aware that finding my size and style in opshops is a lot easier though and that opshopping isn’t for everyone. The reality is most opshops have straight sized clothing and there aren’t a lot of options for plus sizes. There are also a lot more selection for women’s clothing compared to men and kid’s clothing. Some of these shops have a designated plus size rack (I know Recycle Boutique does and also a plus size aisle in Savemart). However, If you’re interested in opshopping / secondhand shopping, I hope this blog post helps you in some way. πŸ™‚

Lastly, if going in the shops is too much effort for you or the shops above are too far, I’ve also shared where you can shop secondhand online in this blog post. Designerwardrobe, Trademe, Recycle Boutique online and some Instagram sellers are a few places to check out online.

If you don’t follow me on Instagram, you can follow me there as I usually post my haul and more ‘real time’ opshopping updates.

If you’ve made it to the end of this post, thank you and I hope you find some amazing opshop bargains soon! πŸ™‚

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