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OP-SHOP CHALLENGE

Op-Shop Challenge Wellington March

Many claim to be the best at finding a bargain, but who really is the op-shop king or queen? Every month Massive will send out three writers from different parts of New Zealand to find a ‘new’ outfit for less than $25. Points are awarded for overall style, money saved, accessories, and of course ‘coolness’. This month, Angela takes up the challenge.

Op-Shop Challenge Wellington March
Angela - Shoes:$9.00; Clutch:$6.00; Dress:$6.00

Wellingtonians are in love with op-shops. There are new op-shops popping up all over the city, and the suburbs are crawling with secret treasure coves.

My favourite thing about op-shops is the eco factor. If I could afford it, my wardrobe would be full of eco-friendly clothes made from stainable materials. But, sadly, the price tag that comes with an eco wardrobe is not so economically friendly. Enter op-shops – eco shopping through recycling and on a budget that anyone can afford.
So, keeping in my budget and eco-friendly desire, for this challenge I wanted to find an evening outfit that could be worn again and again, meaning a very happy me and very happy wallet!

My first stop was Opportunity for Animals in Kilbirnie where I picked up my shoes – winning! I find shoes the hardest thing to buy from an op shop because, unlike clothes which can be washed and cleaned, often shoes look very tired. But I was in luck. Kilbirnie and Newtown have some good op-shops, but if you want to get lost in the never-ending wardrobes of op-shops, Cuba Street really is the best place to go.

My favourite op-shop there is Paper Bag Princess. With time on my side, I got lost among the clothes, trying to imagine the journeys they had been a part of. I found a gorgeous dress perfect for any night out and for $10 I couldn’t have found a better bargain. I highly recommend Paper Bag Princess, nothing is over $20 and they even have sales, which is rare at an op-shop.

Between all the beautiful jewels you can find in op-shops, every now and then your heart is broken when you find that perfect piece that isn’t in your size. If you find something beautiful that doesn’t quite fit, you can always get it altered, often for a pretty good price (or ask your mates doing fashion design to put their skills to use).

Luckily, I learnt how to sew at a young age, so I did a few minor alternations on my dress to take it in at the sides, so it would fit as if it was made just for me.

With my outstanding shoes, dress and bag I had an outfit that looks great together and can be worn again and again. Perfect for a student’s life, where an outfit for the nights out far outweigh the importance of finding something to wear to the next lecture. Special thanks to my beautiful model, Tanya Pryde.


Many claim to be the best at finding a bargain, but who really is the op-shop king or queen? Every month Massive will send out three writers from different parts of New Zealand to find a ‘new’ outfit for less than $25. Points are awarded for overall style, money saved, accessories, and of course ‘coolness’. This month, Yvette takes up the challenge.

I’ll admit I’m a bit of a label thrasher, so when I heard I was doing the Op-Shop Challenge I had a nervous flutter in my stomach.

Op-Shop Challenge Palmerston North March
Yvette - Black jacket $4.00; Dress $2.00; Belt Free; Clutch $2.00; Shoes $3.00; Ring $2.00; Bangle $2.00; Necklace $0.50

Reassuringly, my flatmate is an op-shopping expert, and she steered me in the right direction. My first stop was Seekers Megamart down Fitzherbert Street, a two-storey building with a massive range of clothing. With only $25 in hand I had my doubts that I would find a sweet outfit for O-Week, but my flatmate assured me I would be fine.

To my delight, Seekers was having a 50%-off sale on their already cheap clothing. I picked up a near new black jacket for only $4 (originally from Ezibuy!). Rummaging through the dress rack I found an extra large top that was long enough to be a dress on me, and I cinched it in at the waist with a black belt, my total now reaching $6.

With my outfit picked out, all I needed now were accessories and shoes. I found a cute black and white clutch in a bargain bin for $2, but didn’t have any luck finding shoes that fitted my ample, but articulately manicured feet.

I then made my way to the Salvation Army down Church Street. Wearing second-hand shoes was something I had previously thought of as gross, but I was surprised when I found some cute (and barely used) pointed toe heels in my size.

Lacking jewellery, my last stop was Save Mart. They had a modest amount of jewellery at the counter, and I was pleased to find a gorgeous cubic zirconia ring that was very Marilyn Monroe-esk, for $2. Another bargain I found was a heart-shaped necklace for only 50 cents! I finished my outfit off with a black bangle, bringing my grand total to $15.50.

My complete outfit is versatile and would be suitable for clubbing, going to the races, and even attending a wedding. I am in love with my $4 jacket, and I have been spotted wearing it on campus as well as around town.

All up, my op-shopping adventure lasted one hour, remarkably short for someone as picky as me, and I now admit I have the op-shopping bug. One word to describe my op-shopping experience? Successful.


Many claim to be the best at finding a bargain, but who really is the op-shop king or queen? Every month Massive will send out three writers from different parts of New Zealand to find a ‘new’ outfit for less than $25. Points are awarded for overall style, money saved, accessories, and of course ‘coolness’. This month, Jessica Frank takes up the challenge.

Op-Shop Challenge Albany MarchLooking back now, I was probably a bit naïve going into the Op-Shop Challenge. Initially I thought, “piece of cake!” So, on an early morning I set out for K Road, where I thought I was bound to find the perfect outfit in the abundance of second-hand clothing stores. I checked in at over five op-shops, many of which were my regulars – but nothing would catch my eye. And in the midst of my nativity I realised that I had never bought anything “fancy smancy” from any of these stores! All I could come across were shirts with too many polka dots and skirts that had had too many owners. In my defeat, I sat down to a slice of Sal’s Pizza and ate my troubles away.

It had become evident that this wasn’t going to be a “slam bam thank you ma’am” kinda deal. My only option was to pay a visit to the biggest op-shop I knew – Savemart.

I spent a good couple of hours hunting through the vast colour-organised rows, flipping hanger after hanger. Some would think that maybe I was being a little too fussy, but I wasn’t about to give up on finding the perfect outfit.

I believe I found this when I spotted a pretty peach-coloured top with large sleeves and tassels hanging from the ends. It looked great with a poofy black skirt I had found earlier. I then snatched up a belt to go with it, along with an amazing pair of black and white swing-shoes and headed for the counter.

However, while waiting in line I noticed a blue button-up shirt with the best collar. I quickly got out of line and headed back to the changing rooms. It was perfect, and a lot more of me than an oversized peach shirt with tassels. With a couple of bucks remaining, I grabbed a necklace hanging on the wall, and I was out of there!

As I left I almost felt silly for how triumphant I was feeling, but I loved my outfit and I definitely think that it is worthy of a night out.


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