Op Shopping Hacks with Hannah Klose of Never Ever Pay Retail

“I can’t find anything in my size”

“Why op shop when I can get something just as cheap brand new?”

“Op shopping is too hard”

“Op shops don’t have modern styles”

If any of these responses sound like you, you’ve come to the right place.

Hannah Klose is passionate about sustainable fashion and with a wardrobe of 99% pre-loved clothing, she is an op shopping pro. She shares her chic finds and nifty tips with thousands of enthusiasts on the addictive ‘Never Ever Pay Retail’ Blog and Instagram page.

Whether you’ve hit a rut on your op shopping journey or are in need of motivation to divert from mainstream fashion, Hannah is sure to get you hooked on the chase and thrill of thrifting.

Amy: Why do you choose to op shop? 

Hannah: It makes so much cents, pun intended! It’s kind on your wallet but it’s also kind on the planet…op shops divert 300,000 tonnes of textiles from landfill each year here in Australia and it’s nice to be a part of that. Plus it’s the best kind of retail therapy because at the end of the day you’re making a donation to charity, so there’s no regrets!

Why would you recommend op shopping? 

Aside from a really great work out from rummaging, it’s actually a lot of fun…there’s something about the thrill of the chase that gets your heart rate up. It’s kind of like a treasure hunt and you’d be amazed at the pieces you’ll find…secondhand really doesn’t mean second best. I’ve found designer pieces that I could never afford IRL going for $5!!!

An issue a lot of people have with op shopping is the struggle to find a garment that suits their taste in the right size, what are your top tips for successful op shopping? 

I hear you on the size front…like Eminem said ‘you only get one shot’! I’ve actually bought a sewing machine so I can make minor alterations to make garments work for me, but if you’re lacking the sewing skills get your mum or a seamstress on speed dial! Sizes can be a bit misleading though… a vintage size size 16 is more like an 8-10 these days, so I always recommend trying things on. Plus you should definitely shop every rack…from the kids clothes, to menswear and plus size…I’ve found amazing clothes that surprisingly fit me from every single section of secondhand shops!

What DIY alterations would you recommend for people to try on thrifted clothes? 

An easy DIY is bringing up the hemline on shorts, skirts and dresses to make them more 21st century/less Nanna. I also love thrifting vintage high waisted jeans and turning them into denim cutoffs, and sticking floral patches onto denim jackets with fabric glue! Oh and men’s shirts are so fun to repurpose…I love borrowing from the boys as you can see here.

Are there certain times during the year that you find better buys? 

I know it’s super cliché but everyone seems to do their spring clean post-winter so there always seems to be plenty of stock around that time of year. But aside from that it’s hard to predict from one week to the next…that’s why you have to keep at it!

Have you ever met the previous owner of an op shop item? 

I actually have thanks to Instagram! I posted a photo of a pink tee that has the word Wednesday printed on it, and this girl commented that she’d just donated it to Studio Thrifty 4! Feels very Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants when that happens! haha.

Your Instagram page has a great following, why do you think this is? 

Thank you so much! It’s really encouraging to see so many people interested in op shopping and sustainable style. I think that people want to know where to go to find the op shop gold and be inspired by the things you can find thrifting.

Some people, teenagers especially, have a negative perception of op shopping. How do you think we can change this stigma? 

I think social media plays a huge role in shifting perceptions, and I think if we could get more influencers and celebrities to endorse secondhand style we’d be well on our way.

How do you think we can change society’s behavior to thrift and recycle clothing rather than relying on fast fashion for a retail fix? 

I think awareness is the key…if people understood the ‘True Cost of fashion’ (best doco on Netflix hands down) and how it’s impacting the planet and people working in the worst conditions in developing countries, they wouldn’t view those ‘bargains’ at fast fashion outlets the same way. We need more in the mainstream media channels like the ABC’s TV series ‘War on Waste’. That really was an eye opener…6000 kg of textile waste goes to landfill every 10 minutes in Australia!

For more on the harmful effects of fast fashion or op shopping tips and tricks, check out my other sustainable fashion articles:

Sustainable Living: Re-thinking Retail

All Things Op Shopping with Peter Goers