Ooooh, the very first Mode & Methodology op shop outing is rapidly approaching! No idea what I’m talking about? No worries, just check out this link here and if you’re a Wellington-adjacent lady, mark next Saturday morning as a day to shop it up! You can check out the Thrifting page for a round up of the bits and bobs I’ve written about secondhand shopping, and when you do that you’ll notice that over and over again I say: you must have an idea of what you want to find. To give you the gist, I’m disclosing my list (ooh, poetry). Now, this is crazy-long because I just brain dump into the Notes app on my phone, but I have prioritized the list so this is from “find first” to “ah well I just ran out of time…next time”.
(If you’re coming on the 25th, I’ll be asking you what you’re looking for because I will be skimming racks for all of you while you shop…so get pondering plz).
Velvet trousers, wool trousers (pref quite masculine), and leather trousers
As we know, I am a victim of my own muscles and can no longer fit my quads and gluts into a range of my trousers. This includes my favourite grey leather trousers and my favourite red Moschino wool trousers. I love a good trou for winter so I will go directly to the several rails of pants and do a good hunt for these options (velvet trousers have been a long term goal and I’ve tried a few options in the past with no success. The hunt continues).
I’m particularly a fan of wide, or tapered, woolen trousers that can be cinched with a belt at the waist. It’s not a paperbag waist, which I have always found to be…not my thing. Instead, all the volume is below the waistband and it means doing a French tuck is easy. These are really great paired with a chunkier knit (or something like mohair), but try to find a lined pair, since the possibility of itchiness is very real.
Men’s velvet dressing gowns, corduroy jackets, leather jackets
I think a fancy-pants retro dressing gown is a coat in the making, so I am keeping my eyes peeled for one of these (you can actually find them online quite easily but I’m keen to try on). I also really want a corduroy jacket – preferably boxy – for a good weekend “throw on and go” option. I refuse to buy one of the many options available new, because sorry but we’ve been wearing corduroy for a long blimming time and I definitely think there’s a boys’ or mens’ version out there waiting for my love and attention. While I’m here I’ll probs also look for chunky jumpers in the smaller mens’ sizes.
I have a black leather jacket from Blak Luxe that I really enjoy, but I’d like a boxier, heavier (thicker?) option for colder weather. I may end up buying one in NY as a v special treat, but until then I keep checking, checking, checking.
Beaded bags, top handle statementish bags, wide belts and wool scarves
To dress for winter is to accessorise with abandon. You wear coats every day, it’s easy enough to feel seriously frumpy, and accessories are here to be the sprinkles on your outfit that make getting dressed a worthy endeavor. I’m keen to grab a couple of coloured wide belts to add to my collection so I can cinch in coats and jumpers. I’m all about a top handle bag with great gloves (also fun to buy vintage) and the popularity of the Shrimps faux pearl bag has lit a fire under my desire (endless poetry!) to carry embellished, beaded options. The Shrimps bag is something like $1000+ in NZD so that’s a hard no, and I don’t want to buy a rip off. Luckily, this is not the first generation of women to enjoy a bag made largely of beads woven together.
Wool scarves are one of those things I look for year after year. A good quality wool scarf is really expensive new (and it should be), but assiduous searching will yield a good option here and there so long as you are happy to be flexible on colour or print.
Bits and bobs: chiffon skirts, shirts with great collars, particular prints and colours
These are the things that don’t really fall into a category but will add some fun and update your wardrobe. Right now I’m keen to find a chiffon skirt (preferably one from the 90s, with a contrasting solid colour underneath), shirts with great collars to layer under jumpers for more interest, items in bright pastels (think peach, pistachio and buttercup yellow with just the tiniest hint of neon) and patchwork prints (or better still, really good actual patchwork).
The “do not need but will just check”: prairie dresses, chunky knits, block heel boots
These are near the bottom of the list because really, I have enough of these. However, I love them, so I always just do a quicksy check (remembering that they would have to be subject to the one-in-one-out methodology).
The unicorns: vintage trouser suits, boiler suits, random eccentric vintage
I don’t look for these last so much as I look for them perpetually. I want a vintage trouser suit in a block colour and finding one may be the only thing I do for ten days in New York (jokes! I will also eat to fuel my search). My desire for a vintage boiler suit – not in denim – is a dream that currently still eludes me, but I check every time I go to any op shop (again, I want to try this on in real life because the shoulder to crotch measurement is KEY).
I also keep my eyes peeled for random, eccentric vintage stuff that isn’t on trend but is just innately fabulous. My latest buy was a pure wool check cape in burgundy and chartreuse from Southwell NZ, which must be from the late 60s or early 70s. I treasure it and can’t wait for a relatively still, crisp day, so I can wear it out and about with my beautiful burgundy gloves from Kept, a pair of dark sunglasses, and the kind of confident attitude that can only come from wearing something effing fabulous.
As you can see, this list is both specific and general – it keeps me on task but it also gives me a bit of space to be flexible and experiment. It’s long enough that if I fail out in one area I will still have lots of potential success (without buying things that aren’t targeted to gaps in my wardrobe), but, once categorized, short enough that I can pretty much remember it without breaking a sweat, which is perfect if you have a surprise op shop opportunity!