Monday, August 31, 2009

MS Shop, Glen Waverley

MS Shop in Kingsway, Glen Waverley is a quirky suburban treasure. It has this great Sunday market feel with homemade orange jam and a pink basket of lemons for sale at the front counter.

The range of items in this op-shop is a little daunting, but it is worth persisting. There is some nice stuff here, and you'd be surprised at some of the one-off pieces you pull out off the racks. I'll start with the clothes. The shop has this rich aroma of old fabric, and someone has obviously taken the time carefully colour/fabric code all the dresses under blacks, darks, bright solid colours, lace whites, sheer and misc. patterns. There are some plain fitted dresses that could be easily shortened and accessorised, a fitted two-toned dress with box sleeves and a purple dress with an embroidered collar. I also spotted a cute cobalt blue jacket and a bright, patterned jacket with bat-wing sleeves in the jacket/jumper rack.

If buying second-hand lingere is your thing then the op-shop has an ok selection. It has a few everyday plain and patterned bras and this pair of disturbingly large lacy granny panties for $5. The clothes are so tightly packed together it makes browsing difficult, they also were a little crumpled and ever so slightly damp to touch. Pick of the day went to this awesome, floor-length lace dress (which was most likely once a wedding dress) that could be shortened and taken in to make something really nice ($20!!.)

The mens range was good, there were some nice sports jackets and suit pants and a few shirts that would be good for casual/workwear. Stand-out pieces in the mens section were a couple of leather jackets with leather patterns/featuring on the shoulders. The cuts were good and the leather felt nice and looked in good condition.

The shoe selection was average, though most of the shoes appeared very well-loved. Though from what I saw, everything on the shelf was half price. The sportswear for men and women was impressive as well - apart from the usual tracksuit sets, netball skirts etc - I discovered a full set of golf clubs and a golf bag hidden behind a rack of womens dresses. There is an impressive selection of ties near the change-rooms at the back of the shop - no wacky patterns, just your standard diamonds on royal blues etc. Disturbingly I also found a blazer from my high school, seriously those things should be burnt immediately after year twelve ends.

This shop was so cluttered it was charming. General bric-a-brac only partially describes it. lets start a list:

lamp shades, paintings, glasswear, sauces and cups, plates, brief cases, travel bags, linen, table cloths, silverwear, placemats, vases, cooking utensils, cutlery, wicker bastkets, jars, baking tins, jars, boxes of rusty metal clasps (5 for $1), sporting equipment, records, playing cards, jewelery, electrical cords. I have found a box of old pc mouses.

If you were wanting to fit out a share house this place is definately worth a visit. Glasses (from shot, wine, tumblers, long glasses) range from about 50c to $2. The display of items reminds me of grandma's cupboard - haphazardly stacked and full of kitsch designs. There is a good range of second hand books, though everything is a little all over the place. Your average Maeve Binchy will set you back about $1-$2.

Browsing can be a little hazardous, a lot of the stuff is packed into boxes on the floor and I was petrified of falling down and bringing down the glass wear/plates down with me. It would have been absolutely spectacular if it had happened though! Most of the clothes are on circular racks in the center of the shop (which is pretty deep) and as long as you keep you elbows in you're ok. It was not really all the easy to access handbags and other accessories as most of them were kept locked in the glass counter and in a shelve behind the counter. This was a bit disappointing, as you should always get a hands-on sense of the bag you're buying and its a little hard to touch, smell it and check for quality as you should under the eyes of the sales assistant.

The service was friendly, I was listening in on a conversation between two of the volunteers at the front counter as I browsed menswear. One of them has a daughter who is just about to get married to a Russian with a good job in IT. Maybe if you pop in pass on my congratulations.

In terms of prices - dresses and jackets range from about $5-$20. Mens pants from about $15 and jackets from $20-$30. Prices for plates and tea-cup sets were the most diverse - between $1 - $15 for a pretty little pink teacup with daisies on it. Across the board items in the shop are very moderately priced. The window display was also nice, if a little bit of a second-hand jungle.

where is it?
96 Kingsway, Glen Waverley
how do i get there? Catch the Glen Waverley train to Glen Waverley station
will i have to wait for a change room? 2 changerooms
whats on the stereo? Gold FM (Elvis, the Kinks, Bob Marley
i'm hungry?
you can't go past Bob's Kitchen a couple of doors up from the op-shop. Cheap dumplings and fast service, its a local staple. Alternatively if you're not up for Chinese food a new place called Cafe Moretti as opened up on the corner. It's Italian, moderately priced and has the best selection of cakes.
can I get a park? theoretically yes, there is plenty, but sometimes (especially on weekends) it can be a little tricky. Park behind Kingsway (opposite the train station) or you can try the multi-level car park opposite the Glen Waverley

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Friday, August 28, 2009

Australian Red Cross Op Shop - Bentleigh

I went locally this week when looking for an op-shop to review. The Australian Red Cross Op - Shop sits at almost at the end of the busy strip of shops in Centre Rd in Bentleigh.

Its not really an op-shop where you are likely to come across vintage treasures (though I did manage to locate a cool patterned shift dress from stitches and a stripey dress with puffy sleeves and a drawn in waist from the dress company) but it is full of simple cuts and well cared for pieces that could be perfect for work or everyday wear.

I have to say the mens wear section was impressive, especially the shoe section ( i have a bit of a thing for laced-up mens boots at the moment.) There was also a large amount of denim (both in mens and womens), suit pants and shirts. There was a good sense of spacing in the shop with racks of clothes in the middle and along the walls of the medium-sized space. It made it easy to browse through items individually. In the womens wear section they had a nice range of coats and some black sheer tops with sparkling (i'm a bit of a sucker for things that sparkle or have sequins.) There was also a nice variety of patterns and fabrics - though I must say the range of tops and skirts are probably for the older woman. The shop had an ok-range of accessories, bags and shoes for women, which was enhanced by the neat and well-thought out presentation.

Service was lovely and the ladies who ran the shop seemed to be really helpful to customers. The prices were pretty good - ranging from about $5 for tops and skirts to about $15 for dresses, pants and other larger items. Not really the place to go if you are looking for a leather jacket though. Window display was ok. The shop is also looking for volunteers at the moment. So if you're interested you should go and apply, it's a pretty simple process - it involves having a chat to the centre manager, filling in some forms, which are then sent off for a criminal check. After about 3 months (if you check out ok in the criminal check) you are all set to go.

where is it?
455 Centre Rd, Bentleigh
how do i get there? Catch the train to Frankston, get off the train at Bentleight Station
will i have to wait for a change room? 2 changerooms
whats on the stereo? Magic 1278
i'm hungry? just down the road from the op-shop is a little, moderately priced cafe called "cafe vercelli" - its one of those little coffee and cake places which also does pasta, soups etc. Alternatively you can always wander down the road a little to Subway.

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