Saturday, October 17, 2009

Grey St Op Shop, St Kilda

The Grey St Op Shop is an off-shoot of the sacred heart mission, located in a cavernous old church hall on the crest of the hill in Grey St, St Kilda. It's warm, closed off space, drenched in these lovely rose colours, which radiate from the glass on the high, stained windows.

The store has this quirky decor. Oriental paper umbrellas line the back wall, while lanterns and floral arrangements in plastic cones dangle from the ceiling. Circling above them all are two paper-mache whales that "swim" suspended by wires above the shop. It's lovely, every time I scanned the shop, I found something obscure suspended somewhere above.

The collection itself looks bigger than it actually is. The organisation of clothes is a little dysfunctional, with racks of men's and women's apparel scattered through-out the shop. The lack of order actually works quite well, giving the store this Sunday market feel. I have to admit I wasn't all that impressed by the clothes when I first browsed through. There was nothing all that unique, but you could tell by the functional and well-kept and stocked variety of clothes that this op-shop had a real community focus.

The best pieces seemed to be buried at the back of racks crammed with sensible black pencil skirts, t-shirts and casual jackets and jumpers. Nestled between a beige jersey trench and a rain slicker I pulled out a faux fur jacket that was speckled in this orange and black colour. The faux fur looked more like ostrich feathers, and the coat had these wonderful brass buttons with huge opaque centers. On the other side of the store I found a red leopard print top with long sleeves and a gathered collar. It was made of this wonderful light material and was $5.

The shoe collection is worth a look. Located on the far left side of the hall, there were several shelves of neatly arranged and quietly impressive shoes. There were black, gold and beige pumps and flats for women, and a couple of ornate sandals with rope ties and buckles. The men's shoe range included some lovely black and brown formal pieces, I loved a pair of black ankle lace-up boots from country road.

Aside from the clothes, the op-shop had a fantastic smattering of obscure trinkets, old-style furniture, records and glass-wear through-out the shop. I loved this white chest of draws with gold handles down the front and admired some cute sherry glasses. As a bit of a side-note the shop had a great range of cheap glass-wear and cutlery (all items around the 50c mark.) Not only were there individual items, but you could purchase sets of glasses and mugs.

As mentioned a little earlier the shop has this great community feel, I went on a Saturday afternoon and the shop was busy with locals browsing and dropping off donations. They even allow dogs inside, I almost stepped on a pug dog panting ferociously underneath a clothes rack. The staff were friendly and a security guard kept a watchful eye over the shop (though I did catch him trying on a suit jacket just before I left.)

After my initial disappointment with the clothes in the op-shop I really wanted to give it a second chance before I left. I browsed through a rack near the front of the store and found a Lisa Ho long-sleeved lace top made from a browny-gold viney material for $15.

The shop itself is this adorned sanctuary with a lovely atmosphere, while there were not any outstanding pieces, it's worth a second look to find some smaller items that may boost your own collection.

where is it?
87a Grey St, St Kilda
how do I get there? the no.16 tram to St Kilda or the no.96 light rail tram to the intersection of grey st and fitzroy st in St Kilda.
what was playing on the radio? Macey Grey
will I have to wait for a changeroom? unfortunately yes, there are only two.
i'm hungry? try something on fitzroy st st kilda, I had a plastic cup of chocolate mousse from a little bakery after shopping.

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