Monday, October 12, 2009

Salvation Army Op-Shop, North Melbourne

The Salvo's in North Melbourne is one of those neat almost clinical spaces that I have come to associate with the majority of Salvation Army stores around Melbourne.

Sandy yellow walls and earthy red coloured linoleum match the colour-coded clothes on long racks. There is plenty of room to browse, but also lots of clothes.

It's a big warehouse style store on busy, but underrated Errol St in North Melbourne. Large Men's and Women's clothing sections are parted by bags, baskets of yarn and knitting needles, books and a small VHS collection.

I found that the best pieces were on the racks at the front of the shop. The leather felt extremely soft on this bomber jacket with light and dark brown patches. I also liked a thick cardigan that was "vintage" Katies (it's daggy now, but I've found some nice Katie's dresses, cardigans and shirts from the 80s in second-hand shops) with green and cobalt blue patches. The dress racks were overflowing with items in different colours and textures. In general the shop had this great balance of textured, unique items (velvet, faux fur linings, cashmere and knitted materials) and functional pieces like jeans, slacks and shirts.

The menswear section had a similar sense of diversity. There were some great pointed brown shoes, pork-pie hats and shirts/business suits mixed with racks of colourful ties, wacky shoes with colourful laces and those denim bomber-jackets that inspire memories of a cold chisel film clip.

There was a small home-wear and furniture section at the front of the shop, I admired this rose-wood coloured table until I came up close and it was covered with tiny scratches. Now, everyone feels differently about second-hand mattresses, but there were several reasonably priced mattresses and bases along the back wall (roughly $195 each) and they looked in good condition.

I bought this beautiful jacket made from cashmere and wool with large brass-like buttons along each lapel for $20 (... there was a button missing.) This price was pretty reflective of the prices of the other items in the store. Quality jackets and dresses between $15-$20, but some of the smaller items (like shirts and jumpers) were around $5.

It's an exceedingly clean shop, even if it lacks a little bit of that second-hand store charm. With big-second hand/op-shop "chain" stores like Savers and The Salvo's, op-shopping is becoming a bit more like shopping in a department store. Which is both and good and bad thing. However, in the case of this op-shop the quality of the clothes do speak for themselves despite a lack of atmosphere.

address 19-23 Errol St North Melbourne
how do I get there? the 57 West Maribyrnong Tram from Elizabeth St in the CBD - Stop 12.
what's to eat? Errol's cafe up the road is a nice licensed bar and cafe
what's on the radio? Triple J
eftpos? yes

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