Friday, November 20, 2009

St James Op Shop, Tooronga

St James' occupies a little space off the tram line in central Tooronga. It's posh, but a little shabby. With old wooden fittings and grand old green carpets with little white arrows speckled through them.

On a rainy but sticky afternoon a volunteer with a severe haircut and a clipped accent was sorting through clothes from a deceased estate at the counter. The selection reflected the affluent surrounds of Tooronga and neighbouring Malvern, though some of the pieces were a little careworn and old-fashioned. The shop has that heady, musky smell of old clothes and mothballs.

There were some delicate white and cream shirts. Most had soft embroidery around the collar and along the sides, I loved this peach one with little bows sewn into the collar. The men's suits were heavy and in good condition, despite some marks around the collar. There was a little section devoted entirely to evening dresses. A floor-length dress, with lines of glimmery sequins, a high neckline and a scooped stood out from the other dresses. Though I did admire a knee-length black dress the velvet roses and a high, draped neck.

The shop had these lovely old wooden fixtures, lined with shoes and black handbags with gold edges. Lamp shades, blankets, woolly bed spreads, pot holders, threads and items for making tapestries were stored in neatly labelled boxes on the shelves above the racks of clothes.

The entire shop felt like a country tearoom, it had a little area out the back that had baby clothes, men's shirts and books and looked out onto the overgrown garden behind the shop. I loved this white lace top I found on a circular rack of women's shirts, it was cropped at the waist and had slightly puffy sleeves.

Despite a few stand-out pieces the dress collection was a little generic. There were a few black fitted dresses and heavy "shirt dresses" made from bright material. But the store had its own charm and there were some well-made and delicate pieces (I loved the little sherry glasses and porcelain figurines in the backroom.)

FINAL WORD: Posh/shabby chic, with brisk volunteers but some unique pieces. A perfect place with a country op-shop feel, good for browsing on a rainy afternoon.

where is it? 1378 Malvern Rd, Tooronga
how do i get there? Tram no.72 to the corner of Malvern and Glenferrie Rd
will i have to wait for a change room? 1 changeroom
whats on the stereo? nothing!
i'm hungry? There is milkbar next door, or if you are feeling like a big meal, there is a great Vietnamese restaurant a couple of stores up.


  1. I can't believe nobody else has left comments here - this is one of the best opshop blogs I've of the best blogs fullstop! I've just spent an enjoyable half hour reading everything, and am going to put you on my sidebar for other to find and enjoy. Are you a journalist? Your writing style is a delight to read, and you say all the things that need to be said about the opshops you visit!

  2. Hi Gina,

    it's really great to have some feedback, I've started the blog only a couple of months ago .. so the writing style is developing along as I go!

    I'm not a journalist, but I do work in communications! I loved the kookaburras on your blog! I cant believe they come so close to your house!! They are great pictures.

  3. Glad you liked our kookaburras! We don't get as many now as we did immediately after the bushfires; I'm sure they came down from Kinglake as that was the nearest fire to us in Eltham.
    I posted a few sentences about you on my blog, so I'm sure you'll get some more readers, even if they don't comment!

  4. Hi,

    thanks Gina, that is really nice of you. Which blog did you post it on? haha, I'd like to have a read.


  5. Oh sorry Steph - I should have mentioned that! It is here:

  6. Hey Gina,
    I had a look and it's was very nice. Thanks again! I also liked the blog!