Monday, January 18, 2010

RSPCA op shop, Burwood East

This op-shop is sick. It suffers from chronic overcrowding. It's a mountain of vintage with clothes squashed onto racks on tangled coat hangers making browsing exhausting.

It really is a terrible disease because the RSPCA opshop in Burwood is very good. There are some unique pieces here, a completely inventive selection and different than what you’d expect from a suburban op-shop at the back of a shopping complex.

However the volume of clothes is just overwhelming and some of the good knitted pieces and lovely cream white shirts have been damaged and dirtied in the clutter. It’s junkyard brilliance, but makes for frustrating shopping.

The left side of the narrow shop stretches to the far back wall. It’s lined with kitsch porcelain pieces, like pots shaped like swans and tiny soldier pepper and saltshakers. There are big baskets filled with an impressive selection of linen, lacy table clothes, chequered tea towels, bed sheets and floral doona covers. There are books, old VHS tapes and noisy children’s toys and clothes as well.

There as been some sort of process to the organisation of clothes. Blacks, cream and white tops are sorted together and there is a lovely collection of heavy woollen jumpers and jackets hanging from a rack on the second level.

I loved a French-made navy body suit that was constructed from this silky corduroy material and given shape by teardrop shoulder pads. There was a velvet black top, cropped at the waist and several beautifully made cream shirts. The selection of cream and white shirts deserves extra attention, as they really were lovely. Some had little rows of pearls laced through the collar and down the front, others were button down with lacy collars and there was one lovely loose midriff shirt with long sleeves.

There were some interesting knitted pieces too, heavy cream pieces interwoven with green yarn, cardigans, multi-coloured knitted vests and white jumpers with pearls and gold thread embroidered through-out.

A big selection of jeans was balanced by a reasonable collection of wide slack pants and pencil skirts. It was not quite Dynasty power dressing, but there were some nice, understated jackets from the 80s. I loved a couple of woven ones with faux fur lining and a houndshooth jacket in black and white.

Amidst the mess there were some glimpses of unwearable brilliance, big taffeta formal dressed from the 1980s with hewn in waists, puffy skirts and embroidered and shoulder-padded collars.

Ultimately the collection is bloated and hard to sort through despite some unique finds. The shop is overwhelmed with donations; there were a couple of volunteers putting excess stock into bins while I was there. Go, but be patient, good finds are only a little extra muscle power away.

where is it? Shop 9 & 10, 2-8 Burwood Hwy, Burwood East
how do i get there? The no.75 tram to the corner of Middleborough and Burwood Hwy. It's at the back of the shopping centre opposite the RSPCA animal shelter.
will i have to wait for a change room? there are 2, though one is used to store excess stock.
whats on the stereo? no music
i'm hungry? Brumbies is next door, also a greasy fish and chip place and a cafe with a $7 egg and bacon sandwich and coffee special


  1. Wow, sounds great - I must visit one day... If only it wasn't so far from Frankston to Burwood!!

  2. hey, yes it was good, crowded but good. I really want to check out some of the opshops in Frankston.

    I've heard there is some good stuff around!

  3. You hit the nail on the head when you said they are overwhelmed with donations. They probably get stuff from just about all the members of the RSPCA, not to mention the locals! I've found some great stuff in there, and they're not over priced, but as you say, it's pretty untidy in there. But they do their best.

  4. There is also a RSPCA shop in Frankston - not as crowded but also great finds. It's on the corner of Playne St & Young St.

  5. Oh, great, thanks for that! I think I'm going to catch the train to Frankston one day and check out all the opshops!

    I here savers is good there too!

  6. Yes, frankston has some awesome op shops - savers and RSPCA are my favs, you should have a squiz one day.