It started over Instagram. I was following Marguerite Berkeley as she sold vintage Breton tops through Instagram and local Brisbane markets. She posted she was offering thrift shopping tours at $50 per person in Brisbane’s Paddington. We messaged via Instagram and agreed to meet.
Fast forward two weeks and my friend Brooke and I are in a cafe on Brisbane’s Given Terrace. I spied Marguerite straight away. She wore a Scanlan Theodore blouse as a jacket over a striped top. Her jeans were cinched with a silk scarf and she wore black combat boots.
Marguerite had worked in fashion for decades with stints at Country Road and Scanlan Theodore. The tour began with a mini-consultation. Marguerite wanted to know our thoughts on personal style and what items we were looking for to fill our wardrobe. Brooke had just started a new job and was looking for a pair of navy pants and office-appropriate blouses. I had a more open remit. There was nothing I desperately needed, I was just happy to indulge in guilt-free sustainable shopping with a pro.
First Stop: Encore La Chance
Our first stop was a consignment store, Encore La Chance. There’s a very strong possibility, I never would have walked into this store if not for Marguerite. And yet, it’s a true treasure trove. For several thousand dollars there was a black, tulle Dolce & Gabbana dress hanging in the store. Sadly, I did not take it home. Brooke found several blouses with Marguerite ferrying styles to her in the change room. I took home a khaki gilet for $10 (already worn to a parent event at my son’s school) and a wild sequined All Saints, Spitalfields vest (since worn to the office).
Second Stop: ReStyled Co
The next stop was another consignment store, ReStyled Co and again with Marguerite helping us navigate racks, sizes and items. At the following boutique, Retro Metro, I picked up two cotton vintage shirts for my sons. We then hit the op-shops of Paddington: Vinnies and the Australian Red Cross Shop. Marguerite cautioned on a previous tour the Red Cross shop was too crowded but we were lucky on the day we visited. Not too overwhelming, just a bit of a wait for a change room. I picked up a pair of suede moccasin boots and a hand-painted salad bowl.
Tips & Treasures
One of the best things about shopping with Marguerite was she got me looking at clothes and accessories in new ways. There was a gold belt with a buckle that featured a frog on a lily pond found at Vinnies. Marguerite suggested wearing the belt as a necklace (which I’ve since done). She cast her eye over items and pulled new, unexpected pieces from the racks.
In the evening, after our tour, Brooke and I texted: “That was the best day shopping ever,” Brooke picked up her wished-for pair of Country Road navy trousers for her new role, a Toupy Paris silk slip with frilled sleeves, Loeffler Randal metallic sneakers, an oatmeal Bassike top and a clutch of blouses – all for under $450, all second-hand, all kinder on the planet than excessive fast fashion. I had an equally thrifty haul of unusual items that felt like style kismet.
What to Bring
I brought a large straw market bag with me with the expectation I would be making some purchases but I did not bring bottled water and regretted it. Bring water!