Meet Tracey – vintage reseller and op shop aficionado

Samantha Arthur, Op Shop Marketing Coordinator
Samantha Arthur Marketing and Digital Coordinator
26 April 2023
Tracey in the op shop with a furry friends
“Op Shopping is in my blood”

If you haven’t yet discovered Tracey and her boutique vintage store, Frocks and Slacks, you’re missing out on a St Kilda icon.  

Each week, Tracey shows off her fabulously colour coordinated vintage ensembles on her socials, from vintage 70’s boiler suits to the most eye-catching frocks you will see around town. Always vintage, always one of a kind. 

Long time op shopper, St Kilda resident and vintage specialist, Tracey has been visiting our Grey Street, St Kilda op shop for more than 20 years.  

“When you’re travelling to the middle of Grey Street, there’s only one shop to visit, and that’s the St Kilda store, it’s THE destination.” 

For Tracey, it’s not just the store that’s amazing but the fact that Sacred Heart Mission’s Engagement Hub is right next door; the shop and the Mission’s services intertwine.  

“You can literally see where the funding is going.”

With over 20 years in the vintage industry, Tracey has owned stores in and around the St Kilda area since 1986, specialising in one-on-one fittings where clients can find the frock of their dreams. 

Tracey standing outside of her St Kilda store with musician Tim Rogers
Tracey standing outside of her St Kilda store with musician Tim Rogers

Tracey’s service is as individual as her garments. She finds the perfect fit, fabric, shape, and style for her customers. Imagine a dress perfectly matched to your shape, only it’s 60 years old.  

“From themed parties to people who love wearing vintage one-of-a-kind finds, I love that I can match my customers with the perfect vintage frock, made for them. 

“At one point in St Kilda there were 15 vintage stores in the area! It’s sad to have seen vintage stores come and go over time.” 

A valuable partnership for Tracey and our op shop team

Hunting down classic vintage pieces at op shops is her passion and throughout the years, Tracey has shared her knowledge with the St Kilda team, helping staff and volunteers identify vintage finds to price them accordingly. The store welcomes Tracey as a collector and reseller, seeing the value in every customer. 

Tracey explains that “op shopping is in her blood”.  She started off the hunt when she was 13 years old to express her individualism and annoy her grandmother who viewed op shops as a place for ‘poor people’ which at the time, was a common misconception of op shops. 

Her skills as an op shop aficionado grew and grew as did her knowledge of vintage garments and fashion.  

Tracey always posts her fabulous outfits on her social media pages
Tracey always posts her fabulous outfits on her social media pages

“I must admit my cortisone levels do drop when I walk out empty handed from an op shop – there is such a rush when I’m flipping through the racks and find that vintage gem in the mix.”

At one point in her career, Tracey entirely stocked her store with second hand op shop finds. 

“I’d walk out of an op shop with five stripey washing bags packed full of vintage wear., Sadly with the rise of fast fashion, I’m lucky to leave with one piece of vintage gold these days.” 

“Fashion is an important part of our culture and sense of personality. In the past, not everyone dressed the same;, culture was expressed through clothing and individuality was a must.” 

Op shops have changed over the last 10 years …

Within the last five to 10 years, the nature of op shops has changed dramatically due to an influx of fast fashion donations. It’s harder to put out good quality items in stores at reasonable prices.  

“You see with vintage fashion, it was made to last, that’s why op shops were packed with them, there was no such thing as fast fashion. If something had a hole in it or needed repair, it was done at home, not thrown out after one wear.” 

“Hand me downs existed; clothes were passed down from sibling to sibling – that just doesn’t happen anymore.” 

Tracey has a knack for coordinating colour throughout her ensembles
Tracey has a knack for coordinating colour throughout her ensembles

Having to adapt to the times, Tracey continues to shop and search for vintage gold in our stores, but reminds us that throughout history, “we’ve dressed to express our politics, our cultural revolt and to express our personalities and feelings.” 

“Keep that alive by shopping second-hand! Fashion is more than a piece of clothing, it tells a story, a movement, a snapshot of time.”

Tracey tells us that she’s loving the slow fashion movement that has had a significant impact on her business. “You know, recently Cate Blanchett wore vintage Louis Vuitton to the Oscars and has vowed to wear vintage designer this award season.” 

The slow fashion movement is circulating, and Tracey cannot be prouder of this new wave of vintage love.  

It’s most definitely customers like Tracey that bring joy to our stores and that sense of comradery when it comes to promoting fashion recycling and sustainability, in our own diverse ways.  

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