One of the best parts of an overseas visit is the opportunity to pick up souvenirs that you won’t be able to find anywhere else—and that goes double when it comes to trawling for vintage clothing and accessories or, say, old records. (The reason I loved my time in Athens so much? Those well-preserved vinyl copies of Madonna’s Erotica and George Michael’s Faith that I nabbed for a stupidly cheap price.) Sydney has no shortage of good vintage shops brimming with cool clothes, striking shoes, heaps of accessories, and helpful employees. You can spend hours in any one of them and you’ll probably find you’ve only scratched the surface. A couple of my suggestions boast more than one location, another is a used record store, and one has, well, a pretty funny name. All of them are worth a visit—just be warned that you’re not likely to walk out of any of them empty-handed.
There are three C’s in the city. The shop has locations Newtown, Surry Hills, and right on Broadway in Glebe, so you’ll surely be able to find something for that costume party you’ve been anticipating for weeks. The clothes here are colorful. They seem to have raided everyone’s wardrobe for their tackiest (and now cool-again) outfits from the 1980s. C’s also sells a pretty sweet collection of accessories and bags.
Dolly Up Vintage Emporium
This lovely little boutique caters to those who want to wear vintage—but don’t want to look like tragic consignment shop victims while rocking the old-school duds. Dolly Up does a good job of curating their selection, which is marked by a large number of women’s pieces from the ‘30s to the ‘70s and a special section of gently used bridal wear from years past.
Cream on Crown
In a city where clothing can sometimes be ridiculously priced, it’s nice to know that Cream on Crown is hiding some gems in its well-stocked racks. My better half scored a stylish, reconstructed black leather jacket for just $89 on a recent visit. And if they don’t have anything you fancy in the Surry Hills outpost on Crown Street, just head west to Newtown to visit their other location.
Pigeon Ground Records and Clothing
Out in the suburb of Camperdown, this funky shop is a great place to dig through crates for old vinyl, but it also sells a well-sourced collection of vintage clothes for ladies and gents (waistcoats, natty trousers), locally made accessories, and labels like Secret Squirrel and Funkis, who are well-regarded for their eye-catching, handmade clogs.
A popular destination for locals needing outfits for fancy dress parties (no formalwear here—“fancy dress” is Australian for “costume”), Mister Stinky is jam-packed with anything you might need to create (or complete) an intriguing ensemble. Disco-era hot pants? Check. Silk-screened athletic tees from the early ‘80s? Check. Funky chapeaus? Check. Have fun getting lost in this shop—surprises can be found on every rack.