Vintage Shopping in Sydney
Go on a modern day treasure hunt in Sydney along the vintage trail from the city to the suburbs. From carefully curated vintage emporiums to fun retro stores jam-packed with fashion, you’ll find unique pieces for a fraction of the price.
Australian fashion stylists have been visiting The Vintage Clothing Store in the heart of Sydney city for decades to style shoots. In fact, the costume designer for Australian film Ladies in Black, Wendy Cork, sourced most of the hats, gloves and handbags you see in the display cabinets on the shop floor for the film set in 1959 Sydney, from The Vintage Clothing Store. It’s a haven of high quality pieces from the 1880s to the 1980s with dreamy costume jewellery, wool coats and delicate netted hats.
In this vibrant inner-city suburb of working-class origins, you’ll find one-off vintage finds and seriously cool collectables. Zoo Emporium is a treasure trove of vintage dresses and accessories throughout the eras, from 1920s art deco sequined dresses to faux-fur capes and 1940s suits. They also stock a good collection of vintage fascinators, hats and sunglasses.
Storeroom Vintage has Sydney’s largest collection of from the 70s, 80s, 90s and 00s, including a huge range of classic band t-shirts. You’ll find more great tees next door at C’s Flashback or cross the road to dig through scores of Doc Martens, bold retro shirts, bomber jackets and knits at UTurn.
Paddington & Woollahra
Check out William Street in Paddington for quirky Australian designs, high-end vintage and famed wine bar, 10 William Street. For high-end global designs, don’t miss Di Nuovo. This well-established recycled retailer is tucked in pretty William Street and stocks preloved Ferragamo and Hermès scarves, Chanel sunnies, Stella McCartney dresses and many other beautifully constructed pieces.
At 90 William Street you’ll find long-time consignment store, Pelle Shoes, a fine purveyor of preloved designer shoes, bags and accessories. With new stock every week, there’s Gucci, Givenchy, Marni and more.
After almost 20 years in Five Dock, Forever Vintage moved their exclusive range of hand-picked designer and couture vintage clothing from the 1930s through to the 1980s to Woollahra. This is another store costume designer Wendy Cork visited for Ladies in Black, picking up a couple of 1950s dresses for the post-war fashion flick. Actress Rachael Taylor, who plays Fay, wears a stunning strapless cobalt blue and white dress from the store for New Year’s Eve and in the nightclub scene shot at Porteño, Surry Hills, Australian singer, Kate Miller-Heidke, is resplendent in a sequinned ebony dress.
Potts Point is a colourful slice of inner-city Sydney with Parisian-esque tree-lined streets and cool retro finds. Wayside Chapel Op-Shop is a Sydney stylist’s best-kept secret (there’s also an outpost in North Bondi). Set on Hughes St off Macleay, the community op-shop has print dresses, crochet bags, fur jackets and big brands such as Gucci and Ksubi donated by well-dressed supporters. Funds go to important services such as the Twilight Program, which provides evening meals for the homeless.
Potts Point Vintage is on Hughes Street too and owner Arnold, has fascinating tales about the Aussie military jackets, vintage wedding dresses and safari suits on sale. Potts Point Vintage is a veritable treasure trove – collectors will love the furs, handbags, cufflinks and art deco fine china.
Not far from Clovelly Beach you’ll find a strip of delightful boutiques and coffee haunts, and one of Sydney’s hidden vintage gems, The Frock Exchange. The Frock Exchange is where local, well-heeled ladies take their last season international and Australian designs. Snap up a preloved Céline bag, Chanel dress or Christian Louboutin heels. An arm of iconic Belinda International Boutiques by Belinda Seper, The Frock Exchange also sells end-of-season merchandise from Belinda.
Sydney’s Newtown is home to Sydney University and some of the best live music venues in Sydney, giving it a Bohemian vibe. South King Street, which runs from Newtown Train Station down to St Peters is one of the most quirky shopping strips in Sydney.
Real King Vintage is one of the suburb’s original second-hand stores and has been dressing the local uni students for years. Don’t miss the giant shoe wall and the colour-coded racks at Vintage@313. If you’re looking for high-end or one-of-a-kind sneakers, drop in to The Stitch Up or Irreplaceable Store, sitting just a couple of blocks apart. And if records are your thing, Repressed Records has a seriously cool collection.
Since 1989, All Buttons Great and Small has been trading buttons from the classic to the exotic. The store sources buttons globally and has an expansive collection of over 15,000 plastic, enamel, carved, metal, diamanté buttons and more. A tiny memento to take home! Close to the Enmore Theatre, SWOP clothing swap, buy and sell preloved clothing items within the community of local customers. Look for bellbottom jeans, leather jackets, bright blazers and sunglasses.
Redfern has gone from gritty to glam in recent years with small bars, indie boutiques and luxury preloved buys. Blue Spinach on Liverpool Street is one of Australia’s top sellers of preloved luxury brands. Think Chanel sunglasses, Dior dresses and Hermѐs calfskin boots. Every piece is authentic and you’ll get the kind of attentive service you would expect in a luxury boutique.
Tucked away along the inner harbour to the west of the city, Rozelle has a buzzing arts scene, organic cafes and plenty of classic Aussie pubs. If you love shiny things, Vintage Times sells art deco diamond rings, vintage fob chains, cocktail rings with various precious stones and an interesting collection of carved Bakelite rings, bangles and brooches. Be sure to book as it’s shopping by appointment only.
Top Five Vintage Markets in Sydney
Rozelle Collectors Market
One of the most popular markets for bric-a-brac, antiques and secondhand clothing is held on the grounds of Rozelle Public School every Saturday and Sunday from 9am to 3pm.
Glebe Markets are held every Saturday 10am-4pm and have lots of pre-loved records, clothing, jewellery and furniture alongside handmade local artisan collectables.
Many Aussie designers started out at the , a vibrant, bustling hub of beachside style at Bondi Public School from 10am to 4pm. Hang with Bondi locals and discover vinyl records, fresh flowers and one-off secondhand dresses, jackets and shoes.
This is the market where iconic Sydney brand Zimmermann got their start – buy from up-and-coming Sydney fashion designers, sample local bread and browse vintage dresses, fur vests, cocktail rings, leather boots and pre-loved handbags from 10am every Saturday, 395 Oxford Street, Paddington.
Surry Hills Markets
Surry Hills Markets specialises in recycled, secondhand and handmade pieces. It’s an open-air market with racks of vintage clothing and tables of bric-a-brac, along with a community café offering vegetarian and gluten-free options. On the first Saturday of every month, Shannon Reserve, corner of Crown and Collins Streets.