There are many perks to buying vintage. Firstly, there is a good chance your vintage garment will be well made, hopefully out of sturdy, quality fabric. Having lasted the test of time and potentially lived in by several wearers already, it will have a long history that you can muse on while wearing it.
Then there's the price range, which is generally very affordable. But perhaps the greatest perk is that most vintage garments are completely individual, and in an era when fashion is fast, vintage clothing is desirably different.
Sydney is lucky to have vintage stores in spades, run by keen-eyed collectors, who have sourced an assortment of great, pre-loved clothing and accessories from across the globe. We take a look at some of Sydney's best vintage fashion stores.
This vintage store specialises in Australian and American vintage fashion. What is immediately arresting about this Newtown store is its organisation. Clothes have been itemised according to cut and style. You'll find fur coats, oversized sunglasses and knee-high boots. The garments here are neat and immaculate, which makes sorting through the racks a breeze. Newtown is the original home of C's Flashback, but it now also has stores in Paddington and Surry Hills.
180 King Street, Newtown
(02) 9565 4343
Run by former model Carina El Saouda and her husband Fedi, Mulberry Street stocks vintage designer pieces as well as formal vintage sourced from European wholesalers. Mulberry Street offers a well-chosen selection of clothes, and the retail experience here is taken up a notch with a personal approach to service with options for made-to-measure altered pieces. It’s very popular for vintage-inspired wedding attire and alternative formal wear.
50 Enmore Road, Newtown
0415 176 166
Cream on Crown in Surry Hills has been a staple of the Sydney vintage scene for years. Its floral dresses and cowboy boots are so popular that it has also gone online, and opened a second store in Newtown. At Cream, original vintage garments have been resized, with silhouettes tending towards the ‘90s. This is the go-to place for cropped and high-waisted everything and denim.
32/277–285 Crown Street, Surry Hills
(02) 9331 5228
Mon to Sat 10am–6pm
Queen Justine Vintage
Founded by Justine Miller, Queen Justine Vintage began as many well-established labels do; at the markets. After selling her collected vintage wares for years at pop-ups, Miller opened her own bricks-and-mortar store in a studio in the heart of Redfern.
Miller's mother and grandmother were both seamstresses and owners of eccentric clothing stores, so it makes sense that she would follow suit with her own one day. Also ‘90s centric, at QJV you’ll find overalls, crochet bikinis and college tees from the US in abundance.
Thu to Sat 11am–5pm or by appointment
This vintage store on the south end of King Street is very cosy, packed with vintage pieces that are also pinned up on the walls and hung from the ceiling. The store presents an equal selection of great vintage pieces for men and women and you'll struggle not to spend up. There’s an array of vintage, from bomber jackets and leather shoes, to patterned silk blouses. The real star of the store is its owner, Somjet Jeamjongwattana (or Jet for short) who is likeable, friendly and knowledgeable about his vintage selection.
Eva's Vintage Annandale
Eva's Vintage is well loved by locals in the Annandale area. Racks of party dresses and vintage formal jackets are on offer, and Eva's houses some of the best vintage shoes and accessories you'll find in Sydney. Scattered with designer pieces, this is where you go to find beautiful vintage clothing for the more special occasions. "I buy stock on a weekly basis and I make sure to have a good variety in store. I've always wanted to maintain an eclectic mix where there's something for everybody," says owner Eva Arrese. Re-stocked regularly with individual pieces from all over the world, a real point of difference here is the selection of formal vintage dresses from Germany and Japan.
101 Johnston Street, Annandale
0433 509 262
A branch of Belinda and The Corner Store, The Frock Exchange is a haven for second-hand and vintage designer pieces. You'd be quite unlucky not to find a bargain here. Here you can also submit your own designer vintage pieces to be sold on consignment. It has a wonderful collection of vintage accessories at the centre of the store.
Don't forget the value of a suburban Vinnies or Salvos for good, affordable vintage finds – you just have to put in the hours of scouring.