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People shopping at the Collective Ensemble vintage store.
Photograph: Anna Kucera

The best vintage shops in Sydney

Everything old is new again at these emporiums of yesteryear chic

By Emma Joyce

Get all dressed up in frocks from the 1950s, flares from the swinging sixties and super trendy smocks from the ’70s. You can find outfits from all the ages at Sydney’s best vintage shops, and the homewares to match at Sydney’s best antiques shops.  

Looking for pre-loved items on a tight budget? You'll love these stylish secondhand stores.

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Sydney's top vintage shops

1. The Vintage Clothing Shop

Shopping Vintage Sydney

Owners Lorraine Foster and Grayson Cole have been collecting and selling vintage clothing for over 40 years, and their shop attracts the likes of fashion magazine editors and TV producers looking for authentic clothing for period film and TV productions. It’s the only vintage store in the CBD, found inside the time warp that is St James Street Arcade.

2. Zoo Emporium

Shopping Darlinghurst

No one does vintage quite like Zoo. With two floors devoted to their craft, Zoo’s entire ground floor is devoted to sale items only. The store specialises in ’70s and ’80s funk and retro tees.


3. Blue Spinach

Shopping Darlinghurst

It’s not strictly vintage, as everything in store is 10-15 years old maximum, but the blue painted corner store is a go-to destination for preloved clothing of an exceptional standard. It’s not a cheap store by any stretch of the imagination, but if you’ve got your eye on an item owner Mark Thompson is happy to put it on lay-by for you.

4. Cream on Crown Surry Hills

Shopping Surry Hills
Pick up a recycled Tommy Hilfiger shirt to match your cut-off denim shorts at the Surry Hills store, or head to Newtown for vintage cotton dresses and retro band tees.

5. Potts Point Vintage

Shopping Potts Point
Furs, bridal dresses and menswear are specialities here, and owner Arnold Kieldgaard also has a soft spot for vintage glassware and English fine china and anything from the 1930s.

6. Dolly Up

Shopping Redfern
Dolly Up has dresses for special occasions from labels like Valentino and Neiman Marcus.  You’ll find tea dresses from the 1930s to silky jumpsuits from the ’70s.

7. C’s Flashback Surry Hills

Shopping Darlinghurst
Like its Paddington sibling, this store is a go-to for men’s and women’s denim and leather jackets. You’ll find fur coats and frilly frocks, plus shoes in all levels of distress.
Queen Justine Vintage
Photograph: Cameron Hammond

8. Queen Justine Vintage

Shopping Vintage Redfern

The reigning empress of ’90s crop tops and bralets is Queen Justine Vintage. Step into the Redfern studio nostalgic T-shirts or leotards for your next Retrosweat party.


9. The Collective Ensemble

Shopping Vintage Newtown

Greg Harris took over the vintage store on South King Street a year ago, but it’s been part of the Newtown vintage community for around five years. They stock predominantly '80s and '90s fashion with tongue-in-cheek nostalgia, from an ironic Backstreet Boys T-shirt to a Mickey Mouse sweater like the ones you bought at Disneyland.

Blue Works Vintage Clothing
Photograph: Blue Works Vintage Clothing

10. Blue Works

Shopping Vintage Surry Hills

Men’s clothing of all shapes and sizes have been flown into this Surry Hills store from Britain, Japan and United States. Owner Steve Feng Du has created a stylish store where you’ll come across flat caps and tweed jackets that are new, but made in a vintage style.


12. C's Flashback Paddington

Shopping Vintage Paddington

The twin store to the Surry Hills shop of the same name contains all the things you’d expect from this longstanding vintage brand: denim, leather and sweats from America and Australia. The Paddo store is packed with weathered dungarees and tea party dresses that attract younger vintage shoppers looking to make their first thrifty purchase.


13. Miss Brown’s

Shopping Surry Hills

Head here for modified beachwear from the ’50s and ’60s, daggy Minnie Mouse pullovers from the ’90s and stacks of cut-off denim skirts.

14. Sammy & Sid

Shopping Manly
This Northern Beaches boutique is where the smart shoppers of Manly pick up second-hand brands without the price tag. We find a near-new jumpsuit from Zara for under $200 and a ’90s romper for $100.

15. Fabrique Vintage

Shopping Darlinghurst

Fabrique Vintage has stacks and stacks of denim, leather shoulder bags and odds and ends shipped from 
Europe. On our visit we found a very cute Girl Scouts of the USA shirt.

16. Retrospec'd Clothing

Shopping Newtown

Sister duo Sharon Hanley and Teena Borg love the looks from the ’50s, from wiggle dresses to prom frocks, but they recreate the looks from new fabrics.


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