From the golden sands of Bondi Beach to the bohemian streets of Newtown, the Harbour City is stacked with brilliant bookshops, remarkable record stores, cracking clothes shops and beautiful boutiques. Check out these 10 independent stores around Sydney where you can go hunting for a bargain.
This Oxford St institution bills itself as “the leading multi-brand luxury shopping destination in Australia”, but the building itself is as impressive as the clothes hanging on the racks — Parlour X fills the historic St Johns Church in Paddington, a landmark dating back to 1845. Chloé, Balenciaga, Comme Des Garçons, Fendi and Valentino are only a few of the high-end designers you’ll find on offer.
Annandale is one of Sydney’s most fashionable suburbs, and this independent clothing and homewares boutique suits the postcode perfectly. Owner Amber Barnes worked in the fashion industry before opening Jim and Jane, impressing her unique style on the diverse collection of items sourced from quality Australian and European designers.
You can’t miss Australia’s best consignment store — it occupies a striking blue building that lights up the streets of Darlinghurst, and has helped find new homes for pre-loved garments since 1996. Over those two decades, Blue Spinach has earned a serious reputation among bargain hunters searching for something a little more affordable than the threads hanging in the upmarket boutiques on nearby Oxford St.
Perched just across the road from the shopping Mecca that is the Queen Victoria Building, Red Eye Records is one of Australia’s largest and oldest independent record stores. First opening its doors back in 1981, the store stocks an array of music merchandise that straddles a range of genres, eras and nations, but there’s a particular soft spot for local Australian artists.
Bondi is better known for its beach rather than its books, but Gertrude and Alice bucks the stereotype. Named after literary legends Gertrude Stein and Alice B Toklas, this bookshop and cafe on Hall St combines the unmistakable musk of books with the fragrant aroma of coffee, generating a charming atmosphere in its many nooks and crannies.
Married couple Amber and Paul Sutherland have scoured the globe for the last six years in search of the perfect cup of tea, visiting more than 30 countries and examining the world’s top crops. The product is sold in two stylish locations — one on King St in Newtown, the other in the Galeries at the city centre — brimming with quality loose-leaf teas, and also offering workshops for those who want to learn a little more about the craft.
Located just a couple of blocks from the beachfront, these sibling men’s and women’s stores are quintessentially Bondi, blending laid-back beachwear with contemporary street style. Tuchuzy’s carefully curated collection showcases both emerging and established brands, including simple and modern staples from the in-house label, Chosen.
It’s no surprise that Sydney’s hipster heartland is also the best place in the city to find vintage vinyl, and Egg Records is one of Newtown’s most experienced music retailers. Sitting just off King St, this independent record store is brimming with new and used LPs, rare reissues, hard-to-find CDs, as well as classic movies, merchandise and memorabilia.
The star of the show known as Potts Point Vintage is owner Arnold Kieldgaard, who moved his eclectic second-hand store from the Blue Mountains to the inner-city four years ago. Arnold stocks a personality-packed collection of vintage men’s and women’s clothes, in particular wedding dresses, formal suits, luxury furs, leather accessories, as well as a wide range of fine china.
You won’t find better customer service anywhere in Sydney than at this King St book shop, whose friendly staff have been connecting Newtown locals with books to fall in love with for almost two decades. And once you’ve made your expertly recommended purchase at Better Read Than Dead, stroll down the block to the dog-filled Camperdown Memorial Rest Park where you can read your new book in the sunshine.