Left to right: new arrivals at The Wilde Merchant; a vintage Indiana Pacers Tee from Irreplaceable Store. Photography via @thewildemerchant and @irreplaceablestore

THERE’S SOMETHING SACRED about vintage shopping. It’s one of the final frontiers of fashion consumerism that’s best undertaken IRL. While you can buy any new season designer thingy from an online retailer at the click of a button, vintage shopping makes you work for it. You have to be prepared to sift through racks of stuff and try everything on. But as the age old saying goes, you reap what you sew. If you put in the hard yards, you’ll be rewarded with a handful of gems that no one else will be wearing.

Yes, Sydney is known for its luxury retail spaces, but the city isn’t without a selection of quality vintage and archival fashion stores, offering all sorts of one-offs from bygone eras. But not a lot of our favourite spots have huge online presences – part and parcel of being a primarily physical offering. So, to show you where to go for what, the Esquire editorial team has compiled a list of our favourite vintage go-to’s, categorised by what kind of pieces you’re most likely to unearth there. 

Looking for a come up? Go pop some tags.

The Wilde Merchant

Best for: vintage workwear and one-off merch 

If Emily Adams Bode was to come to Sydney for a vintage shopping trip, we imagine she’d head straight to Wilde Merchant. The store is home to some incredible vintage workwear and collegiate merch, such as this 1950s varsity cardigan and this ’50s ‘Hilltoppers’ satin pullover. Yes, Wilde Merchant does have a pretty good online store, but you’ve got to visit their Newtown storefront for the full experience, because not every piece makes it onto the internet. Also, if you have a love for niche film and music merch, this is where you’ll find it. 

500 King Street Newtown.


Photography: courtesy of Uturn Vintage

Best for: ’90s sportswear (and everything else) 

It’s hard to narrow down Uturn’s niche, because the Sydney vintage institution now has seven outposts, and it sells pieces from just about every decade, including some great secondhand contemporary finds. Having been in business for almost 20 years, the team at Uturn know where to find the best stuff, and their stores are a product of their intel. While its Newtown and Surry Hills locations tend to be the most popular, if you have the time and patience, we recommend travelling to their Punchbowl outlet and spending the day sifting through. 

See full list of locations here


Best for: picking up the fashion set’s seconds 

Swop is a consignment store, which means it buys quality pieces from fashionable people, and sells them on to the general public. So, not only is it a great place to find pre-loved grails – it’s no secret Sydney’s fashion elite sells their stuff to Swop – but if you’re in an ‘out with the old, in with the new’ phase, it’s also a great place to offload the quality contemporary and designer pieces you no longer wear. 

219 Oxford Street Darlinghurst.


Chinatown Country Club APT CCC
Photography courtesy of Chinatown Country Club.

Best for: avant-garde pieces from the Antwerp Six (and more) 

Downstairs, Chinatown Country Club stocks zeitgeisty contemporary designers from Andersson Bell to Wales Bonners and Wynn Hamlyn. Upstairs, at APT CCC, the destination store holds private appointments for people to shop archival pieces from avant-garde brands like Rick Owens, Issey Miyake and Ann Demeulemeester. With such an epic selection, it’s no wonder Chinatown Country Club is the place celebrities hit as soon as they land in town. Want to add a new grail to your collection? It’s easy as booking an appointment with one of the team’s friendly, knowledgable stylists, here. 

222 Clarence St, Sydney .

Read our story on the making of APT CCC, here.

Fabrique Vintage

Shopping for jeans is one of the hardest forms of shopping you’ll do. But if you’re willing to try on a handful of pairs in order to find the ones that fit you like they were made for you, we recommend heading to Fabrique, where the selection of vintage denim is infinite. Levi’s are there in every shape, wash and size, while the store’s selection of cowboy boots and fringed suede jackets nods to its Inner Western locale. 

1 Wilson Street, Newtown & 27 Oxford Street, Darlinghurst.

Reunion Store

Best for: nailing new trends with secondhand pieces 

The second consignment store on this list, Reunion is a goldmine of secondhand pieces by contemporary brands like Acne Studios, Carhartt WIP, Asics and even Vetements. If you want to feel like you’re up with what’s happening in fashion, but you can’t afford to buy the things brand new (amen!), then Reunion is the place to shop – and sell to, if you’re also looking to shift your own seconds. 

112 Enmore Road, Newtown.

C’s Flashback 

Best for: flamboyance!

If your idea of vintage fashion is a brightly printed party shirt, then Surry Hills institution C’s Flashback is the place to stock up on all of your festive gear. Really, you could spend hours rifling through the jam-packed racks in this relatively small space, landing on insane silk shirts with ruffles, flare pants from the ’70s and a boiler suit or 10. There’s a good reason this haunt is located a stone’s throw from the clubbing district. 

314 Crown St, Surry Hills.

108 Warehouse

Inside 108 Warehouse in Marrickville. Photography: courtesy of 108 Warehouse
108 Warehouse
From left to right: 108 Warehouse co-founders
Jacinto Guevarra Churches, Edward and Edwin Widjaja. Photography: courtesy of 108 Warehouse

Best for: super niche brands from all over the world

Run by three best friends, 108 Warehouse is one of Australia’s coolest independent menswear stores, with an offering that stretches from brands you’ve heard of, like Californian brand Gramicci, to brands you’ve never heard of, like Paradise4Saigon, a Vietnamese streetwear brand. But in addition to their offering of new season clothing, 108 Warehouse has a rotating selection of secondhand pieces up for sale; a mix of garments the founders and their friends have sourced on their travels, as well as pieces their customers have bought new from the store, worn and then returned to sell secondhand, as part of 108’s buyback program. 

“We wanted to create a space that was really welcoming, so you wouldn’t really feel intimidated by those things,” Edwin Widjaja, one of 108 Warehouse’s three co-founders, told us when we visited the store last year. Their affordable – and highly wearable – vintage selection plays a core role in maintaining those non-intimidating vibes. 

1/213 Marrickville Road, Marrickville.

Read our story on 108 Warehouse and other independent Australian retailers, here.

Irreplaceable Store 

Best for: sneakers, band tees and VHS tapes 

There aren’t many places you can buy a vintage Rolling Stones Voodoo Lounge-era T-shirt with a Terminator 2: Judgement Day video. We guess there’s a reason they call this store Irreplaceable. Inside, you’ll find a wall stacked with unworn sneakers, as well as sought after band merch from your favourite 20th century band (Deadheads, there’s even pieces for you). Zendaya stopped by for a shop on her recent trip to Sydney for the premiere of Challengers, as did Earl Sweatshirt when he toured Sydney in 2023, which should tell you everything you need to know about Irreplaceable’s reputation and the kind of stuff it sells. 

411 King St, Newtown

Is Sydney good for thrifting?

In short, yes! While Sydney doesn’t have the number of vintage stores that Melbourne does, what the city lacks in quantity, it makes up for in quality. If you’re an entry-level Sydney thrift shopper, we recommend spending a day in the Inner West, where a concentration of stores like The Wilde Merchant, Irreplaceable and Reunion all live.

Is it worth buying vintage clothes?

Again, yes! It’s pretty common knowledge that clothing made before the fast fashion boom is of higher quality, so while vintage is usually always secondhand, it’s not unlikely for it to be made better than contemporary clothing you’ll find in stores today. Investing in a good vintage piece could last you a lifetime, plus, you’re contributing to the circular economy by opting to buy something that’s already been worn, rather than purchasing something new. And then there’s the price factor. As the cost of living peaks, you’ll find that thrift shopping is a far more affordable exercise. Any way you look at it, buying vintage clothes is absolutely worth it.

What are thrift stores called in Australia?

Despite the global resonation of Macklemore’s 2012 banger, Aussies don’t actually use the term ‘thrift shopping’. Instead, we call thrift shops ‘op shops’, which stands for ‘opportunity shops’. Like an American thrift shop, an opportunity shop is a shop that sells clothes and other goods, like furniture and homewares, given by people to raise money for a charity. So when you spend at an op shop, not only are you getting garms for a great price, your money is also going towards a worthy cause.


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