Melbourne’s vintage and secondhand fashion offering is extensive. But if you don’t know where to go, you could easily miss out on some incredible threads that are just a stones throw away from your home suburb. From Brunswick to St Kilda – this is your ultimate guide to vintage and thrift shopping in Melbourne, with some iconic favourites, local secrets and top tips.
If you’re looking for vintage in Melbourne, you can’t go past Fitzroy. An abundance of vintage shops line Brunswick Street and Smith Street and sell everything from sequin-drenched leotards to vintage winter coats. Starting at the north end of Smith Street is the mega Salvos store. It takes up almost a whole block! Further up, Sally’s Retro Fashion is independently owned and run by, wait for it… Sally. She sorts everything by colour – so satisfying! A short walk up from Sally’s is a colourful little shop with a vinyl stash called Monkey Jar, and across the road is Shappere for all the vintage loving men out there. Miss Brown Vintage Clothing has a great denim range which is super easy to sort through and they have loads of patterned shirts and floral dresses. Back down the other side of Smith Street is Shag, along with St Mark’s Recycled charity shop and the Red Cross op shop. Also on Smith Street is the SWOP fashion exchange where you can trade your preloved items for store credit or cash, or you can simply peruse. The choice is yours! Finally, unlike any other shop in the area, Vintage Garage is a psychedelic experience. Filled with sequins and sparkles, it feels like Mardi Gras in there. They proudly cater to the LGBTQI+ and drag community and stock loads of bling as well as timeless classics.
If you’re up for more (of course you are), take a stroll through the backstreets of Fitzroy through to Brunswick Street. At the Alexander Parade end you’ll find Dixon’s recycled vinyl and a big Sacred Heart Mission store, as well as OTC Vintage. Further south is the Natural Selection buy and sell record shop, and the Yesteryear vintage boutique. Over Johnson Street, you’ll see Vintage Sole, Hunter Gatherer and the Lost and Found Market. It may be just a seedy looking staircase from the street level, but the Lost and Found Market is an Aladdin’s cave of second hand goods. The security guard once informed me that the space is 900m2, so it’s quite easy to lose your friends (and yourself) up there.
Come to Fitzroy on a Saturday to check out the Rose Street Artists’ Market too!
Brunswick is known for the music scene and edgy fashion, and it’s no surprise with the range of vintage and charity shops there. Along Sydney Road is a Vinnies, Salvos, Savers, Save the Children store, Don Bosco Op Shop and the Pet Rescue Superstore. Boutique stores Melbourne Vintage and Brunswick Style are also along Sydney Road. There’s also the huge Mrs Secondhand vintage warehouse off Lygon Street and the amazing Retrostar warehouse on Hope Street. Keep an eye on their Facebook page for massive sales.
Chapel Street, Windsor/Prahran
At the South Yarra end of Chapel Street, you’ll find many designer boutiques and posh salons, but if you head south, the shops become a bit less bougie and a bit more eclectic. It would be a waste to come to Chapel Street without visiting the iconic Chapel Street Bazaar. Filled with everything you can imagine (and everything you can’t), the Bazaar is a maze I’d happily get lost in any day. Further along, you’ll find numerous charity shops including the Red Cross, Sacred Heart Mission, a Save the Children thrift store, Salvos and the Uniting Op Shop (my personal favourite). Who doesn’t love the chance to shop while supporting a good cause?
Another Chapel Street vintage favourite is Shag – not quite as big as their charity counterparts but specially curated for vintage lovers. You can top off your day at one of the many bars near Windsor Station.
This bayside suburb is a favourite for tourists and locals alike. With a great craft market every Saturday and night markets over summer, St Kilda is a sustainable shopper’s dream. Along Grey Street, the original Sacred Heart Mission Op Shop still trades in the 100-year-old church hall and is an institution for treasure hunters. Greeves Street recycle boutique is a social enterprise supporting vulnerable women working in the sex trade (which is located on Belford Street… go figure). But if 50s-70s fashion is your thing, then the by-appointment boutique Frocks and Slacks is for you. Located on Acland Street, their collection has been handpicked and globally sourced.
Just a short tram ride from the CBD, South Melbourne boasts some great charity shops as well as the famous South Melbourne Market. You can fill up on award-winning paella before ticking off the Red Cross op shop, Salvos, Sacred Heart Mission store and the South Melbourne Community Chest. Close by in swanky Albert Park is the Uniting Goodwill Op Shop. The shop is tiny, but they always have great things. I saw a whole collection of Tony Bianco shoes there once!
This suburb is a fairly exclusive part of Melbourne, but that means the local Salvos is often stocked with goodies. I once picked up a Sass and Bide jacket there for $30! They also have a great range of shoes. But if flea markets are your thing, then look no further than the Sunday Camberwell Market. You can book a stall if you’ve done a Marie Kondo clean out, or can you hunt for bargains and enjoy the hot jam donuts. My tip is to be there at closing time because the prices drop dramatically. I once picked up a tailored wool blazer for $4.
Melbourne’s CBD is less known for vintage, but there are still some great places if you know where to find them. Retrostar is a Melbourne vintage institution. Located on level one of the Nicholas Building on Swanston Street, once you brave the staircase and find it, you’ll love it. Reina Vintage and Vintage Sole also occupy the same building. Around the corner on Flinders Street is another OTC Vintage store. Located in the basement, they have a large collection of leather jackets and quirky hats. There’s also the famous Queen Victoria Market at the northern end of the city which is usually packed with stallholders. The night markets are my favourite time to visit because of the live music and street food.