Top Of The Ops | Sydney’s Best Vintage Clothing Stores

By Ally Parker
17th Feb 2016

Sydney's best op shops

Dust off the mothballs and brush up on your labels, we’re hitting the vintage trail. All in all, we’re pretty chill here at The Urban List, if the gang are tossing up between dumplings and vegemite steak tacos we’ll just have both, no dramas. But we when it comes to vintage and recycled duds we have one steadfast rule—if it fits with Macklemore lyrics, we’re taking it home, granny factor be damned.

Grandma Takes a Trip

Surry Hills

Holding pop-ups around the coast and reppin’ everything from the 1950s to 1990s, any fashion aficionado who poo-poos the relaxed slouch of the modern age (i.e. sweatpants outside) will fall head over heels for Grandma’s. In between toting 60s hot pants and Pucci-style prints, Grandma’s have been busy crafting label Altered State and maintaining the two-storey retro mecca (you’ll find menswear on level two). They’ve been kicking on for years now but one thing’s for sure, they’ve yet to let the ball drop. Follow these cool cats on Facebook for stock updates but be warned, these A-grade vintage goods go fast.

U-Turn Recycled Fashion


Much like the Usher track of the same name, U-Turn is a classic we just keep coming back to—whether our fellow dancehall buddies like it or not. If it’s 80s and 90s fash you’re after you’ve come to the right place—fair warning to the friend who tags along, we’ll be there a while. Prepare to flick through racks and racks of goodies and stock up on sports luxe, sweet kicks and loud, loose shirts.

C’s Flashback

Surry Hills, Glebe Markets, Paddington

If you’re in the mood for second-hand clothing as opposed to fully-fledged vintage (too many pop-up cafes, not enough cash) C’s Flashback is sure to hit the spot. Centering on the 70s and 90s, C’s is the place to be for wannabe Blossoms in search of overalls and oversized knits or hipster bros keen on a few Hawaiian or lumberjack shirts.

Zoo Vintage Emporium

Surry Hills

Floating somewhere between bargain basement and high-end prices, Zoo Vintage Emporium is two floors of wide skirts, fur shrugs and dapper accessories*. Fans of 70s and 80s fashion in particular will easily get lost for hours cruising through racks especially if you’re a lover of all things sequins (former dance kids, we’re looking at you).

*Classic movie montages of you and a friend trying on outfits likely to occur.

Blue Spinach


When it comes to second-hand designer fashion on the consignment side of things, we happily trot down to Blue Spinach (but prefer ‘Green Eggs and Ham’ when it comes to books). This one’s on the pricier end of things stocking names like Hermes, Balmain, Gucci, Fendi, Alexander McQueen, Versace, Valentino and brands the likes of which we’ve only seen in our Ab Fab dreams. With 26 years’ experience and authenticity cards on hand, Blue Spinach are ideal for the Carrie wannabe with a penchant for the pinkie-up lifestyle.

Cream On Crown

Surry Hills

Occupying two levels and packed to bursting with recycled and re-made duds including a 90s collection that has to be seen to be believed, Cream are our top pick for both Prince songs and hipster hauls. They also have a decent selection of boots (cowboy and not-so-cowboy), plaid shirts, repurposed cut-offs for the never-nude crowd and a sister store (Cream on King) for Newtown folk who don’t dare wander.

Vintage Fashion Emporium

Surry Hills

If you’re looking for all the vintage 50s glamour and none of the op-shop musk, VFE is the place to be. In fact, they’re practically an institution when it comes to recycled garb. Located on the bottom level of the Sydney Antique Centre and stocking dresses, shoes and accessories from the 1900s to 1990s, the VFE is ideal for shoppers looking for an ‘all in one place’ vintage experience.

Collective Ensemble


American sports jackets, leather skirts, 80s and 90s sportswear and Hawaiian shirts. Have we piqued your interest yet? One thing’s for sure, we’re all picking up on the Hawaiian shirt trend—Sydney may hold more than Tom Selleck has worn in a lifetime. Owner Somjet Jeamjongwattana (Jet, for short) has also stocked his Newtown ensemble with grunge tees. They’re perfect for the lady who likes a draped, slightly worn ode to pop culture past including Michael Jordan, Hanson and underappreciated quartet, 98 Degrees #neverforget.

Image credit: Paramount Pictures

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