Jess Brohier for The Aquarium Vintage & Costume
Don’t get us wrong, we love finding up-and-coming brands each season, but there’s something so satisfying about snagging a vintage treasure. In addition to the thrill of the search, there are also other benefits to vintage shopping.
For one, it’s the easiest way to be the most fashion-forward version of yourself. Think about it: You’re faced with a non-curated, non-trend-based collection of quality clothes and are forced to pick and choose those which suit your style best. This kind of focus forces you to really evaluate your style, rather than mindlessly buying into fast fashion trends. Another benefit is that it’s a sustainable way to shop. Rather than adding to the demand for cheaply-made clothing (which ends up in landfills, by the way), vintage shopping recycles old clothes and works against the fast fashion cycle that’s destroying our planet.
Regardless of your impetus, vintage shopping (when done right) doesn’t disappoint. But how exactly does one vintage shop tactfully? The key is to go to reputable, high-quality vintage shops; and be prepared to do a little scouring of your own. It’s not as easy as pulling your size off the rack. Thankfully, we’ve done a little research to help make the process easier. Melbourne girls, these are the shops you should consider for your next treasure hunt. You can thank us later... now what are you waiting for? Your signature vintage find awaits.
The Aquarium Vintage & Costume
The Aquarium Vintage & Costume describes itself as “a treasure trove of quality vintage specialising in pop-culture, nostalgic kitsch and retro” —and we think that description is pretty spot-on. If you’re looking for something colourful, one-of-a-kind, and undeniably fun, look no further than this Northcote shop. If you can’t make it in person, don’t worry: They sell on Etsy too!
“I live this store, every time I walk in I’m greeted with not only a warm smile but some amazing hand picked vintage and a great experience. I’ve bought at least 6 outfits over the past year all goods are great quality and fit! Would recommend shopping here for any occasion!” - Amy Eccleston
“The Aquarium is an absolute treasure trove on Northcote High Street and Leah. The owner is a pleasure to deal with. I've had experiences as both a seller of items on consignment (a great, stress-free way to get some extra cash for unwanted old clothes) and as a customer picking up some gorgeous new garms. Well worth checking out. Highly recommend.” - Belinda Rowse
Stocking a mish-mash of vintage dealers and designers, one of the things Vintage Garage prides itself on is the shop’s selection of festival-wear. And though they do have a number of crazy pieces, the selection is so extensive you’re sure to find something you’ll want to wear day-to-day as well.
“Never have I said 'oh my god' so many times in one shop. This shop is huge and has an UNBELIEVABLE collection of vintage clothing, accessories, knick knacks and collectibles. Seriously, my mind was blown when I visited there for the first time. Mind you, everything is priced what it is worth. You won't find bargains here, but you WILL find INCREDIBLE items.” - Hanna Silver
“Vintage garage is a magical wonderland of the most incredible vintage and rare pieces in Melbourne. If you are looking for something that is unique and a 'one of a kind' then Vintage garage is the place to shop. It's where I go if I want to make a statement or want something that no one else has. It's my favourite vintage paradise.” - Carla Troiano
Shappere Vintage Clothing
Located on Smith Street, Shappere is known for it’s retro-style dresses. However, if this isn’t your thing, they also stock funky shirts as well as leather shoes and bags. Next time you’re in Fitzroy, pop in the shop— you might just find a gem.
“Beautifully curated collection and great service every time.” - Daniella Di Lullo
“I bought a pair of Cowgirl boots from Shappere for a costume party, and since then, everyone is talking about it. I totally loved your collection. I will be back real soon ;)” - Ellise Tsalikis
Operating since 1991, the American Rag team travels to the U.S. regularly to shop the best vintage finds in the states. Restocking once a week from it’s warehouse, American Rag’s selection is constantly changing, meaning there will always be new great pieces to scope in the shops. Between the shop’s two locations (in Southgate and the QV Shopping Centre), you’re sure to find a new vintage catch to add to your wardrobe.
“The woman who runs this place should be given an award for the service that she gives. She should be paid gazillions to train every fashion retailer in Australia on how to interact with customers. My daughter (17) and I visited in December 2017 and she was attentive, chatty, and super helpful without any push or pressure. If something didn't look right, she said it. She knows her stock like nobody's business and she has an amazing eye for what will fit and look fab on someone else. While giving us service to come back for, she also managed to serve other customers and she is guided by the customer's response in how much attention she gives them, while encouraging them to try stuff on. Perfect for any fashion store, but essential for a vintage store. I wish she was in Perth where we live” - Sandra Ellis
“The service really makes this place stand out. The staff will give you honest (tactful) opinions on whether something suits you and help out with correct fitting and suggestions as well as being super lovely with good taste to boot. Picked up some beauties there today thanks to help from Rader! Mega happy with my purchases! Thanks for helping me figure out what was a yay and what was a nay. Will be back for sure!” - Tess
Martin Fella Vintage North Melbourne
“Charming vintage store with a nice selection of international brands and local finds in great condition, and fairly reasonably priced.”- Aurélia Diotima Bode
“Wonderful vintage! The owner has a vast knowledge of vintage items including jewellery , leather goods , menswear, women's wear and home decor. Items are keenly curated and beautifully displayed. A must visit for unique pieces, interesting gifts and things with history!”- Kelly Billingham
Last, but certainly not least, is Eurotrash. Which, according to the shop’s site, is “regarded as a leading force in the Melbourne market for new, up and coming and hard to find high-end fashion”. And anyone who has shopped here would be hard-pressed to deny it. Selling designer duds online and in the shop, Eurotrash has one of the best vintage collections we’ve seen to-date. Still looking for that perfect investment vintage Chanel bag? Look no further. We highly recommend scrolling through the shop’s Instagram, but be prepared for heartbreak, the best finds sell out quickly here.
“I couldn't have asked for anything more from Eurotrash. Oliver was so extremely helpful and accommodating. He was quick to respond to all my questions and made sure to keep in touch throughout the whole process until I received my bag. I'd definitely purchase from here again!”- Clarissa Liu
“Could not have asked for a better shopping experience. Oliver truly goes above and beyond to ensure that his clients are happy. Honestly could not fault the condition of the products and the amazing service. Thank you so much, and I'll definitely be back again.” - Emily Ling