Fashion Face Off: Melbourne vs Sydney Style

Fashion is a fun topic to discuss. There’s never a right or wrong opinion, but there are so many interesting observations to consider. The difference between Melbourne and Sydney style will be talked about until the end of time—there'll always be a rivalry between these two very fashionable cities. It’s impossible to pigeonhole an entire city into one ‘style’, but there’s a clear distinction and difference between each. We asked Liz Sunshine—fashion photographer and founder of Street Smith, who's based in Melbourne, and Sydney-based Claire Fabb of Style By Yellow Button to share their thoughts on the difference in style between the two cities.

Keep scrolling to see what they had to say.

“In Melbourne we have no rules—commercial trends aren’t as closely followed. This creates a lot of diversity in style, and people are constantly trying new things. Our crazy climate plays a big role in the differentiation between Melbourne and Sydney. For more than half of the year, Melbourne is in winter mode, so the Melbourne girl can layer exceptionally well.

We're not afraid of flat shoes. Although the Melbourne girl loves heels, she also loves flats and will often choose a pair not based on practicality alone, but a genuine love. We also love all smaller heel heights typically outcast by commercial trends, think Mansur Gavriel or Maryam Nassir Zadeh. 

Black is staple and key to the Melbourne look. A simple understated take on fashion, all-black-everything is chic, practical and flattering on all. Not considered boring, but celebrated as timeless and classic. 

There is a strong movement towards making conscious fashion choices. I often ask people to tell me about their outfits, and I’m hearing ‘locally made’, and ‘sustainable’ coming up more and more. The idea that there is a movement towards investment pieces that are less cost-effective, but have added value via sustainability, is really cool.

Melbourne has a really strong local design aesthetic. Labels like Bul, Kuwaii, Thursday Sunday, Kloke, and Dress Up are leading the way. These labels celebrate an effortless understated feeling that Melbourne girls love.”

“Melbourne has a more refined, elegant style compared to Sydney. Not to say Sydney girls aren’t refined, but our style is ever-changing. Everything in Sydney is so fast-paced, including how quickly we go through trends. Are Melbourne girls all running around in athleisure gear day-to-night, too? Maybe, maybe not. But Sydney girls are so good at working that high-low vibe with ease. It’s normal to see variations of different styles into one look on the streets of Sydney.

Our style is hugely influenced by our seaside lifestyle—the beaches and warm weather have an impact on the way we dress. It’s normal for us to wear denim to a night-time event, elevated with sky-high heels and a sharp blazer.

No-one in the world does an all-black look quite like our Melbourne style sisters. Whereas Sydney embraces colour, denim, and metallic unlike any other Australian city. We're not afraid to embrace new styles.

Melbourne has an incredible food and wine culture, and those European influences comes through into the city’s strong fashion and design focus.”

Shop pieces that every Sydney and Melbourne girl would love:

What do you think is the biggest difference between Sydney and Melbourne style? Let us know in the comments below!

Opening image: Street Smith

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