Is there even cheap shopping in Melbourne?
You know that feel, when a new season is creeping up on you, and you go to your wardrobe, and…nothing is in it? Yep, it’s happened to all of us. There is nothing quite like the panic of ‘I need new clothes! But have no money!’ and that has become a sad mantra for us all.
To combat that, here is a list of 10 places to find cheap threads in Melbourne to fill up that wardrobe, but also help save those dollars without cramping your style.
1. Retrostar Vintage Clothing
Retrostar is a hipster haven, and one of us stylish Melburnians’ best-kept secrets. It is unbelieveable that most people don’t know about this place, but every month or so, you can watch the parade of beautifully-dressed youth stream out of the Stewart Street warehouse (or even to the Espy when it’s a big haul). Why once a month, I hear you ask? WELL. Let me whisper this gem to you, reader- every month, Retrostar have a brilliant $5-$10 sale ON ALL CLOTHES. YOU READ THAT RIGHT.
These clothes have possibly the widest range you’ll ever see. You’ve got overalls, military jackets, basketball jerseys, cardigans and thick knits (it’s getting chilly, guys) gorgeous dresses, skirts, even purses and shoes. Lovingly taken care of, these pre-owned items come from all over the world, so you might even come across a shirt from a tiny local sports club in Minnesota. You can wonder how on earth that got to be here – but thank heavens that it did because us struggling youngsters can finally afford to buy these kooky garments.
Keep a weather eye on their Facebook page so you can join these monthly purchase-a-thons, and if you can’t deal with waiting a month, check out their city store (full-price items). I can guarantee that at Retrostar, there is something to make anyone stand out in a crowd.
Address: First Floor, Nicholas Building, 37 Swanston Street Melbourne VIC 3000
2. AS Colour
This store is such a tricky place – I walked in a few months ago, and was floored by the gorgeous timber and modern feel of the place. The jumpers and shirts are so practical and they feel like clouds and/or kittens, so I assumed these would cost more than my student loans. But then, I was TRULY SHOCKED by the prices! These are staple pieces, comfortable, long-lasting and matching with everything in your wardrobe, and they will not force you to take out a loan!
The shop itself is so immaculate, the staff so willing to help, and the prices are more than reasonable! It sounds like a dream, but AS Colour is definitely real. You cannot go past a soft tee or long-sleeve, which are between $20-$30 and will make you not only stylish but you’ll feel like you can sleep/go out/meet for brunch/conquer the world with this comfort. Check ‘em out online and you can snap up their sales, but definitely go into their store in Fitzroy and feel for yourself the immaculate blend of looking sharp and feeling snug-as-a-bug.
Address: 294 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy VIC 3065
3. Factory outlet stores along Smith Street
Sport plays a huge role in Melbourne town, so it’s only natural that I put a little-known sports haven on this list so you can never pay full-price on your workout gear again.
If you are in need of groovy sportswear from the best and brightest of brands, look no further than Smith Street, in Collingwood. The sports outlets on this street are phenomenal; you got Adidas, New Balance…the list goes on. Cheap kicks have never looked better. You can now exercise in the knowledge that you don’t have to worry about finances when you are burnin’ up that treadmill.
Adidas 377-379 Smith Street Collingwood VIC 3066
New Balance 428 Smith Street Collingwood VIC 3066
4. Clear iT
This is one of Melbourne’s best-kept secrets, and for good reason, because if everybody knew about this, I’m fairly sure we would never leave this smorgasbord of designer clearances.
It’s hard to pin down prices, but there are massive regular sales, of up to 80% off items- and tees and dresses from these usually stratospheric brands are sold at a margin of the price, between $20-$40. There are a lot of Dangerfield and Princess Highway pieces that you can snap up for a quirky boost to your wardrobe, but this place is also a gem for Spring Racing, with heavily reduced fascinators and offcuts from ultra-femme Alannah Hill, which can add loads of designer glamour to your look as you show off as you swan around the marquees.
Address: 188-192 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy VIC 3065
5. Shops along Sydney Road
This ain’t a bargain list if Sydney Road ain’t mentioned, and this stretch definitely delivers the goods. Now, the ‘op’ in ‘op shop’ stands for opportunity for a definite reason – there is so much scope for an opportune purchase on this street.
Savers is the biggest Savers I have ever seen in my life and is a department-sized goldmine of used clothes (especially knitwear for these chilly months ahead!) so if you have some time to kill, sift through the treasures that pop up there. Dejour Jeans is also a favourite, due to their killer jeans, and hit up Friends of Couture outlet while you’re at it. And when you get tired of the infinite possibilities here, go ahead and try the local cuisine- it’s a delicious melting pot of European and Middle Eastern goodness.
Savers 330 Sydney Road Brunswick VIC 3056
Dejour Jeans 542 Sydney Road Brunswick VIC 3056
Friends of Couture 186-188 Sydney Road Brunswick VIC 3056
I know, it is strange to include such a well-known chain store on this list, and for that I apologise for the shock. But what I don’t apologise for is showing you how to really get your money’s worth in such an colossally famous store that we are lucky enough to have here in Melbourne.
Let’s christen H&M’s first Melbourne winter in style; with a spending spree! At the moment, most jumpers are fantastically priced between $20-$40. The quality is A-grade, and the warmth factor is a huge drawcard (I just bought a turtleneck here and it’s like I am living in my own personal woolly cloud of warms), and the monochrome theme that is running through this season’s wear is perfect for matching with all that Melbourne black in your wardrobe.
I highly recommend H&M for knitwear and also their super cheap jeans and pants. Another highlight is their huge accessories section, and what I usually do is go straight to the $3 sale accessories, because that means you will never leave this superstore empty-handed.
Address: 350 Bourke Street Melbourne VIC 3000
I can never be sure that this acronym isn’t ‘Direct Factory Outlets’, but instead what should be the motto of these centres- ‘Discover Fantastic Opportunities.’ Because while everyone does love a vintage bargain (how can you not? Three dresses for $20? Killin’ it), sometimes, you want to keep up with the here and now, but for a reasonable price. And that’s what DFO Essendon, DFO South Wharf, and even the Spencer Street outlets are for!
These famed Melbourne institutions are beacons of light for all of us who want to buy great brands, for a great price. The Spencer Street Outlet (more like Spender Street, am I right?!) is a particular wonder, because it is situated right above Southern Cross station, so if you are only in town for a few days, brands such as Peter Alexander (huge success- I bought a heavily-reduced onesie there and will be wearing that for three months straight this winter), Bardot, Kate Hill, and Review will provide more than enough downtime (and hopefully a lot of new buys!) while you’re here. The DFOs have gathered a stellar reputation among Melburnians, and their sheer size means you can make a day of it-and not break the purse strings while you do it.
Visit the DFO website here for a list of locations.
8. Shops along Bridge Road
I legitimately do not know where to start with this one – if your primary goal in life is to find the best bargain shopping strip in Melbourne, you can retire RIGHT NOW. Because here it is.
So many outlets – and when I say outlets, I mean everything will be taken out… by you. Bonds (hell yes – comfy and iconic Aussie brand made cheap) Country Road clearance (*love-heart-eyes emoji*), Landes outlet…the list goes on. It’s like, why do we go anywhere else? Start at Punt Road, and work your way down, gather up some pals and away you go. Be careful though; you may never return home and spend your life sleeping in Sportsgirl because, be real, who can leave prices this cheap?
Bonds Outlet 221 Bridge Road Richmond VIC 3121
Country Road Clearance Richmond Plaza 261 Bridge Road Richmond VIC 3121
Friends of Couture 194 Bridge Road Richmond 3121
So, what if I told you that Brandsmart gathers together our fave brands, slashes the prices, and to add to that, we got up to 80% off these massive brands? You wouldn’t believe me, right? Well, I have the best news for you. It’s real, it’s in Nunawading (this classifies a day trip) and it truly has the greatest items. Converse (I got classic white low-tops for $50, no joke), Espirit, Lorna Jane, Sass & Bide, Oroton Factory, Laura Ashley and Sheridan… you will truly be spoiled for choice.
Address: 288 Whitehorse Road Nunawading VIC 3131
10. Harbour Town
This place looks way too pretty to house hidden cheap deals, but alas, never judge a book (or the Docklands!) by its cover!
Now, while the others mentioned have discounts on designer sales, Harbour Town aims to discount the already discounted, with cheaper brands such as Cotton On and Factorie, even Valleygirl, being up for grabs here. And this place is such a family-friendly environment (and also home to one of the greatest bargains of all time, COSTCO), so if your littler ones are in need of some clothes, bring them here for a full day of by-the-water magic.
Address: 1/122 Studio Lane Docklands VIC 3008
Cheap shopping in Melbourne
So there you have it. A guide to shopping that will make you the envy of everyone you know, and make your bank account think that you are a hero. Take care to like these places on Facebook and other social media channels, because then you will be the first to know when the biggest deals are on their way.