Shops like H&M and Forever 21 make the latest fashion trends accessible for those on almost any budget. But fast fashion is not sustainable… and for a city like Melbourne that’s saying no to plastic bags and home to the “world’s most sustainable shopping center,” there has to be another way to look good while doing good. On a recent visit to the city, I made it my mission to find the best op shops Melbourne has to offer, because one of the best souvenirs is an eco-friendly, thrifted t-shirt from a new city!
Best op shops: Melbourne’s go-to stores for vintage clothing, retro wares and great deals!
Brotherhood of St Laurence
23 locations across Greater Melbourne
“The Brotherhood of St Laurence currently operates 23 community stores across Greater Melbourne, and their success relies on the passionate and dedicated team of staff, more than 700 volunteers and the generous donations received for the communities in which we work.
The stores raise vital funds to assist in the delivery of our many programs and services which work towards building better lives for all Australians.” – Brotherhood’s Mark Lane, Head of Social Enterprises
I recently visited the Moonee Ponds warehouse, where the savvy thrift shopper will find furniture, clothes, costumes, books and home goods. All electrical purchases come with a two week warranty (with receipt), so go ahead… buy that blender!
Camberwell Sunday Market
In pre- (and hopefully post-) COVID times, the Camberwell Sunday Market faithfully opened each Sunday from 6:30am-12:30pm (except the Sunday before Christmas) with 370 stalls of treasure. And if you don’t mind doing a little hunting, you’re sure to find the perfect addition for your treasure chest. The suburban car park is transformed with buskers and performers, lending a party-like atmosphere to the weekly extravaganza!
Entry is a gold coin donation, which the Balwyn Rotary uses to fund a variety of charitable causes.
Chapel Street Bazaar
If you want to go vintage shopping, Melbourne’s Chapel Street Bazaar runs the gamut of beautiful, bizarre, and quirky finds. The iconic shop is actually 80 shops in one, with stalls full of unique retro and vintage finds. Their Facebook page promises flying ducks, musical instruments, comics, rocking horses and numismatics in addition to the more traditional clothing, shoes, and homeware you’d find in other vintage shops. Melbourne is certainly a more colorful city thanks to Chapel Street Bazaar.
Cheltenham Opportunity Shop
Since 1961, St. Matthew’s Anglican Church has served the local community through the Cheltenham Opportunity Shop. If you’re hunting for bargains on clothing and footwear, household supplies, and more, don’t miss this Melbourne thrift store!
Circa Vintage Clothing
Owned by Nicole, who is a certified costume designer, Circa Vintage Clothing began as a personal collection and grew into one of the best vintage shops Melbourne has to offer. While the shop has closed, Nicole is still available for fashion and textile projects, talks, and exhibitions. Her site offers a wealth of knowledge on vintage clothes, and any thrifter is sure to be busy for hours reading all about vintage fashion!
Family Life Opportunity Shops
Black Rock, Chelsea, Cheltenham, Hampton, Highett
Purchase pre-loved clothes, electronics, and home goods to keep them out of landfills and give back to the local community. Family Life Opportunity Shops have been helping the most vulnerable in the community for over 50 years!
Shop online from the comfort of your couch!
CBD + Fitzroy
“Second-hand stores also offer the opportunity for goods to get a second life – keeping them out of landfill. Also as the name Op Shop suggests – it gives people in the community the opportunity to get quality goods at affordable prices.” -Brotherhood’s Mark Lane, Head of Social Enterprises
Hunter Gatherer is an initiative by Brotherhood of St. Laurence to provide clothing of a slightly higher quality in their vintage stores in Melbourne CBD and Fitzroy. Expect to find funky retro clothing and designer labels in what feels more like a boutique than a thrift store. The friendly staff, cute arcade location and great selection makes this one of the best op shops in Melbourne CBD!
Lost and Found Market
Lost and Found Market on Brunswick Street in Fitzroy feels a bit like raiding your cool aunt’s closet… if you had 20 cool aunts. This Melbourne vintage shop gives stall-holders the chance to sell clothing, art, bric-a-brac, vinyl and more, so be sure to allow plenty of time to peruse the 900 square meter warehouse full of vintage goods and collectables.
If you’re tired of shopping, take a break with Lost and Found’s free to play arcade game! Each attempt is limited to 60 seconds, where you’ll have the chance to relive the video game of your childhood, zooming around a track at over 400km/hour!
St. George’s Parish Bargain Shop
St. George’s Parish Bargain shop has great deals on second-hand items and their Facebook page gives great tips on extending the life of clothing you already own!
Posh Opp Shoppe
Glenhuntly + Elsternwick
The two Posh Opp Shoppe locations are treasure troves of vintage designer clothing, toys, jewelry, and furniture– all of a high quality. Feel good about your purchases knowing your money is going to JCAS, which helps kids with disabilities attend day schools.
Red Cross Op Shops
Red Cross is one of the best op shops Melbourne has to offer, and with locations all over the city, you’re sure to find one near you.
Red Cross in Collingwood is one of the best op shops in Melbourne for designer clothes. When I visited, there was an entire section of brand new Gorman outfits! Look for their “Designer” sign that promises all the chic without the shabby.
The Collingwood location also has a great variety of leather jackets, home goods and a large festival-wear section.
Retrostar Vintage Clothing
One of the most famous and central vintage shops Melbourne CBD has to offer is Retrostar Vintage Clothing. Located just across the street from Flinders Street Station, this shop has an entire room devoted to leather, and their main room is bursting with colorful vintage clothing. Melbourne CBD isn’t usually known for retro goods, but Retrostar Vintage is doing its best to make vintage clothing accessible to everyone!
Sacred Heart Mission Op Shops
12 locations across Greater Melbourne
The Sacred Heat Mission’s website states that “our unique second hand shops in Melbourne raise almost 30% of Sacred Heart Mission’s funds and aim to raise awareness of our work.”
I first learned about Sacred Heart through their Dine With Heart Month. I love that they’re getting the community involved and doing good work with a foodie twist.
Their 12 locations across Melbourne promote ethical shopping while raising funds for individuals and families experiencing homelessness. Mandatory lockdowns cramping your thrifting? Sacred Heart Mission is trading online, so you can get the best vintage clothing Melbourne has to offer sent straight to your front door!
86 locations across Greater Melbourne
Salvos has 330 shops across Australia and they’re committed to serving their communities by giving back 100% of their profits. When the bush fires hit, the Salvation Army was there. And when lockdown was reinstated, they upped their support.
As one of the best op shops in Melbourne, you’ll find clothes, books, games, sports equipment, homeware, and nearly anything else you can think of!
Shop online to give back, even when you can’t shop in person.
Savers Recycle Superstore
Brunswick, Footscray, Greensborough, Ringwood, Heatherton
According to their website, “More than 2 million people helped save over 5.6 billion liters of water with one simple act: choosing a thrifted T-shirt instead of a new one.” Savers Recycle Superstore is passionate about providing great second-hand clothing at an affordable price and educating the community about the benefits of choosing thrifted clothing over new.
With brand names in well-organized departments, dressing rooms, and shopping trolleys, you’ll feel like you’re shopping at a department store!
Secondo is a second-hand shop committed to rehoming pre-loved international and local designer labels. If you’re used to Gucci and Prada prices, Secondo’s tags will feel like a steal. Their clothing is in immaculate condition, and the owners are committed to creating beautiful displays and a homelike atmosphere. If you’re prepared for the $100+ price tags on nearly every item, you’ll be glad to know that with every purchase, you’re benefitting the Prahran Mission and Siwali Community School for disadvantaged children in West Jakarta, Indonesia.
Shag is one part retro shop, one part museum, and 100% fabulous. It is a feast for the eyes, with one-of-a-kind heirlooms and extravagant jewelry at this vintage store. Melbourne treasure hunters and shop owners have an eye for style, and you won’t be disappointed if you’re searching for vintage elegance, OTT sequins, and bodacious bling.
Search for your perfect piece online here. There’s currently a hand-painted, sequined tiger jean jacket… which I believe is a royally awesome addition to any COVID-inspired closet.
Shappere is an absolute gem and a hipster’s heaven. Levi’s jackets, vintage dresses, distressed tees, and a collection of leather ankle boots are curated for this Melbourne vintage shop from all around the world!
Windsor, Bendigo, Richmond, Northcote, Kyabram
When I visited the colorful and inviting Storehouse Thrift in Windsor, the friendly staff was advising a customer on the perfect outfit for a special occasion. The shop was beautifully organized and is a treasure trove of quirky costumes, designer brands, and seasonal trends.
Their shops benefit Teen Challenge International Victoria, a teen addictions rehabilitation program aimed at helping young men overcome their struggles with addictions.
Toorak Opportunity Shop
If designer names are your game, don’t miss this op shop. Toorak Opportunity Shop sells washed and ironed or dry cleaned clothes, leading you to wonder whether you stepped into an op shop or a designer’s sample sale.
With over 100 shops in Victoria, you’ll be able to find almost anything you need at a Vinnies. The shops sell clothing, furniture, kitchen gadgets, and decor items.
The shop prides themselves on their army of volunteer workers, which means they’re able to do a lot with every dollar that comes into the organization.
Vintage Garage in Collingwood is home to some of the funkiest vintage clothing Melbourne has to offer. There is no shortage of sequins and flair here. Step up to the checkout counter, designed to look like a vintage car for advice or to pay… Don’t worry! The prices here are some of the most reasonable in the city.
CBD, Fitzroy, Windsor
If I hadn’t seen the word “vintage” on the sign, I never would have guessed the clothes in this shop are pre-loved. The displays in the Fitzroy location look straight out of a rainbow, with colorful racks of clothing in various styles. Choose from pants, shorts, skirts, dresses and jackets in a variety of colors or select from their array of designer handbags.
Retro-lovers and vintage fans, what do you think? Have I found the best op shops Melbourne has to offer? Which one will you visit first?
Pin the best vintage shops in Melbourne!
Tuesday 8th of June 2021
St George’s Parish Bargain Shop is under new management from 1st Oct 2020.
Sunday 24th of January 2021
Awesome sight! I had no idea there were so many great stores around.🙏
Sunday 24th of January 2021