Vintage and retro wares have never been in higher demand and unfortunately for us, retail prices have steadily risen to reflect the increased demand. Even the op shops have climbed onboard and become retro-savvy, charging what one would not consider to be your standard op shop bargain prices. The numerous vintage and op shops in picturesque Paddington are no exception, but shoppers take heart, there are still bargains to be found if you're willing to spend the time looking.
For lovers of all things vintage and retro, Brisbane's inner city suburb of Paddington is an absolute mecca, the streets are paved with yesteryear gold and one can traverse a trail of veritable treasure troves all within a one kilometre radius.
The minute you enter the characteristic, converted Queenslander and hear the sweet sounds of swing over the stereo, you feel as if you've been transported back in time. The owner Lizzie is passionate and knowledgeable about all things vintage and she hand picks each and every antique and vintage treasure in her store. An eclectic mix of clothing, furniture, homewares and bric-a-brac, spanning numerous eras awaits your viewing and shopping pleasure. The prices are very reasonable and take the exclusivity out of vintage.
This is quite possibly the coolest vintage outlet in Brisbane, because it doesn't pretend to be anything other than what it is, it's more than just a shop selling vintage stuff, it celebrates vintage as a way of life. Beware strange opening hours though: Thursday - Sunday, 10am - 5pm only.
Fifty metres up the road, racks of clothing tumbling onto the street signals your arrival at the Retro Metro Clearance Outlet. This is the place for quality vintage and retro gear at bargain prices, starting with the $5 rack at the very front - that's right shoppers - $5!! A price virtually unheard of these days.
Prices gradually increase as you move toward the store entrance but continue to be bargain prices for quality items. Value for money prices continue inside the store which is crammed full of authentic vintage and retro clothing, accessories, small furniture items, vinyl records, shoes, bric a brac and fabrics. The man who works there is friendly and helpful without being the least bit pushy and every time I've purchased an outfit there, he's very kindly thrown in a free belt to match. Can't beat that kind of service. Opening hours vary so contact 3876 3854 for details.
Walk a mere one hundred metres, cross the road to 16 Latrobe Terrace and you're at Vinnies. For my money this is slightly overpriced for a charity shop but this is Paddington after all, and there are still bargains to be found here.
In addition to regular op shop clothing and books, Vinnie's has a featured Retro section at the back of the hall, and an upstairs 'After 5 and Fancy Dress' section where one can usually find something unique and authentic. They have a small selection of jewellery, shoes and retro furniture, but the focus here is on clothing and a wide assortment of retro bric a brac and kitchen wares. Contact the store on 3876 3245 for opening hours.
Cross the road and you have arrived. It's the Retro Metro mother store, the place where the top quality, A grade vintage and retro merchandise goes to live. This is the creme de la creme of the vintage scene, and is priced accordingly.
An impressive display of bright coloured retro glassware fills the front window, and some suitably funky pottery pieces line the shelves inside, in addition to top of the line vintage hats and jewellery. A men's section boasts an extensive range of vintage clothing (and some vintage inspired), jewellery and belts/buckles.
There are a couple of racks towards the front of the store where women can pick up a vintage inspired piece of clothing for under $100, but elsewhere, forget it. I always feel like a bit of a fraud crossing the threshold because I know the chances of me being able to afford anything in this store are slim to none! Perhaps if I was looking for a wedding dress or something for an incredibly special occasion I might visit the back section and splurge on one of the stunning and exquisite evening gowns or wedding dresses. This shop does top quality, authentic vintage and is well worth a look, even if you can't afford a purchase! Contact 3876 3854 for business hours.
Next door to Retro Metro is the Endeavour Foundation's op shop which specialises in 'Labels, Retro and Vintage'. This store for many years has spread out over 2 levels and a side room which is currently being reorganised and refurbished, but staff assure me they will still carry the same volume of stock. Upstairs holds labels, regular op shop clothing, shoes, bags and jewellery, and a new Retro section has been added at the back. Downstairs remains devoted to retro clothing with a small vinyl records section. Outside and off to the side is a room dedicated to bric a brac, kitchen wares and books, which is somewhat of a bargain basement.
There are definitely some unique and special fashion pieces to be found here, particularly in the downstairs area. The prices are moderate to high, certainly a far cry from the op shop prices of days gone by, but this is Paddington and this store does claim to be a Retro specialist. Hours are Monday - Friday 9-5, Saturday 9.30-4 and Sunday 11-4.
The next stop is a delightful and scenic 700m walk up the road, or if you're short on time you can drive up to Adornments at 135 Latrobe Tce, but street parking is scarce.
For true vintage lovers a trip to Adornments is non-negotiable. From the charming front porch all the way through the creaky old Queenslander to the scenic back deck, every available inch of space is used, overflowing with a crazy and curious mix of the old and new, vintage and vintage inspired, fabulous and even more fabulous! Be sure to look up and down, and all around the five crowded rooms as that one of a kind outfit you're looking for may be hanging on the wall. Unlike other vintage stores, at Adornments there is an obvious emphasis on the 1920s-1940s.
There are vintage bags and hats galore, cabinets of jewellery bursting at the seams, satin gloves, frilly parasols and delicate linens and laces. One whole room is devoted to genuine vintage clothing and shoes, and another is jam packed full of kitchen wares, again a strange and eclectic mix of the old and new.
Besides offering stunning views over Brisbane the back deck houses outdoor and garden objects, including lanterns and statues. The prices at Adornment are up there, particularly the new vintage inspired items, but the authentic vintage gear is top quality and this store being somewhat of a sensory delight, makes for a fascinating excursion. Open 7 days, 10am - 5pm.
Next door to Adornments is new kid on the block, Yesterdays Book & Things, a Developing Foundation charity store. At this stage it is 90% books but there is a small selection of retro clothing, games and bric a bric available, with the view to expand.
And the best has been saved for last. The iconic Paddington Antiques Centre at 167 Latrobe Tce, a heritage listed, grand old theatre converted into a sprawling arena of vintage mayhem. This place is the definition of organised chaos, with over 50 antique and vintage dealers housed under the one roof.
A trip to the PAC is like a wild treasure hunt, every nook and cranny is crammed full of treasures from days gone by. Furniture, costume & estate jewellery, lighting, china, books, glass, silver, collectables of Australiana, brass, copper, military and oriental; you name it, anything you can imagine from the past and everything you can't is here. You can easily spend a whole day here wandering the aisles, exploring and losing yourself in the past. Fortunately there are toilets and a cafe onsite so you can refuel as required. I usually get lost in one of the many vintage fashion nooks where the gear is fabulous and the prices surprisingly reasonable. Open 7 days from 10am - 5pm.
After leaving the Paddington Antique Centre I always stop a few doors down at Monty's Chocolates to indulge in Brisbane's best hot chocolate. And there you have it, a full day of vintage and retro shopping within a one km radius, set against the backdrop of one of Brisbane's most vibrant, happening and panoramic suburbs.
Fantastic! Thanks for posting this... I have been wondering how to attack Paddington for awhile now, was not sure where to start! Now I can do it all and not have a wasted trip :-)
Treasure hunting I shall go!
Old Antique Theatre in Latrobe Terrace Paddington is fantastic. I spent 2hours browsing in there. All stuff from 50s is orginal - clothes, jewellery, furniture, books, records. I thought I was a kid again and the shops around it are worth a look too.
If you're into retro & vintage. You may also enjoy the Peak Crossing markets. On this Saturday at Peak Crossing opposite the fuel station on the main road. It's a great day out & a nice drive in the country as well. Lots of retro, vintage, antiques & bargains to be found.