Crown Street wends its way through some of Sydney's trendiest suburbs, straddling the divide between old and new, traditional and trendy, with a sense of playful stylishness.
Crown Street is just one of the off-shoots of the Oxford Street main artery, but has somehow managed to carve out a niche of its own against the glittering backdrop of one of Sydney's busiest shopping districts. Populated by the usual smattering of hipsters and an elderly vanguard who have camped out in the suburb for twenty years, the shops on Crown Street are driven by the adage, what's old is new.
The search for the sartorial gem amongst the crowded racks of C's Flashback Secondhand Clothing, Cream on Crown, or Grandma Takes a Trip, is a serious business and can take a few hours of careful scouring.
In my experience, it pays to have a vague sense of your target: whether it be a mod hat, a pair of retro sunglasses or a leather jacket that does not look like it was purchased off the rack from Sportsgirl. Nonetheless, the thrill of affordable vintage and second-hand shopping in Crown Street is that you never quite know what you are going to walk away with.
While the ordering rationale in C's Flashback appears to be semi-organized chaos, with the occasional clothing abherration (think shoulder pads and sequins without a sense of tongue-in-cheek irony), both Cream on Crown and Grandma Takes a Trip adopt a more orderly approach with websites and collections.
For those of you unafraid of a more expensive option, a visit to Regina Garde or Mushu Bags may be the crowning moment of your visit to Crown Street.
Shannon Reserve is also home to the Surry Hills Market, held on the first Saturday of each month, which is another rich source for bargain shopping.