It's not difficult to lose yourself in the crazed breathless excitement of a purposeful bargain hunt. Yes, girls and guys, I'm talking about the ceaselessly fun yet absolute and often frustrating necessity that is clothes shopping.
In Sydney, the bargain hunt typically begins in Chinatown and depending on your discretionary spending power, you might as well start and stop there. Should you get a wee claustrophobic (believe me, Chinatown has that effect on a lot of people), just get out!
Market City in Chinatown, of course, is where you'll find a lot of the same old fashion bargains: all last season or older. Do you really want those? I mean to say, there's a reason why stock ends up in factory outlets. We all know those are the discarded after the sales items, on the high street. People wouldn't fork out good money for them at 50% off or even 75% off. So the question is, do you really want those bargain items? As a seasoned shopper and an unabashed fashion addict, I can categorically say, « no thanks » (added emphasis), I don't want last season's cast off just 'coz I'm broke!
Now you might say, yeah sure there's always the world wide web, eBay, etc. Don't get me started on that. Don't get me wrong, there are super bargains to be had online, you can have access to a seemingly unlimited array of choice for your buck, that is, if you've got the time to spare and you really know your thang (sic). BUT, and here's the rub, how do you know you're going to get exactly what you want ???
Being the fashionista (hehe) that I am, I've got to admit that there's been more than a few occasions when, upon opening my parcel, the actual coveted bargain bore nigh little resemblance to the photos, description and what-all gushing on the website. Oh, the disappointment (mini sighs). Nothing beats the natural highs of shopping in-person, having a heart to heart about what's hot and what's not with some of the most helpful shopping assistants anywhere in the world, right here in Sydney.
Here, now, I'm about to divulge two of Sydney's biggest shopping secrets (drumrolls please) . Take note many of the shops don't have links as they do not have an online presence.
The Wynyard Centre which is described on the official publicity site as being "made up of 2 retail concourses connecting George Street and Wynyard Station. The Hunter Arcade provides access from the station through to Pitt Street, and the Menzies Arcade running from George Street through to Carrington Street."
Bags House is a little bit on the naughty but nice side of the runway. High quality designer inspired bags (I mean, genuine patent leather, etc) at much less than designer pricing. I'm a great believer in social equality – why shouldn't you have a lush, designer bag just because you're not a lawyer, a doctor or a rogue banker?
Pining for some genuine sterling silver accessories á la mode? You can't go past What a CHARMING World. The solicitious and helpful sales chick had me treating myself to some cute miniature camera vintage-look charm necklace (grand total: $10, happy value: priceless).
For shoes, don't miss out on Paul Dane in the Hunter Connection Shopping Complex. There's always something on sale. It's a family owned concern and there's always something on sale – heels/wedges/boots still very much in season.
La Charisma (sorry no links), also in the Hunter Connection Shopping Complex, is one I'd strongly recommend you visit, especially for the office chicks amongst us. Good quality suits and after-five frocks and accessories and a surprise or two instore to treat yourself to.
But for all you aspiring mum-to-bes' out there or doting aunties and uncles, La Bella Baby (oops, no link as they yet to establish www presence) in the Hunter Arcade, what a find!
European designer outfits for baby through to 7 years at magic prices. I bagged two pairs of Laura Ashley Egyptian cotton summer outfits for my nephews and people wanted to know how much I paid. Secret. Well I didn't pay anywhere near the $200 (!) or so dollars I might had to elsewhere. La Bella baby sits underground at the cusp of the Wynyard Arcade "exit" and the Hunter Connection complex.
Shhh…There are still over 60 shops to go…
And oh, there's even a charming little shop - the only one in both the Wynyard and Hunter complexes - hawking new custom made wedding dresses and bridal accoutrements (take note b2bs).