Hi there! Please note this guide is more than five years out of date now and I no longer live in Auckland. Checking out K-Road is still your best bet for vintage however – some of the shops have changed names but remain in the same place. I’ve left this post up for posterity. Thanks!
I’ve spent many a happy hour stomping up and down city streets (everywhere) looking for vintage stock for Catch & Covet, but also just for the sheer love of adding to my wardrobe. You could say that when it comes to vintage, I’m as seasoned as a 1972 Christian Dior belt!
There aren’t many vintage stores in Auckland (comparatively!) nor are they large. Local girls serious about second-hand pop to Melbourne for the weekend, but that’s not for everyone… So I thought I would write a guide to Auckland’s best vintage stores.
This guide comes complete with a map (see the PDF download) and refreshment suggestions. Whether you’re visiting Auckland on holiday or you’ve lived here forever, I hope you find the guide useful.
Luckily, there are some note worthy spots to indulge in your vintage passion! They are all located handily around the CBD/city fringe areas, only a short stroll from one another. Our journey starts in the city, just off Queen Street…
Little High St, access off Durham Lane and High St, City
This is what I’d call a classic vintage cave. Chock full of furniture, mannequins and lamps! It has a wide selection of known designers, thanks to European buying trips. It also has a fine selection of hats – get into the thick of the vintage hunt by trying on a few of them. Take heed though: prices have varied visit by visit in my experience…
Tango is our only stop in the central CBD. You might be interested in checking out the Recycle Boutique across Queen Street, but in my opinion it requires a weekly search and this guide is about edited collections! So onwards, up to Karangahape/’K’ Road.
… take a breather …
If you’ve walked up the hill, you might be in need of some sort of refreshment! Right before you hit the second stop is the lovely Verona café (169 Karangahape Rd). Delectable coffee, blood red flocked walls and cozy booths for slouching in. I highly recommend their affrogato.
If you’re doing this walk on a Saturday the Hari Krishna centre (286 Karangahape Rd) has free, yummy vegetarian meals – however you should try give them a small donation as well as a smile!
FUZZY VIBES JUNCTION
151 Karangahape Rd, Newton – 09 309 1451
You’ll spot this one by the spray painted signage and arrows pointing down the stairs. There you’ll fine the orange interior of the fuzzy cave chock full of groovy stuff. While groovy isn’t really my thing it might just be yours. They’ve got the usual range of threads, plus an extensive selection of home wares. I really took a shine to their mint condition fondue pots and retro tea sets. It’s definitely got a different vibe to the other stores!
FAST & LOOSE
Shop 3, St. Kevin’s Arcade, Karangahape Rd, Newton – 09 309 9063
Local stylists adore this den of 80’s pomp, which sits just on the corner of the iconic St Kevin’s Arcade. They have a great selection of garish gold jewelry (yes, this is a good thing!) and a few cocktail dresses to choose from. What really makes this store shine is the layout and careful curation of objects; grouping tooled leather bags on simple white shelves, and the separation of men and women’s clothing.
St Kevin’s Arcade, Karangahape Road, Newton – 309-8884
Right next door to Fast & Loose, in double the space, Vixen has a much bigger selection of shiny pretty things to choose from! With less focus on the 80’s Vixen is a fantastic port of call whether you’re looking for something amazing or just a pair of cowboy boots. They seem to have a spectacular never-ending selection of patchwork leather bags. It’s where I go when I’m looking for a well worn band t-shirt, or one with a summer camp slogan. Awesome!
374 Karangahape Rd, Newton – 09 377 2733
I have super fond memories of one particular piece sourced from this store. In my slightly gothy phase I found and coveted a frothy tulle 1980’s cocktail dress, which was then cut in half to make a ragged skirt. I lived in this black cake skirt. Since then, the store has changed hands but it still seems pretty good – lots of boots and it even has baby vintage wear! Friendly staff too, which is always a bonus.
A mixture of vintage and designer resale, Tatty’s made the list as it has some gems for all budgets! I’ve seen Ann Demeulemeester pieces here as well as a lot of local New Zealand high fashion. Tatty’s has wonderfully friendly staff and illustrations by local artists on the walls. Also, look out for their ridiculously cute and well-dressed possum.
Conduct your vintage celebrations and commiserations over the two-sizes too small shoes at the daintily named café Agnes Curran (179 Ponsonby Road). Here you can enjoy a lovely tea or coffee surrounded by their retro-wares. If you’ve still got money left over, this would be a good opportunity to buy the milk jug of your dreams.
Even though these stores are vintage specialists (as opposed to charity/thrift/op shops – a whole ‘nother ball game there!) there are still some tips that will make your experience superb!
- The first thing I do when vintage shopping is to feel the fabrics, often along an entire rack before I pull any garments out. The higher the material quality, the more likely you are on to a wicked find.
- Things can be taken in, but not often made to fit a bigger sized body… So if it’s obviously too small, give it up! Some creativity can be exercised, for example: vowing to always wear that boy’s button-up-shirt undone.
- Choose your vintage shopping outfit wisely. I recommend slip on shoes or flats, a simple skirt and a singlet top, layered with a cardigan if it’s chilly.
- Also, take a sturdy, large bag with you. There’s nothing worse than moving on to the next stop with a handful of plastic shopping bags. Buy your clothes, stash and flip your bag over your shoulder. Keep both hands free!
Phew, that’s it! For easy reference, here’s a PDF with map and store addresses for you to print out (click on the image or the text link).
Mark it up if you find any other spots you love! ❤ Oh and don’t worry, I haven’t forgotten you international kids, check back soon for a CFS guide to online vintage shopping – with loads of useful tricks and tips.