Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Thoughts from a Sydney shopping day

The Bathurst 1000 was on last Sunday. Of no particular relevance to me, except when Mr Curious said to me on Friday "I'll watch the race with TLG at home, why don't you go out, maybe do some shopping?".

I didn't need to be asked twice.

So on Sunday I caught the bus into the city and spent the day within a 100m radius of Pitt St mall. Almost 6 hours of browsing, trying on clothes, and of course buying. I will write about my purchases but that's not the focus on this post. Below are some random observations on shopping from the day.
  • I arrived at QVB a bit after 10:30am and ALL THE SHOPS WERE CLOSED. I checked my watch to make sure I had the time right. The cafes must love it, they were doing roaring trades. I assume the decision to delay opening hours till 11am is based on the lack of sales during early hours, but I can't but think that with Myer, DJs and Westfields just a block away (or less) they may be shooting themselves in the foot.
  • Full prices at high street stores are getting ridiculous. I went into Country Road and French Connection and I cannot picture myself paying RRP on any of the items. With the current economic environment they go on sale fairly quickly (I saw a pair of sandals I liked at Country Road the week before, and by this week it was discounted from $70 to $50), but with overseas online retailers like ASOS and Zara (more later) I wonder if a general lowering of price points with fewer sales is a better way to go.
  • I went through both Myer and DJs looking for bargains. Didn't find anything at Myer (except some boys' underpants for TLG at the children section), the items on sale were not inspiring. I even went to Miss Shop to have a look (I was after some casual tops) and nada. It was more promising at DJs. There were racks and racks of discounted clothings to go through on both Levels 1 and 2, including some from Australian designer labels. Discounts were up to 75% for many designers. I didn't see clothings of similar calibre on sale at Myer. Where is Myer is offloading its unsold Australian designer stock?
  • I almost bought this Shona Joy top (discounted to $39) but decided against it at the end - I'm a bit uncertain about loose fit tops.

  • I didn't leave DJs empty handed - I bought this fun top/dress from Kirrily Johnston's S/S 2010 collection for $99 (down from $399). No, I did NOT buy the matching leggings.

Here's a photo without the embellishments.

I like that it can be worn two ways. There is a small button to gather the sides to form a figure hugging dress (as above) or you can undo the button and wear it loose.
  • I know I'm super late but I went into Zara for the first time. I have been to Zara overseas so I knew what to expect. There were certainly lots of choices. I was tempted by some of the bright coloured jeans but the long line to the change room banished the thought. There is still a reasonable mark up between Australian and overseas prices, but not as much as other international brands such as Esprit. I can live with some mark up (Australia is a small market, far away and $A exchange rates can be volatile) but 100%+ mark up will stop me from buying. For all the hype at its opening, it is just another high street store with some nice stuff and some not-so-nice. I didn't buy anything.
  • GAP is boring. For a store with good basics I pick UNIQLO anyday.
  • I guess I'm never going to be a GASP girl - I bought something from Supre. Cute and a bargain at $20.
  • I also bought another one of the bra I liked from the CK underwear store at 50% off. Nice customer service from the SA which is always a plus. Another loyalty card to add to my collection.
  • I love online shopping but it IS nice to see, feel and try on clothes to see how they fit.
  • With DVF available at shopbop with free shipping, will the store at Westfields become an expensive fitting room?
  • Overall I'm lukewarm about the new-ish Westfields, I like the new labels that opened shop there but there is something about the layout that leaves me cold. ifc mall in Hong Kong is much more to my liking in terms of shopping centre design.
  • Exception to the point above: I love the food court on Level 5. Great variety, good quality and not a fast food joint in sight. Must explore the restaurants soon.
  • It feels like The Strand Arcade is slowly dying. It must have taken a big hit from Westfields. I didn't even go up to Level 2, half of shops looked closed.
  • I went into Burberry on George Street for the first time also. I saw a pair of sunnies in Vogue's October issue that I liked. Unfortunately they didn't suit me. The layout of the store was underwhelming, I didn't feel it at all. I hope LV does a better job with its new flagship store a block away (corner of George and King Sts, opening 3 December).
  • Shopping is exhausting. My body was ready for a lie-down by 3:30pm. I soldiered on until 4:15pm. As a form of exercise it was a fun one.
Blogging is exhausting too! Even this rambling post took almost 2 hours. Like shopping, it has been fun. I just need more hours in the day!

I have been thinking about writing a series of posts on shopping, especially on online shopping and the influence of social networks. This post may just get me started. Part of the series is a survey for you to complete - are you keen?


  1. I am keen! I really enjoyed reading your post and appreciate the time it must have taken to write it - my blog post yesterday took a total of three hours to complete (actually it took 5 but that's because I somehow got logged out of my Wordpress an hour in and I didn't realise til I went to publish :'( - no autosave either!).

    Anyways, I hadn't realised that the shops are now opening at 11am on Sundays, just shows how much shopping I've done on the weekend lately.

    I love that KJ dress on you, and know how you feel about loose fit tops. I've never worn one that's flattering on me :/

  2. Agree, Australian retailers are quite annoying. They don't want to work proper hours, charge us ridiculous mark ups and steal others designs...

    I am either buying on sales or online... same as many many other shoppers.

    RIP Aussie retail.

    Yes, blogging takes time.. I am spending on average 4 hrs per post :(

  3. UNIQLO is amazing, I only just discovered it recently when I was overseas. I brought a bunch of great quality business shirts, wish I brought more now! I read they are looking to expand to Aust. in the next two years, YAY!

    Australian markups kill me, especially when the quality is usually poor in middle brand chain stores.

    I love the food level at Westfields, it was my favourite part of the whole place!

    Great post xx

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