Do you have a secret fashion store that really *gets* you?

Nikki Parkinson Fashion 86 Comments

It’s safe to say that what I wear today is hugely different from that which filled my wardrobe five years ago. And that’s not a fashion thing.

It’s me. I’ve changed.

I’ve got older. My job has changed. My kids have grown up a bit.

I don’t want to dress like my daughter but I don’t want to dress like my grandmother did at my age either.

I still want to look on trend but I don’t want to be a slave to the catwalks.

Picky, I know.

everything is fine. keep shopping.

And it seems I’m not alone.

I received this email from reader and blogger Debra from Home Life Simplified:

I am 39 – have been at home with my kids for eight years – and have spent my 30s stuck in a small fashion hole. I no longer have an income so feel I cannot spend big bucks like a 39-year-old might do if she is working or wealthy. Pre-kids in my 20s I shopped at Portmans, Sportsgirl, Cue etc. Now I shop at Sportscraft (on sale), Sussan and the random chain stores like Target (to supplement my clothes bought overseas). There must be some good clothes out there that are age appropriate AND affordable without being daggy. Most brands for 35-50 year-old women have hefty price tags to go with them. In Sydney I would head to boutiques like Quick Brown Fox (my old fave when we lived there), but I have not stumbled on anything like that here in Brisbane. So maybe the issue is cities outside Sydney and Melbourne? Do you know where to get interesting, good quality, yet affordable clothes for over 35s?

Which got me to thinking.

1. I’m pretty damn lucky in that I’ve found the stores that *get* me. Between three boutiques here on the Sunshine Coast – Soul Diva, Buderim; Zambezee, Mooloolaba; and Eve Boutique, Maroochydore – with top ups from Country Road (and Saba and Witchery if I happen to be shopping in Brisbane), I have most of my wardrobe bases covered.

2. Styling You readers are pretty cluey when it comes to sniffing out a clothing label, chain store or boutique find, so I thought … why not enlist your help to create a list of fabulous boutiques, labels, online stores and chain stores that sell amazing clothes and accessories just right for women aged 30 and over?

Are you in?

Either leave a comment and a link to the store or label below or post a link on the Styling You Facebook page. I’d love to know what makes that store or label so special. Is it the way the store is merchandised, the service sublime, the labels stocked just right for you.

I’ll use this list to create a national directory if you like … consider it a community shopping service for women around Australia. ย It will also be a list we can add to as you find new treasures.

Photo credit: iwalkkonthestyyledside.tumblr.comย 


  • steffy

    I find it hard to shop as I am 35 but a size 6-8. Katies size 8 or Sussan’s is too big and shops like Portmans, Valleygirl, Ally Fashion and so on only fit me!! So frustrating!!! I have resorted to online like Asos as at least I can fit into their clothes…. Just because you are a certain age doesn’t mean you are a certain size!!!

    • steffy

      OOps meant 35 years old and a size 6-8!!! Ha ha ha…..

    • No it does not! Crazy really but glad you’ve found some alternatives online.

  • Mode access 434 burwood rd belmore nothing over $45 if your looking for something different great quality great service catering for ages 18-70 colorful very unique lots made in u.s.a and also made in Australia sizes 8- 16 also larger whenever we can get handbags from $15 different jewellery from $5 all at wholesale prices direct as we import our own jewellery and bags be quick as our stock sells quick new arrivals weekly

  • Vanessa

    I so agree with the Leona Edmiston Vintage, in the past two weeks I have picked up 5 new dresses for $460. Two of them were still selling on the Leona website for 50% than I paid for them.

  • Mel K

    Great to see everyone’s tips! Three more to add:

    *The Leona Edmiston Vintage Boutique – SO great, best way to get Leona at affordable prices. There are two in Sydney and I think one or two in Melbourne and the dresses are often way discounted – e.g., $150 for a frock that I’ll wear a million times. The Double Bay one in Sydney is particularly good (my review at

    *Peeptoe Shoes is my new fave shoe destination – online at; their Classics range has gorgeous shoes with a bit of an edge, but still appropriate enough for work – I especially love my Miss Lolita.

    *Dinosaur Designs – gorgeous, unfortunately so expensive, but their “Extinct” outlet is GREAT as there are some great discounts there.

    And I add my votes to those mentioning Mimco – love them! Will have to check out the outlet…

  • I wanted to add to your plus size stores:

    My Size
    B and Lu
    Asos Curve

    • Whoops, hit enter too early! Also add-

      Lucie Lu
      Nordstrom (now ships to Australia)
      Yours Clothing UK
      Box 2 (UK)

  • I shopped online for the first time and bought a dress from Verily ( ย I am so happy with my dress, which arrived the next day. The style was perfect for me (I am a busy mum of three kids) and itโ€™s nice to know I am supporting Australian made fashion.


    • Oh Jenna … I’m glad you found and love Verily as much as I do!

  • Judy Clark

    Barkins in Sydney is a great place to buy inexpensive corporate clothing. I enjoy it when you don’t have to pay an arm and a leg for classics like the black pencil skirt I just bought from Barkins for $39.99 It’s great!

  • Kamikaze in Melbourne has lovely evening and semi-casual wear for decent prices. The styles are modern with throw backs to the fashion of the 50s – flattering waist and hemlines, flirty fun patterns and real sizing. I’m only 29 but I too feel like I’m getting to beyond what I see in shops I shopped in just 5 years ago. I notice Esprit has stepped up their game in the last few years too. A good mix of casual and formal wear at decent prices – bonus if you can pick up their stuff at a factory outlet cheaper!

  • For me it’s always been – Temt, Valley girl for those t-shirt/knit tops, Target, now Mix Apparel. Ojay is another favourite, love their dresses. Metalicus is fast becoming a favourite, but only when they have a sale. Online – Asos (where else!?), Dorothy Perkins & New Look. Am eagerly waiting for Topshop to open here in Melbourne so I can check them out – as if I don’t have enough clothes already!

    • Thanks Norlin! It’s about options ๐Ÿ˜‰ As long as all your clothes make you look good, then go for it!

  • In Perth, Picnic and Morrison.
    In Dunsborough WA, milc.
    In the NSW Hunter Valley, Wilson & Hunter in the vineyards.
    Online, birdsnest

    • You know I’ve been waiting for your input, don’t you?! Thanks Paula, aka WA correspondent.

      • Ha! I could be here all night…. Love Story in Mosman Park WA, Flannel in Cottesloe, Sana in Claremont for evening wear/ special occasion….
        And I wear jeans I bought in a country outfitters in Main street of Bathurst NSW that I always return to when in town, name escapes me but they r awesome.

        • You crack me up! Thank god you live on other side of the country. We’d be trouble shopping together.

        • Oh yes – and for Perth people, definitely Daneechi in Subiaco for bathers/swimmers/cossies – they stock heaps of labels and really help you match your body to most flattering swimmers!
          Ok, I’ll stop now….

  • I can to relate to a lot of comments left already, which is quite comforting because I thought I was alone in the fashion department!! I am 32 and my youngest of 4 kiddies is soon to turn 3. I have not been able to lose the kilos I;ve hoped to from my last two pregnancies, so have not been able to return to the clothes I loved, and in some cases the brands I loved. My basics like a lot of others, come from Target but now I also shop at the new Coles clothes brand, Mix. Great colours, resonable quality and best prices! I like Sussans(they have got better over the last few seasons!)for my nicer clothes and I have since discovered Piper from a discovery on Ebay. I also find some nice items at Tree of Life, and I always love to buy second hand! So I’m a real mixed bag!! I would love to know of some nice boutique wear though. I live northwest of Sydney and don’t like travelling too far with kids in tow! So would love to keep an eye on this post to find out some great places to shop, and don’t have to travel to far, or can purchase online.

    • I’m hoping we’ll continue to uncover some favourites, Courtney. Thanks for your’s

  • AliE

    What a great topic Nikki! I am certainly going to have to check out those online stores!

    I am almost 34 so am struggling to find my clothing identity post-kids. I stick mostly to classic items & basic colours. I have just gone back to work into the corporate world after 18mths mat leave. My work staples are Veronika Maine & Cue, but my non-work wardrobe faves are the ‘Piper’ brand in Myer, Esprit & Sussan. Everytime I walk into Sussan I could buy 10 things easily! I like Target for basics too. I also love Country Road, but can’t always justify their prices, but sometimes they’ll release an item I have to buy!

  • Karina

    I love going online at Great clothes at cheap cheap prices and FREE SHIPPING!

  • Linda

    My favorites are Blue Illusion, Sussan, Seed Femme and lounge apparel . I am a full time working Mum of 3 teens.
    I work in retail and love accessories to dress up my classic and regular items. My size ranges from 14- 18 depending on stores . Maggie T jeans are a great fit and My size are also good for pants if you are are a bit hard to fit. the staff in the above stores mostly have great service which is great if your are time poor or have a favorite store to purchase from.

    • I’m glad you mentioned Seed Femme … I don’t have a store near me but whenever I’ve been in one when in Sydney or Melbourne … I’ve been really impressed.

      • I love Seed Femme (and Seed kids, so cute!). Nikki, when you’re in Brisbane next they have a store in the Queen St Mall. You can also find it at the David Jones in there, too. I’ve just checked out Birdsnest. Love it! Showing the clothes styled with shoes, bags, accessories etc is such a great idea.

        • Thanks Linda! I will keep it on my radar. Love the effortless chic of their designs.

  • Jo

    It’s amazing the gems you find at the Red Shield Boutique. There’s one in every town, and when on holidays, the gems I bring home – amzing. Great to add to the wardrobe!!

  • I have a love affair with Eden on Crown (Surry Hills, NSW), I adore supporting the smaller shops in the neighbourhood I work in! My online loves are & And for basics I actually love Target! But if I want to do a real bargain shop for singlets or shorts, I head back online to

    • Oh, thanks Anj … and yes, supporting stores in your neighbourhood is a whole lot of fun … they get to know you as well.

  • Vanessa

    Over the last nearly 18 months, I have been buying from Leona Edmiston, I like the designs and they suit me. I also love to purchase from Boden in the UK, they’re a bit different from what I can get here. I have also bought from Ezibuy, the Grace Hill range in particular, however I haven’t bought much from them this year, I was well and truly stuck in Leona ville this year! If I want shirts I check out either Hawes & Curtis or T.M. Lewin in the UK, much cheaper than buying shirts here. I also bought a few things from Anthea Crawford, some of her range is great, but others are probably a little old for me. I will be 41 in January.

  • Wendy

    In Brisbane, Bobbe Belle at Coorparoo stocks fun seasonal clothes that are age appropriate for the โ€˜around 40sโ€™ age bracket that wonโ€™t break the bank. Also check out Mona Lisa at West End which stocks a range of brands such as Metalicus and Sasha Drake as well as funky accessories.

    The Yong Designers markets at Southbank on the first Sunday of the month are also worth checking out for something a little different field.

    • Great tips for Brisbane, Wendy … and the Young Designers Markets are a must-see!

  • Kylie P

    If you’re a plus size girl you have to check out which is where the majority of my current wardrobe comes from. Keep in mind their sizes are generous. I also love the old navy online store for jeans & tees. they are part of the gap , banana republic & piper lime shoes group so you can shop from all four stores and they will combine the shipping. I’ve been meaning to try Australian store Ollie & Max but haven’t gotten around to it yet. If I were thinner I’d buy nearly everything from country road a.d.o.r.e I get most of my 2 year olds clothes there and drool over their styles & prints. I used to shop a lot through ezibuy & Sara but have fallen out of love with them lately.

    • Thanks so much Kylie … great feedback on!

  • I miss the gorgeous boutique in Sydney call Rose & Ruby – it could be pricey but every single thing in that store was a dream to me.

    My latest favourite is Pink Zebra. They have great jeans, cashmere, accessories and a lot of flattering styles that are also comfy. They import a lot of stuff so can be exxy but they always have brilliant sales with great deals. There website is

    And finally if I could live in my PJs all day I would name Peter Alexander as a favourite.

    • Thanks Serena … yes if only we could be in our PJs all day!

  • mandy

    I am 41. I dont have a HUGE budget for clothes, but I have to get my fix every now and again!

    I shop all over. Op shops. Target. K mart. Jacqie E. Portmans. A bit of Sportsgirl for hats and bangles. Myer for tights.

    And finally when I really want to lash out, I buy pieces that will last forever at LUSH, QUEEN (Melbourne labels) and GORMAN.

    • Fantastic – thanks Mandy – I think that’s what’s called balance!

  • Just thought of a few more –

    Kids in Berlin for great Melbourne made clothes and accessories (Victoria St North Melbourne)
    Wild Jam for pretty homewares and jewellery – in Pin Oak Crescent Flemington
    Bob Boutique for super cute homewares, jewellery and accessories in Bendigo – and online
    Three Den Markets in North Melbourne – maybe 3rd Sunday of the month

  • I’m a big fan of Target as I seem to be a perfect size 14 in their clothes (but not the “Free Fusions” or “Hot Options” ranges) and they suit my lifestyle as a busy working mum of two teens!

  • I love chain stores and often buy clothes there that you would think are more expensive. My faves are Temt and Target.
    I love Cue for high end, and there’s a brand called Stella at Myer that is also nice.
    Online – St Frock is a great store – there’s a bricks and mortar store in Pyrmont. The girls are lovely and always treat me like a princess.

  • Natalie Blanch

    I’ve always said that I have an expensive body shape.. I’m a size 10 but many brands just don’t fit right (I can never find anything in Kmart, BigW or Target that suits me). RM Williams is my favourite brand – I can pick up anything from there, and it fits perfectly!

    My brother-in-law opened a shop in a little country town in the South Burnett, QLD last year though, and he stocks a number of great brands like Orientique, Goondiwindi Cotton, and Blue Dog. I picked up a pair of Blue Dog jeans, tried them on, and had to buy them because they were PERFECT! I haven’t bought jeans in years because it’s just too painful trying to find a pair! He sells online too and has free express shipping from now until Christmas.

    Thanks for the post, and to everyone for their helpful comments they’ve shared!

    • Thanks so much – I really want to hear about stores like this!

  • Mel

    I look at blogs like this one and fashion mags for fashion inspiration. I think places like Sportsgirl, Witchery, Esprit, Gap, Zara and Top Shop do a great job of translating the latest styles at affordable prices. Most of these shops are not too teeny bop either. At the end of the day if you’re comfortable and confident you can just about pull off anything.

  • I love Fred and Ginger at Peregian Beach. Cute and different dresses and shoes for casual, work, after 5 and seriously edgy. Teamed with a georgeous French sales assistant who makes you feel tres chic ๐Ÿ™‚

  • christine

    I like to buy my Clothes from Autograph however i don’t always have the cash avavilable to buy, i also like Millers has they have a great variety to choose from and is a little more affordable for me ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Kelly

    I am a huge fan of Trade Secret! They have so many different styles of clothing and a range of sizes. They have mens, womens, kids, baby stuff and homewares. They are scattered all over the place which makes it convenient for me too!!

  • Catherine Yarham

    I have to third the calls for Katies – their sizing goes up to a smallish 22 and sometimes a 3XL!
    Jacqui-E used to have very nice structured dresses, however the last few times I’ve been in I haven’t been that impressed.
    I like Sportscraft for basic tops – they also go to a 22 in some items now. I got some gorgeous simple light but warm jumpers at the end of Christmas, and because I joined their club they gave me a big discount. Sadly their trousers only seem to go to an 18, but are very nice and often on special.
    I also like ASOS with their Curve brand for larger sizes. I’ve only bought from them once so far but was very fast free shipping so I plan to buy some more!
    Also as I have wider feet – Ziera have gorgeous shoes that are often available in wider sizes, and while expensive (around $200 a pair) are good quality.

    • Thanks so much, Catherine … fantastic tips for everyone!

    • Catherine Yarham

      Oops I meant the end of Easter ๐Ÿ™‚

      Also forgot to add Dream Diva – sometimes have lovely evening dresses for plus sizes. I went into their Richmond store to buy my engagement dress but they also have an online store.

  • Meggsie

    Sacha Drake Brisbane is fantastic – clothes that are stylish and good for all shapes. And you can leave one of their jersey dresses on the floor for a week and it will not crush. I always take her clothes on holidays. Petrol Brisbane Is also great – very fashionabel clothes with excellent staff to help out with sizing and styles. Also Madison Integrity in brisbane city is a bit on the expensive side but the owner Sue can take one look at you and know what styles of clothes will work for you or not. A great shop For a special occasion. You’re welcome!!

  • Anna

    Being a bigger girl I’m massive on Towanda, also Manque, Queen, Sprinkle here in Melbourne

  • Great post – I will be following the responses with interest. My favourite stores are Trenery, Picnic (Perth Chain), and Flower. I tend to choose clothes based on good fit these days – and appreciated clothes that look great on more mature figures ๐Ÿ™‚ I prefer to buy casual pieces that can be dressed up for work and dinners, and can be mixed and matched.

    • Thanks so much Lisa for your contribution – and I’m much the same as you!

  • As I prefer vintage inspired, pin up/rockabilly classics, I shop at Sandra V, Hoola Hoop Clothing and the old faves, Etsy &Ebay.. I get the best bargains via facebook pages that are set up for those who wish to trade/sell/buy these types of clothes/shoes/bags at a cheap price.
    I frequent op shops, Savers, Kmart, Dangerfield, Cotton On & Target to supplement. I am 35 and its just about being discerningand knowing how to mix and match.

  • Ooops, try again.
    I’ll be watching this one with interest. I have so much more trouble dressing for my age than I ever did when I was younger.

    • It can be trickier but we also have a better sense of who we are too.

  • Ooh, might have to check out Katies. I had a brief flirtation with them a few years ago but have kind of forgotten them.

  • I am with Kim-Marie on this one – I’ve recently discovered some amazing finds at Sussan – they seem to do dresses really well this season, and the quality is great (particularly in natural fabrics like silk & linen).
    And I’ll repeat what Kim-Marie said about Witchery as well. I used to work there, and LOVED the clothes, but now it’s SO matchy-matchy, and unless you buy an entire outfit there, you can struggle to get individual pieces to wear back with more than one other item in your wardrobe!
    Here’s my super-secret store. And I’m almost hesitant to tell you, for two reasons… 1) it has a REALLY daggy reputation, and 2) I’ve found some incredible outfits at great prices & I don’t want everyone else to be wearing them!
    Katies. Yup, I’ve been buying at Katies for about 2 years now, and things are amazingly good quality, with unbelievable price tags. Think full-length jersey maxidresses perfectly cut on the bias for $29.95! The lightweight cottons that they do are great as they don’t need to be ironed, and the prints are on-trend without ever being ‘copies’ of designer labels (unlike cheap stores like Ally, Temt & Valleygirl). Oh, and I’m a size 12 normally, but I’m a 10 at Katies (and yes, that gives me a little thrill)!

    • Thanks Katy! Heheehe – Katy shops at Katies! And yes, they are doing some great stuff now … we need to throw off misconceptions!

  • Ooh, I think I might have to revisit this post frequently! Keen to see other people’s tips, and also add my own as I think harder on this!

    I can always, always, always find something in Country Road. I don’t always like to pay their retail prices, but I can always find just what I’m looking for. I tend to buy from them when they have their VIP 25% off sales, and when they have their Spend & Save offers. The sizing is usually pretty good, the fabrics aren’t what they used to be but are superior to, say, Zara (although the expensive stuff in Zara is very good). I think the pricing is pretty good too. For example, I’m wearing some cotton cobalt skinny pants dressed up for work today (great for the weekend too) that were $99 retail. Witchery has some similar pants but they’re probably, strictly speaking, jeggings, and they’re $130, for example.

    Witchery doesn’t really do it for me any more but I used to love it. I buy great kids clothes there but I find the store a little bit uninspiring and a bit tonal. Every now and then I find some gold, but I’m also offput by the fact that they don’t go higher than a 14. I’m a 12, but it annoys me!

    I’ve been surprising myself by becoming a bit of a Sussan fan. I only ever used to buy PJs there (and bought a lot of pregnancy stuff there too) but they’ve recently had a bit of a rethink and restyle, and I’ve been buying up. It still needs a good edit by my personal stylist (um, me!) but there is a lot of good stuff in there. Excellent Xmas giftery stuff too, at the moment.

    But my main source of clothes is eBay for Cue and Veronica Maine, because I know exactly what size I am in those brands, and op shops, vintage boutiques and outlet centres.

    I’m very lucky that I live about 5 minutes from Birkenhead Point and about 20 minutes from DFO in Sydney, plus 2 minutes from my house is a fabulous vintage boutique, Mint Condition, a Vinnies, a Salvos and Recycled Vintage. Mint Condition is beautifully presented and edited (with associated pricing but they have gold here!) and the last three need a good rummage and a strong eye to locate the treasures (and a good wash and dry clean afterwards!). There’s also a Red Cross which can be great, and is well presented. I also have an excellent market, Rozelle Markets, a little further down the road at my son’s school, where I buy lots and lots and lots of stuff, plus a Leona Edmiston Vintage boutique up the road. There’s a few onsellers there whom I frequent, and where I get most of my stuff from.

    But, if I’m going to go retail shopping, I’d first go to Country Road and Sussan. If I’m outlet shopping, I’ll go to Birkenhead Point, where I’ll go to Mimco (fabulous accessories and very cheap at the outlet store), Seed Femme (fabulous stuff, lots of silk, good accessories but I won’t pay retail for it), Witchery, Alannah Hill, Metalicus et al.

    My wardrobe is mainly Cue, Veronica Maine, Country Road, Leona Edmiston with an increasing amount of Sussan and Trenery (I keep forgetting about it as it is not Pitt Street level), with Mimco, Alannah Hill and Oroton accessories. And about 99.5% of it was bought on sale! ๐Ÿ™‚