Embracing the Thrift

Nothing beats the thrill of stumbling across something special on the racks (the best finds are rewarded after a good scavenge) and Wellington is the place to be when hunting for vintage bargains.

Denim overalls and hats on a wall at Emporium Vintage Boutique Wellington.

Thrift shopping requires patience and a keen eye, but if you do it well the payoff can be huge. Original, vintage outfits and one-of-a-kind home furnishings are just the tip of the iceberg, a great way to show off your style and personality and avoid looking just the same as everyone else.

Wellington is packed with quality op shops and secondhand stores and they are a great way to spend a lazy Saturday after an early morning coffee or late brunch.
From cute, quirky collectables to eclectic elegance, seeking these beloved gems not only helps your personal style but supports the prevention of throwaway culture in the capital.

Red clothes and bags on the wall at Emporium Vintage.

Emporium

103a Cuba Street, Te Aro

Emporium is the definition of cool. Walking into the store you are greeted with a range of colourful collections, from denim to nylon, and with the genuine happiness of knowing you will find an authentic street style here. What’s different about Emporium is that they carefully hand pick all their stock straight from the USA, so by scoring a new piece you won’t need to worry about other people copying your outfit. Regularly restocking with a vengeance, all you have to do is pick your style and shade for head to toe quality vintage.

A woman browsing the racks at Recycle Boutique.

Recycle Boutique Wellington

143 Vivian Street, Wellington

Recycle Boutique offers a great range and hits the nail on the head when searching for apparel that is relevant to current trends. Specialising in designer clothing, shoes and accessories for men and women, Recycle Boutique sells on consignment and prices accordingly for both buyer and seller. They also regularly donate unsold items to charity with the goal of reducing fast fashion, and the new stock arriving frequently makes it hard to go past a weekly scavenge.

Lots of legs wearing plaid pants.

Thrift

162 Cuba Street, Wellington

If you like a more alternative look, the colourful facade of relative newcomer Thrift will gladly tempt you inside and never disappoints with the range on offer. Staff here are incredibly friendly and more than happy to assist you with your styling and fashion advice needs. With a huge range for people of all genders and ages, you can easily wile away the afternoon hours searching with glee among the colourful racks. Patterns are much loved here, and you can find some really incredible vintage pieces from well known and obscure brands alike.

Customers browsing the racks at Ziggurat in Wellington.

Ziggurat

144 Cuba Street, Wellington

Ziggurat has become a well known Wellington establishment and stock a huge selection of second hand, pre-loved designer clothing, including vintage and European labels. They also offer an impressive array of shoes and jewellery that you won’t be able to resist trying on. Selling everything classic and unique from the early 20th century to more contemporary pieces, Ziggurat is definitely a treasure chest to get inspired and impressed by. With ever-changing stock there is always something new to find in store.

Looking down into the store from the second level of Hunters and Collectors.

Hunters and Collectors

134 Cuba Street, Wellington

If the Hunters and Collectors creative window display didn’t catch your attention, the inside of this store definitely will. Feeling fabulous in winter coats and selling the most eclectic vintage since 1985, this place reveals a well curated range of retro goodness over two levels with clothing, shoes, accessories, furniture, art and other design pieces. From punk and skate style to modern pieces sourced around the globe, this Cuba street spot has been a favorite for years.

Clothes on a rack.

Paperbag Princess

209 Cuba Street, Wellington

Near the top of Cuba Street, Paperbag Princess offers a massive collection of precious pieces. Although the name can be deceiving, Paperbag Princess also stock a solid range of men’s clothing as well as covering women’s needs. A large number of new items are put out weekly, and there are hours of outfit collaborating fun to be had in this store. Whether you’re looking for a piece to complement your outfit or searching from scratch to produce a masterpiece, you can always rely on Paperbag Princess to deliver.

Vintage and antique homewares on shelves.

Add+Vintage

31 Marion Street, Wellington

Another antique store to round out the weekend thrift excursion, this blink-and-you’ll-miss-it space in the heart of Aro extends well beyond the humble shop front. Dive deep into the maze of back rooms laden with incredible furniture and other homewares, everything here is in incredible shape. While some of the stock at Add-Vintage is at the pricier end of the secondhand spectrum, you really do get what you pay for and the quality is unmatched. 60s dining sets that look brand new, vintage rugs with character aplenty and shelves upon shelves of smaller items (plus the shelves themselves) will keep your eyes busy as you hunt for a bargain, there are many to be had!

Suitcases on a floor.

Relics Antiques

270 Taranaki Street, Wellington

A stalwart of the capital’s secondhand scene since way before those pesky quakes forced them to move from their iconic spot on Ghuznee, Relics is alive and well in their new site on Taranaki Street hawking the quality pre-loved wares they became known for. A perfect place to spend some time for those who love seeking out originals and one offs, the range includes retro furniture, fixtures, ornaments and other treasures. Take a break from the clothes and expand your thrift horizons with a patient browse, you’re bound to turn up a real treat or two.