If I had to chose one thing I missed about living in the UK it would have to be the shops (definitely not the crowds!). I miss the variety of stores, the up to date trends and having the luxury of the quality and affordability they have to offer. I think the Australian high street isn’t the best in the world as the fashion is pretty dated which is not a huge deal but it’s the quality and price that doesn’t match at all which bothers me. Thankfully Sydney has seen a big influx of global fashion stores finally hitting the shores with Topshop, Zara and the newly arrivals of Uniqlo, H&M and Forever 21. So now we are finally catching up with the rest of The Western World, what are these shops actually like in comparison to them being in UK?
OK so Zara is pretty much the same, I’ve seen the same clothes in both Sydney and London Zara around the same time although being in Sydney, we will end up with some of the same items that the UK would have had in their stores months earlier due to having opposite seasons. Zara is quite a bit more expensive in Sydney though so be warned. There’s still no website for Australia yet but you can check out the trends online anyway.
Topshop is very similar but just has a smaller collection and seeing as there is still only one Topshop in Sydney (another one to come to Miranda Shopping Centre soon), you have to buy straight away otherwise it will sell out by the time you go back. Topshop have a website you can order from which is free for orders over £50 (about $100) and you have to pay for the returns yourself. You can’t order online and then take it back to the store in Sydney because it is a franchise.
H&M is pretty awful in Sydney. Unfortunately, it doesn’t match up to London H&M’s in terms of it really feels like they are just selling all the seconds that didn’t sell in other Western countries. I miss the great tailoring H&M do so well because you don’t see any of that over here (see my review of H&M here). The best news is there will be a brand new H&M opening up on Pitt Street Mall this year as they take over most of the Glasshouse Building which is so exciting. I’ve only seen pictures of the Melbourne store and it looks so much better than the Sydney one so there is hope. H&M have an Australian website but you can’t order from it unfortunately.
Uniqlo and Forever 21 – These weren’t stores that I shopped at in UK but there are two big Uniqlo’s that have opened in Sydney and they are really great (especially for men for their classic, well made clothing) and the forever 21 is brilliant for what it says on the tin – the 21 year old in you.
So now we have these few stores to shop at, what about the rest? I decided to write a plan for you all so you can still shop the UK high street even if you’re living the other side of the world. You don’t need to spend a lot on terrible quality in Australia because there are so many options out there which is what I am currently documenting throughout this blog. Here are my tips in how to keep up with the trends and how to shop the UK high street in Sydney:
How to keep up with the trends from the UK
Let’s face it, Australian’s don’t really do trends like they do in the UK, and if they do then it’s a good few years out of date. They do classic tailored looks very well but it could cost you a lot of money to buy into. This is what I’ve worked out in how to get in early in Australia. I can tell you now it will save you loads of money!
Firstly I’ve signed up to various newsletters such as:
- Asos – they send daily updates on the latest trends – a must do!
- Look Magazine – You can sign up to the daily drop which will email you the latest clothes to drop in the UK stores which is so uptodate. You can even sign up to the weekly magazine which they will deliver to your door here in Australia or you can get it on your phone.
- I’ve subscribed to H&M and Topshop newsletters which will tell you the latest trends and any offers on.
- Instagram – seriously this is the place to keep up to date with other bloggers and brands showcasing the most up to date trends.
So now you’re hooked up with what’s in fashion the next stage is to be able to buy it, so here is my guide in how to shop like you are shopping the UK high street.
Let’s find out where you can shop:
- Asos – This brand is amazing because they sell so many of the UK brands on there. Don’t be too worried about ordering because they have such a simple delivery and returns policy. Delivery is usually free if you order over $40 but it changes constantly so make sure you sign up to the newsletter to hear about their latest offers as they always have sales on. If you want to return any items then it costs $5.95 to send a parcel back but just make sure you send it back within 30 days of delivery. You just have to pay for the postage online, print it out and take the parcel to the post office for them to sign if off. It really is simple and asos is one of the best online stores out there. The asos brand especially is so cheap, you’ll be getting much better quality and for the price than in an Australian stores.
Some of the brands you’ll see on the UK high street in Asos are:
- American Apparel (there are some stores in Sydney too)
- French Connection (there are a few stores in Sydney too but not with half of the stock as in UK!!)
- New Look
- River Island
A good tip with this is always look on these websites as most of them will ship to Australia and check the prices before you buy. I recently found a dress from River Island on Asos and it was $76. I looked on River Island website and found it for just £7 (thats about $15). I have always kept my UK bank account to pay for things in £ because it can amount up if you start paying in a different currency. I got it shipped to Aus for about $10 extra meaning I spent $25 on a $76 dress.
This same rule applies to Topshop. I have found a lot recently that when Topshop online has a sale on, it will be full price in store. It goes the opposite way too so when a sale is on in store then a few of those items will still be full price online. This trick has worked me wonders and it’s saved me loads!
2. The Iconic – Australia’s answer to Asos. There’s free delivery if you order more than $50 worth and you can also get deliveries within a few hours of the order being made! How amazing is that? It get’s better, you get 100 days before you need to return any goods and it’s all free. Perfect!
3. What other UK shops deliver to Australia?
- Next – orders over $30 are free delivery, returns are to be sent by you at your own cost BUT it’s only to their warehouse in Alexandria – pheww!
- River Island – Orders over $50 receive free delivery, check online for returns process
- Marks and Spencer – Did you know they are coming to Australia??? Amazing news!! You can however shop online with free delivery if you spend over £30 (thats about $6
- Bohoo – They’ve done a huge TV campaign in Australia to drive sales and it’s obviously working with their cheap as chips prices.
- Misguided – Another cheap online store that will deliver straight to your door in Australia.
4. And so we are missing our big British friend off this list, yes that’s Primark. Unfortunately there’s no Primark here in Australia and no shipping to here neither. The good news is I have seen some Primark goods in a few shops over such as in Kmart and Glassons (with their branding on) but I’m not gonna lie, there isn’t half as much stock as you’d see in the mass Primark stores. This is just something you’ll have to live with and stock up when you go back to UK for visits. For now that is… I’m sure Australia will get Primark one day.
If you are worried about shopping online and buying the right size, it’s actually not that difficult because they all have a size guide so just grab yourself a tape measure, its that simple. Remember it will end up working out way cheaper than buying in store over here.
So now we know how to get the latest news on the trends and where you can buy from your favourite stores. The next step is to learn how to keep up with the trends unless you are on a massive wage. The way I do this is by selling and buying on ebay (see my post here). I always check online to each outlet that’s selling the brand I want, then I’ll look to ebay to see if anyone’s selling it on there as it will most likely be the cheapest bet. Because I buy into trends a lot sooner than they are out in Australia, it’s easy for me to then resell on ebay because I’ll always sell knowing that I’ll get a lot of interest on the item. Because I buy into the trends earlier, this actually saves me loads of money as I buy a lot of clothes in the sales which I know I can wear a lot of in the next season. For instance it’s 30C out there at the moment and I’m stocking up on jumpers and overalls which is something I can’t wear right now. I never (or very rarely ever) buy anything over $100 which would otherwise be so easy to do in the Australian shops.
What are the best Australian shops in Sydney?
I don’t want to bag out Australian shops at all as there are some good ones around if you want to pay more for them. Here is my list of the great ones out there:
- Country Road – Do the best jumpers and winter wear going.
- Witchery – Beautiful tailoring especially for the minimalist neutral palette.
- Sportsgirl – For their shoes, they have created some beauties out there!
So these are my tips, have you found any other British brand selling stock over here in Sydney?
Thanks for reading,
Londoner In Sydney