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FOOD & DRINK

Where to Shop Like a Local In and Around Paddington

Meander through the beautifully terraced suburb for gift emporiums, bespoke tailoring, artisan chocolates and second-hand paperbacks.
By Fatima Olumee
September 16, 2019
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Where to Shop Like a Local In and Around Paddington

Meander through the beautifully terraced suburb for gift emporiums, bespoke tailoring, artisan chocolates and second-hand paperbacks.
By Fatima Olumee
September 16, 2019
  shares

WHERE TO SHOP LIKE A LOCAL IN AND AROUND PADDINGTON

in partnership with

Meander through the beautifully terraced suburb for gift emporiums, bespoke tailoring, artisan chocolates and second-hand paperbacks.

Oxford Street's legacy as a go-to street for Australian designer boutiques and independent stores may have seen a few changes in the recent decade, but it's still a shopping destination for many Sydneysiders, weekend after weekend, for its range of intimate shops, art galleries and bookstores. Life is extra sweet when you combine that experience with dipping in and out of charming cafes to keep you caffeinated as you shop. Whether you're eyeing up a new dress, looking for new plant pots for your home, or in need of the perfect summer read, the streets of Paddington (and its fringes) are the place to spend a leisurely afternoon browsing.

With so much ground to cover, it can be tough to know where to start. With a little help from American Express, here's our list of places to shop small at. These spots are sure to meet your shopping needs — and accept your American Express Card.

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    Right in the middle of Oxford Street, the Paddington Berkelouw bookstore reigns supreme as a drawcard for booklovers of all types. There are three storeys of new, second-hand and rare books ready for you to lose yourself in — and the best part is there’s a cafe and wine bar upstairs, so that you can settle in for a hot chocolate and cosy up with a new book for hours on end. Aside from the latest Max Porter or Oyinkan Braithwaite fiction, the store has an extensive kids’ book section when you’re in need of a smart gift for new parents, plus there’s a cabinet of curious face masks, body lotions and candles for last-minute self care or that rushed birthday gift. There’s also a wall of locally crafted cards, a counter of indie magazines and every recent hardback you’d expect from a leading bookstore.

    Image: Destination NSW. 

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    Poepke

    Longstanding Paddington boutique Poepke has a celebrity following for its consistently good collection of overseas designer clothing — Dries Van Noten, Issey Miyake and Kowtow are regularly part of the mix. Nestled between two Victorian terraced houses on William Street, the corner store’s colourful range of women’s clothing is curated by directors Nicola Lie and Juliet Kember. The space is intimate and staff are on-hand to help you out with styling advice. Its biannual archives pop-up sale is a great chance to pick up a bargain on an edited collection of past season favourites. You may even come across a future classic from emerging Australian designers showcasing their new work at the store.

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    Be fearful of cooking fish at home no longer. Fish Butchery — and Saint Peter — co-owner Josh Niland wants to make it simple for anyone wanting to fry their Omega 3 and enjoy it too. Take your pick of the sustainably caught species expertly prepared for you to cook in the comfort of your own home. While Niland often sells lesser-known species from the ocean for you to sink your teeth into, you’ll also find popular crowd favourites such as ocean trout. The difference here is that it’s all seasonal and sustainably sourced. All fish is handled dry, meaning that the last time it touched the water was in the ocean — this intensifies the flavour profile of your fish and extends its shelf life. You can even extend your fish knowledge by attending one of their intimate masterclasses in fish preparation and cookery.

    Image: Cody Duncan. 

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    In the historic and affluent suburb of Woollahra, you’ll find a florist passionate about locally sourced flowers. Whether you’re after a bouquet to wow your beau or in need of an arrangement to spice up your home, Summers Floral can help you pick out elegant orchids or structural native arrangements. The shop provides blooms for weddings, offices and events of all kinds. If you’re in need of some guidance, the store offers arrangements under the banners of ‘modern unstructured’, ‘en masse’, ‘elegant’, ‘wild garden’ and ‘colour pop’. Opt for a vibrant bouquet of peachy tulips, golden orchids and pink roses or keep it classy with a subdued, earthy pastel palette. You’ll know you made the right choice when you witness the personalised care of each arrangement for every customer who walks through the door.

    Image: Luisa Brimble. 

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    Lee Mathews Paddington

    Twenty years since the Australian fashion designer launched her easy-to-wear feminine collection at fashion week in Sydney, Lee Mathews continues to create ethically driven clothing designed for people like her: laidback, socially conscious and stylish. Nothing fits too closely, from wide-fit linen pants to floaty satin skirts and loosely structured culottes. Fabric is important — cotton, denim, wool and silk is thoughtfully sourced from around the world and Mathews’ prints are all designed in-house. In fact, she’s originally from the northern beaches of Sydney so the Glenmore Road store is the flagship and it has all those architectural and industrial finishing touches you’d expect from the designer known for her minimalist style. When you don’t know where to start, let the team guide you to one of the Spanish-milled cotton tank dresses that’ll become a summer wardrobe favourite.

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    Treat yourself — or a friend — to a luxury gift box of artisanal chocolates from family-run chocolatier Just William. Owner Suzanne Francis makes the bite-sized chocolates by hand in new and surprising flavour combinations, from the popular ganache cream centre ‘bombs’ filled with fruit, booze or caramel, to the animal-shaped treats like mango penguins, strawberry echidnas and orange koalas. The store always has gift boxes dedicated to special occasions such as Mother’s Day, Valentine’s Day and Easter — so even if you forgot to save the date, Francis has your back for a premium gift set of handmade truffles on any day of the year.

    Image: Destination NSW.

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    Opus

    Write a list of all the gifts you need to buy and take it to this shop. Step inside this Paddington treasure trove of knick-knacks and odd items and you’re guaranteed to find something irreverent, joyful or unusual for your loved ones. Novelty gifts? Tick. Bath and body set? Yep. Opus has it all. And when you don’t know where to start, there’s a handy online gift guide to sort your well-groomed dad and your tech-savvy mum. It’s a primo place to go when you have absolutely no idea what to get — maybe it’s a book on how to be a boss bitch, new candles for the friend with new digs, or drinking games for that Kris Kringle. Make it your first stop and give yourself a giggle at the humorous cards section.

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    Ginkgo Leaf

    About ten minutes from Oxford Street is Woollahra’s Ginkgo Leaf — a shop of Japanese-inspired designs and kitchenwares that’ll take your home style from chintz to minimalist chic. Sleek simplicity is what unites the broad range of items in store, whether it’s simple brass ornaments to decorate your bookshelves, bamboo cooking utensils, or a cast iron teapot for your own at-home tea ceremonies. Expect to pay around $40 for a statement yumoni ceramic cup or $15 for super kawaii Kokeshi Dolls stickers that come in a retro box, but as much as $500 for exquisite urushi bowls.

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    Come As You Are

    This is a boutique worth browsing if you’re keen on getting this season’s must-haves for your wardrobe. Come As You Are houses international and Australian labels such as Hunkydory, Enza Costa, Janine Edwards and Joie. The shop assistants are armed with threads that will have you achieving that effortless cool look. You’ll find casual comfort basics to sports-luxe clothing and a few playful summer playsuits thrown in for fun. The more elegant slips and dresses are versatile and can be dressed up or down depending on the occasion. It’s not a store for wallflowers — think statement silk shirts from Equipment, J Brand lambskin leather pants and zebra-print drawstring pants (perfect for a Paddington Markets run on a Saturday).

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Love where you live and shop small to support the local stores that make Sydney so great. To learn about American Express and the Shop Small initiative, visit here. Then, head this way to find more must-visit spots around the eastern suburbs.

Top image: Destination NSW.

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