A Guide to Thrift and Vintage Shopping in Singapore

A Guide to Thrift and Vintage Shopping in Singapore

There has been a keen interest in thrift shopping recently and I’ve been asked multiple times where I go to thrift shop here in Singapore. I guess you can say I’m quite the pro now since I’ve been doing this for years now before thrift shopping was a thing.

“Why do you like to wear old clothes? Isn’t shopping at Thrift Shops for poor people? Won’t you look dated and out-of-trend?”

Oh honey, you’re missing out. Since I’ve been asked such questions countless of times before, I decided to write a comprehensive post all about Vintage and Thrift Shopping in Singapore.


How I Started Thrift and Vintage Shopping

I wish I can tell you that I decided to thrift shop because I wanted to save the earth or some noble deed but the truth was, I was broke. It began around 2015 when I left the beauty industry and went back to study. I worked a part-time job and barely had any money left after paying bills because I was earning so little. Shopping at Zara and H&M like I use to was out of the question. I even forgot how to dress myself since I haven’t shopped for a while due to living in my uniform for over 3 years. How can I find my sense of style while being broke as hell? I got the idea of looking for vintage pieces at thrift shops after reading #GirlBoss and it kind of spiralled. I enjoyed it so much that even when I no longer have to pinch for cash, I made visiting the thrift stores a priority over shopping at high street boutiques.

The Difference Between Thrift and Vintage Shopping

It’s important to note that thrifted clothes does not mean they are vintage. Thrifted just means that they have been used before whereas an item has to be made between 30 to 100 years ago to be considered vintage. Vintage pieces also often don’t come cheap as they can be collector pieces and you may not find it in production any more. But once in a while, you may get lucky and find vintage pieces at a bargain.

Why I Thrift and Vintage Shop

A Guide to Thrift and Vintage Shopping in Singapore

This ‘Granny Top’ was one of my first vintage scores from a thrift shop. I paired it with my 1960s road runner brooch from Dustbunny Vintage.

Money Saving

Vintage clothing may be pricey but if you consider cost-per-wear and especially it’s material, it can definitely last you longer than your fast fashion clothes with proper care. Whereas, at thrift stores, you can find clothes as low as $4.

Unique and One-A-Kind Pieces

What I love the most about shopping at Thrift Shops if that you can build your own style without being influenced by shop displays and the current trends. Some of my most fabulous statement pieces are pre-loved and thrifted. On a few occasions, I found hand sewn dresses. Vintage pieces are almost guaranteed one-of-kind even in stores; you will never bump into anyone with the same dress, coat, jewellery or bag ever.

Save the Environment

Wearing vintage and thrifting is definitely more environmentally friendly than buying clothes from fast fashion websites as you are upcycling and not contributing to discarded garment made in materials that can’t breakdown and left in the environment where wild animals mistake for food or shelter and die. I feel less guilty wearing clothes that are thrifted and vintage.


What to Know While Thrift Shopping

A Guide to Thrift and Vintage Shopping in Singapore

This vintage belt I scored from a thrift shop gives me Mad Men vibes every time.

Know What’s Valuable and What’s Junk

There are replica brands and Shein clothes and I avoid them. Other than that, I will give the garment a chance by seeing if it’s a design I will wear, whether it has any stains and what material it is made of. And yes, with luck, you can find high end pieces at dirt cheap prices but don’t expect Chanel and Louis Vuitton (brands that everyone knows). I’ve found a Balenciaga shirt, a Versace H&M dress, a Stella McCartney Adidas Sports Top and a Giambattista Valli heels years ago, it’s harder to find them now at low prices now though. My best advice is to study brands, materials and styles that you fancy; it’s history and how they make their clothes. I’ve had my fashion education as a teenager from Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, HerWorld and Cleo magazines, have a natural love for history and learning where things come from and used those skills to become a savvy shopper.

Know Your Dimensions

This is crucial as most Thrift Shops do have changing rooms but it’s usually just a curtain and a mirror which I’m not too comfortable getting undressed in. It’s best that you know your chest, waist and hip size or bring a measuring tape if you need.

Buy What You Will Really Use

Don’t get tempted by the price or the brand, no matter how cheap it is, there is no point of getting it if it’s not something you can fit or that you will not wear. Don’t buy on impulse, take your time to try it on and think if it can go together with your other clothes. It’s ok if you don’t find anything today, you’ll find something some other day.

Check the Labels

I always check the labels first when I browse in the thrift store. It gives me the idea of the brand, where it’s made, the size, the material and, depending on how worn out the label is, the condition and number of wear of the garment. If I like what I see on the label, then I will look at the design and check for any damage.

Go to Stores that You Trust

I tend to frequent the same thrift stores as I’m already comfortable with the place and I have a rough idea of kind of garments they bring in and their sales days.

Save More and Shop on Sales Days

I try to schedule my visits during Sales Days so I can get the best deals. Some Thrift Stores have half-price days or annual pre-loved luxury brand sales. If you’re a regular, the volunteers will also give you inside scoop of new value-for-money garments that just came in and any upcoming sales beforehand.

A Guide to Thrift and Vintage Shopping in Singapore

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What to Bring While Thrifting

  • A big Shopping Bag as carriers are limited.
  • A measuring tape (if you need).
  • Clothes that are easy to slip on and off.
  • A water bottle to hydrate as it may take a while.
  • Cash (for some thrift shops as they don’t accept cards).

Where to Thrift and Vintage Shop in Singapore

A Guide to Thrift and Vintage Shopping in Singapore

Photo from Vestiaire Collective.

Dustbunny Vintage


Dustbunny Vintage, 2-A Keong Saik Road, Singapore 089110
Tel: +65 6222 0116

Opening Hours:
1230 – 2030 (Mon-Fri)
1300 – 1900 (Sat)

(Closed on Sundays)



Vintagewknd, First Centre, 50 Serangoon North Ave 4, #08-08, Singapore 555856
Tel: +65 8952 6851

Opening Hours:
1400 – 2100 (Sat-Sun)

Super Wasted, 16 Haji Lane, Singapore 189209
Tel: +65 8952 6851

Opening Hours:
1200 – 2100 (Tue-Sun)



Refash, Plaza Singapura, 68 Orchard Road, #03-41, Singapore 238839

Opening Hours:
1130 – 2130 (Daily)

Refash, Northpoint City, 390 Yishun Ave 2, #02-156/157, Singapore 769098

Opening Hours:
1200 – 2100 (Daily)

Refash, Eastpoint Mall, 3 Simei Street 6, #01-K10, Singapore 528833

Opening Hours:
1100 – 2100 (Daily)



New2U Thrift Shop, 96 Waterloo Street, Singapore 187967
Tel: +65 6837 0611

Opening Hours:
1030 – 1430 (Mon-Fri)
1030 – 1430 (Last Sunday of the month)

(Closed on Weekends and Public Holidays)

Vestiaire Collective


Vestiaire Collective

Register to Vestiaire Collective and get S$40 OFF your purchase.

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Isabelle is the blogger behind Love Bella Vida, a Singapore Lifestyle Blog covering reviews, guides and her personal journey.

About Isabelle

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