Time Out Melbourne

Stuck for ideas? Even Santa couldn't fault this shopping guide – we've matched Melbourne's best stores to four personality types

The tastemaker

They're the most difficult to buy for, hands down. Never giving away the secrets to their edgy style, tastemakers favour limited-edition pieces by local designers and one-off vintage finds. They don't follow the rules of fashion; they write them as they go.

Lucy Folk Jewellery
“When I’m walking down the street and I’m wearing a big gold corn chip, people ask, ‘Oh my god, is that a talisman?’ I’m like, ‘No, it’s a corn chip’.” We chat to Lucy Folk – maker of quirky jewellery that's good enough to eat.

Distal Phalanx
Danielle Plaisted's tiny boutique showcases cutting-edge underground designer labels from around the world, including outrageous creations from Melbourne duo Di$count Univer$e (of which Ms Cyrus is a noted fan).

SO:ME Space
In the heart of South Melbourne Market is a mini design market that rotates a selection of local designers. At the moment you’ll find spindly gold necklaces, leather sandals, colourful socks, and lots more.

Third Drawer Down
A tea towel blurting LARGE FANCY ROOM FILLED WITH CRAP in colourful letters embodies the cheeky sense of fun and disregard for the overly that has earned this objets d'art emporium a cult following.

Heide Museum of Modern Art
Score some serious brownie points by giving a one-off (suprisingly affordable) treasure by one of the artists featured in Bulleen's art gallery, including a plywood rainbow clock by Melbourne artist Emily Floyd.

The connoisseur

Why settle for less than the best? You agree with this in theory, but being a connoisseur is a way of life. High-end doesn't have to mean haughty, and your fancy friend has a sharp (and unforgiving) eye for style.

Búl
Muses come in many forms, and Melbourne fashion designer Virginia Martin’s is the ocean. Her latest collection evokes the Danish coastline – blue boxy organza tops, simple white collared shirts and and maxi dresses.

Simon Johnson: Fitzroy
The Australian-owned provedore may be harsh on the hip pocket, but is unrivalled in its range of epicurean accoutrements. Their hampers are better value, and a discerning food-lover’s dream.

Pickings and Parry
Gift your dapper gentleman friend with a high quality old-school manly accessory: we're talking military-style cotton undershirts, tweed caps, motoring goggles, leather stationary sets and JS Sloane beard oil.

Embiggen Books
Help your connoisseur friend feed their esoteric interests at Embiggen: a bookshop that stocks a swoon-worthy range of art tomes, niche fiction and non-fiction. Don't forget to have a go on the sliding wooden library ladder.

Clara Fox
Stately Ms Fox specialises in ladies’ fashion from the ’20s to the ’80s. From swishy Grace Kelly dresses to silky Audrey Hepburn gloves, this is delicate, high-end fashion that will stun even the most dedicated vintage enthusiast.

The Earth warrior

They're constantly on the lookout for all that is ethically produced and biodegradable. Discovering a new brand of vegan chocolate makes their day. 'Hippie' is such a loaded word – the Earth warrior is just trying to lighten Mother Nature's burden.

Cruelty Free Shop
"It's not even arguable: Melbourne is the vegan capital of Australia," says founder Jessica Bailey. Watch your vegan friend's face light up with high-end vegan chocolate, leather-free bags, cookbooks and beauty products.

Bee Sustainable
Robert Redpath's buzzing boutique is the obvious gift destination for urban beekeepers, but it's also full of grain mils, cheese-making sets, food dehydrators and delicious, golden honey.

Post Industrial Design
The polar opposite to flat-packed furniture mega-stores is Post Industrial Design: a place where abandoned objects are transformed into one-off cabinets, hat stands and cute, sustainable gifts.

Eclectico
One of St Kilda's original hippie stores, Eclectico is home to ethically sourced clothing, authentic jewellery from Nepal, India and Cuba, as well as an impressive collection of soul, jazz and world music on CD and vinyl.

Melissa
Did you know that the cute, glossy, bubblegum-scented ladies' shoes at Melissa are made from cruelty-free, non-toxic, biodegradable PVC? Now you do – and soon, your Earth warrior friend will, too.

The bargain hunter

A true bargain hunter knows that paying full price is for chumps, but don't make the mistake of thinking that they're not after quality. Gift your thrifty friend with something from one of these great discount stores and prepare to be high-fived.

New York Groove
The secrets of New York’s high fashion world are tightly kept (to say the least) but Melbourne retail whiz Claudia has infiltrated the ranks, bringing choice pieces from some of NY's most elite brands to Moonee Ponds.

Clear iT
The bottom floor is packed with Alannah Hill frocks that are often reduced by hundreds of dollars, and upstairs is a huge selection of ridiculously reduced alt-fashion threads by Dangerfield and Princess Highway.

Das T-Shirt Automat: Prahran
Sling these friendly staff members a USB and watch them use fancy textile ink spraying technology to create your personalised T-shirt, hoodie, tote or onesie. The possibilities here are endless and T-shirts start from $35.

Daiso: QV Building
There are so many reasons to visit this Japanese discount variety chain. Authentic Japanese products you can’t find anywhere else. Adorable patterned crockery. Retro posters of glazed ham ads. And all for $2.80!

Camberwell Sunday Market
With over 370 stalls of bric-a-brac, homewares, furniture, vinyl and vintage, you'll find something special for a lot less here. Over half the space is rented by casual stallholders, meaning it's entirely different every week.

First published on . Updated on .

By Rose Johnstone   |  
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