A Very Short Guide To Shopping in Wellington

“Ms Darling,

Next weekend I am off to Wellington for the first time ever. As well as joining you for afternoon tea, I plan on celebrating my trip with a pair of far-too-expensive jeans (and possibly a fantastic new coat). I know nothing about the stores in Wellington however. What are some shops you would recommend for a girl after her designer-fix?”

Before I respond, let it be known that I haven’t set foot in Wellington for over a year, so it is quite possible that a multitude of new places have sprung up. However, I have the utmost faith in the Wellingtonians who read this, & I am sure they will be able to provide you with a lot of help in the comments!

My best denim experiences — which have bordered on the religious — have always happened at Area 51, on the corner of Dixon St & Cuba Mall. From my knowledge, they have a wide selection of stock & sizes. My faaaaaaavourite pair of jeans, by Sass & Bide, were purchased there.

My advice when it comes to buying jeans — if you need it — is to always buy good quality. I once purchased a pair of Lee jeans (ugh, I rue the day), which fit like a glove when I bought them. However, after a couple of months they had stretched so much that they looked ridiculous. I threw them away. You really do get what you pay for, so (unfortunately) I would always advise you to spend as much as you can on denim. (The good stuff lasts forever.)

I have to admit that most of my wardrobe was bought in Wellington. I grew up there (18 years of hard time!) & I visit (read: shop there) regularly. My absolute favourite shops are: Starfish (128 Willis Street), World (98 Victoria Street), Workshop (Corner Customhouse Quay & Hunter Street) & Ricochet (Old Bank Arcade). Their staff are fantastic, the clothing is exceptional (both in quality & design), & you will always, always be pleased by your purchase. I cannot recommend these places highly enough.

Kirkcaldie & Stains, often referred to as Kirks, is on Lambton Quay & is Wellington’s only department store these days (I miss the days of James Smiths!). They have a M.A.C. counter (hooray!), as well as a good selection of hosiery & underwear.

You’ll also find Frutti & Spacesuit on Cuba Street, & they’re worth checking out. They often have interesting stock but the quality can be very hit-or-miss, so make sure you’re paying what it’s worth. If you’re after strange secondhand pieces, spend some time browsing the racks at Ziggurat & Hunters & Collectors (both on Cuba Street).

If you want something truly beautiful (& expensive), have a look in Scotties — 4 Blair Street — stockists of Issey Miyake, Comme Des Garcons, Yohji Yamamoto, Dries Van Noten etc.!

Other advice for Wellington:
Bring warm clothing (a hat, coat & scarf at the very least)
Make sure you sample the hundreds of cafes (my favourites were Fidel’s, Midnight Espresso & Espressoholic)
Beware the emo kids! ;>

Good luck with your shopping, & I’m looking forward to meeting you!