New2U Thrift Shop
Despite the ‘cosy’ look and feel of this tiny shop, it is by far the best thrift shop in Singapore. Not only can you score a designer piece for less than $50 – I recently picked up a Chloé silk blouse for $35 – and spot on-trend jumpsuits for less than $10, but you can do your conscience a favour too. The place is run by the Singapore’s Council of Women’s Organisations (SCWO), to which all the profits go. Every day has special sales, with the items of the day going for as little as $1 – like T-shirt Mondays, Skirt/Trousers Wednesdays and Shoes Thursdays. Give yourself a good chunk of time to get a proper rummage – there are always bargains to be had. 96 Waterloo St (www.scwo.org.sg). MRT: Bras Basah. Mon-Fri 10.30am-2.30pm.
The Editor’s Market
The most updated and fashionable of all blogshop-type stores, The Editor’s Market is all kinds of win. It’s basically Topshop meets Zara, but for a fraction of the price. The extra win comes if you go with a group of girlfriends, as the price goes down when you buy more stuff. Cute floral shift dresses go for $39 if you buy one piece, and down to $26 if you buy six pieces, or $20 if you buy 15! And if you’ve paid half the original price for a cute dress, you’ll have saved enough cash to buy your better half something nice too (okay, just kidding – go buy yourself that second outfit). #03-06A Cineleisure Orchard and #04-08/09 Orchard Central (www.theeditorsmarket.com). MRT: Somerset. Sun-Thu noon-10pm; Fri-Sat noon-1am.
If you’re in tune with the latest trends, you probably know that next season’s must-have item is Indian-inspired accessories. But not everybody can afford the Chanel Paris-Bombay collection or the real gold versions. This is where Mustafa, the 24-hour department store-cum-supermarket comes in handy, for they stock some super-cool Indian accessories for a bargain. From sparkly bangles to gold-plated necklaces, there’s a huge range of them here on the first floor, where prices start at around $28 for the cheapest necklace and go up to around $240 as the quality of material and stones improves. This is also where you can find the best deals in town on trendy sunglasses (brands like Guess, Hugo Boss, Versus, Police and Ray-Ban start at $130 a pop) and watch collections, where prices start at $100 for a trendy plastic Lacoste watch and up to $4,000 if you’re looking for top-of-the-range Longines wrist candy. 145 Syed Alwi Rd (www.mustafa.com.sg). MRT: Farrer Park. Daily 24 hours.
Forget the touristy knick-knacks on the ground floor of this super-crowded indoor market and head straight up the escalators to levels two and three. If you’re a fan of bling, check Jiao Dian Collection stall on Level 2 (just on the right of the escalators as you go up) for some pricey-looking Swarovski-esque rings and earrings starting at $20. If you like vintage-inspired T-shirts, don’t miss CL Collection (Level 3), which stocks them for both men and women, starting at $18. For fashion and handbags, check Posh: Place for Shopaholics (just across from CL) where a Chanel-inspired quilted bag goes for $22. Cool, comfortable unisex footwear (especially tribal-inspired foot candy) can be found at Jetsetters (Level 3, #99/100) for between $15 and $42. 4 New Bugis St. MRT: Bugis. Daily 10am-10pm.
Far East Plaza
This mall is probably the most famous bargain destination of all. Apart from the shops selling ‘designer’ stuff for a fraction of the price (they are mostly knock-offs imported from China), the place is also home to little boutiques which stock cool South Korean and Hong Kong labels. Head straight to the third and fourth levels (for some reason the best stuff at malls is generally nearer the top). The best of the lot are alt .ive (#03-47), Episode1 (#03-101), Myth (#03-48a), Neutral Plus (#03-49), Izzue (#03-138b) and Eleventh (#04-50), where prices range from $49 for an interesting top up to $169 for a well-made, bang-on-trend neon dress. If you’re willing to spend a little more, check out Toilette Boutique (#04-18) and 2cm (#04-21), which stock cool avant-garde Thai labels like Wonder Anatomie, famous for its futuristic neon accessories – including the paper and plastic versions of the famous Hermès Birkin bag, starting at $229! 14 Scotts Rd. MRT: Orchard. Daily 10am-10pm.
The Blog Shop
This place on Haji Lane sends my Asian quirk-o-meter off the radar. Even if you’re not in the mood for retail therapy, The Blog Shop is a great place to wander around and browse. Whether it is a dress (mostly it’s fixed sizes here) or a charming little accessory, the place is a hive of low-end individuality, and will only set you back up to $35. Most of the goodies are put together by young local designers who might be hit and miss, but definitely deserve your support. Topshop makes enough money as it is. 35 Haji Ln (6396 6170, www.theblogshop.sg). MRT: Bugis. Mon-Fri 1-9pm; Sat & Sun noon-10pm.