Review: Designer shopping tours in Melbourne offer a dose of retail therapy with a personal stylist

While a stylist is regarded as de rigueur for celebs, many of us mere mortals are now turning to a professional to help transform our weary wardrobes. This Melbourne designer shopping tour with a personal stylist will help you get more from your time in Australia’s undisputed retail capital, and ensure you take home some amazing new looks. Review: Adam Ford

Designer shopping tours in Melbourne

Designer shopping tours in Melbourne

4.5 stars

Designer shopping tours in Melbourne with Melbourne Shopping Experiences

These designer shopping tours in Melbourne give you the opportunity to explore the city’s diverse retail scene with a personal stylist. The tour can accommodate up to four guests for the one set price, including hotel pick-up and drop-off. Visit a selection of boutiques and shopping precincts and pick up plenty of style tips and tricks along the way. Duration: 4 hours (approx.)

Ask any dedicated Melbourne fashionista worth their salted caramel donut and they’ll tell you it’s all about layers in this town.

And that’s not just to counter Melbourne’s notoriously feisty ‘four seasons in one day’. Layers add texture and tone to an outfit, allowing the wearer to combine different and contrasting elements into one ‘I just threw all this on’ ensemble. I know that and I’m just a Melbourne bloke. Imagine what the Melbourne ladies could tell you!

Well, now you can learn from the best, thanks to Melbourne Shopping Experiences. Well known for their popular outlet shopping tour, the company has recently launched private designer shopping tours in Melbourne with the expert guidance of a professional stylist.

Shopping tours in Melbourne

Designer shopping tours in Melbourne. Image courtesy of Melbourne Shopping Experiences

To find out more, I catch up with owner Jess Lothian and head stylist Simone Thorpe over a latte at Code Black in the hip backstreets of Brunswick, north of the city. It’s just one of Melbourne’s happy hunting grounds for those in search of the hottest looks. But it’s not a spot your average tourist would be likely to stumble across. Which beings me back to layers.

While shopping is high on the holiday to do list for many visitors to Melbourne, it comes as a bit of a shock to many to discover just how layered the retail scene is. ‘It’s so diverse’, says Simone. ‘There is so much going on, in so many different areas across the city. Hawksburn Village, Malvern and Toorak for high-end independent designers; Brunswick and Fitzroy for eclectic streetwear; Windsor for shabby chic and up-cycled looks. But that’s just the beginning. Village shopping strips like Yarraville and Williamstown are alive and well too.’

It’s Simone’s job to take the uninitiated and give them an introduction to this retail landscape on these new designer shopping tours in Melbourne. The day is tailored specifically to the client’s wishes. From hip hop to high couture, you’ll be matched up with a professional stylist proficient in your chosen look, and escorted around a handpicked selection of boutiques and salons.

‘It’s important to note that this experience is actually not all about the shopping,’ says Jess. ‘There’s no pressure to buy anything. We have no commercial arrangements in place with any of the stores we visit. A key part of this experience is simply spending time with your stylist, getting advice and feedback on what works for you and what doesn’t. And if you do find something you love along the way, that’s a bonus. But you’ll take away much more than that from our tour.’

These designer shopping tours in Melbourne start well before the actual day. ‘We contact each guest prior to the tour to find out what they’re interested in’, says Jess. ‘Then Simone matches up a stylist, who will start putting the itinerary together.’

Designer shopping tours in Melbourne

Designer shopping tours in Melbourne: Visit independent boutiques around the city.

On the day, the guests are picked up from their hotel and the fun begins.

‘We’ll visit a variety of stores’, says Simone. ‘Generally we steer clear of the city, big shopping centres and outlets unless someone requests it. But the truth is you’ll get a much more personal, interesting and rewarding experience away from the malls and out in small independent stores and boutiques, which offer personally curated collections rather than mass-produced lines.’

There are lots of small surprises in store (literally) for guests on these designer shopping tours in Melbourne, such as chocolates and designer tea. Says Jess: ‘Many of the boutiques and fashion houses we visit regularly have come on board with small treats to makes the day even more special. But again, there’s absolutely no expectation to buy.’

Designer shopping tours in Melbourne

Designer shopping tours in Melbourne. Image courtesy of Melbourne Shopping Experiences

It all sounds like retail nirvana and I’m sorry I don’t have the time to hit the high street with Simone myself. But I do take the opportunity get a few tips to take away.

‘The rules are there are no rules. It’s about how a particular piece makes you feel. Step out of your comfort zone, experiment with different looks and find out what makes you feel good. Have fun.’

On that note I take my leave, layering up in my coat and scarf. This is Melbourne after all.

Additional images: Bigstock


Adam Ford

About the writer

Adam Ford is editor of The Big Bus tour and travel guide and a travel TV presenter, writer, blogger and photographer. Adam has travelled extensively through Australia, Europe, Asia, North America, parts of South America, Africa and the Middle East. He worked as a travel consultant for a number of years with Flight Centre before taking up the opportunity to travel the world himself as host of the Tour the World travel TV series on Network Ten. Adam also appears regularly as a travel commentator on Sky News Business Class and Talking Lifestyle. He loves to experience everything a new destination has to offer and is equally at home in a five-star Palazzo in Pisa or a home-stay in Hoi An.

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