Monday, 25 January 2016

New Zealand Shopping & Dress-Smart Outlet, Auckland

A small, but satisfying haul
I was mentally prepared to return from New Zealand without doing any shopping.  It is commonly known that New Zealand isn’t exactly a shoppers’ paradise.  Most of my friends living in New Zealand still make most of their fashion-related purchases in Malaysia when they return for holidays.  But what is a holiday without any shopping? 


Since I had visited New Zealand as part of a tour group, I hardly had any time to explore the local shops. The daily itinerary was jam-packed with activities and the shops were closed by the time we returned to the town or city we were staying for the night.  I didn’t even have the chance to visit a supermarket until the seventh day of the tour! 

As luck would have it, I was in Rotorua on a Thursday, which is the only day of the week that shops open till late in New Zealand (and Australia).  I headed off to Farmers, a department store, but found nothing although they were having a sale.  I bought electric toothbrush heads for NZD34 since I couldn’t find them anywhere in KL.  Surprise, surprise, I found packs of two brush heads in Guardian in KL for MYR39.90 after I got back. 

Stella McCartney bras - Marguerite Riding (top), Lara Stripping (bottom)
At the nearby Rotorua Central Mall, I found a Bendon Outlet and a Life Pharmacy.  I am familiar with Bendon lingerie from my time spent in Australia so when I spotted the signs “Nothing above $20”, I decided I would take a look.  There were several brands there but the ones I was most interested in were Heidi Klum Intimates, Pleasure State and…..Stella McCartney!  I bought two Stella McCartney bras for NZD20 (about MYR60) each.  I never dreamed that I could ever buy Stella McCartney bras.  A note to those interested in buying Stella McCartney lingerie – the cup sizes are smaller than normal so you may have to size up. By the way, I just realised that the names given to the bras are pretty risqué…....

The last city I visited in New Zealand was Auckland.  Feeling restless and annoyed at the tour itinerary that only started at 11am, I skipped the day’s program to go to Dress-Smart Onehunga (pronounced Oh-nee-hung-ga), a factory outlet about 30 minutes away from Auckland CBD.  I went there by train from Britomart Transport Centre and back by bus.  Each way cost NZD5 but the outlet has a free shuttle in the CBD that I didn’t manage to catch. 

Dress-Smart isn’t huge and doesn’t have many (or any) designer outlets.  Most of the outlets are mid-priced outlets.  The layout of the building is quite confusing and I found it hard to locate the exits.  There were lots of people shopping when I was there as it was a Sunday.  I will briefly review the outlets that I went to.  I didn’t manage to take many photographs as I was too busy shopping.

Country Road
Country Road utility pants
My first stop, naturally, was Country Road.  I have an undying affection for this Aussie brand.  I like their quality clothing and classic designs.  And I have fond memories of their enormous outlet at Homebush DFO in Sydney.  Unfortunately, the Country Road outlet at Dress-Smart was quite small.  There was only an additional discount for children’s clothing.  Merchandise mostly consisted of winter clothing.  There were also clothes and shoes from Trenery, which is another label belonging to Country Road.  I didn’t see any Witchery or Mimco stuff, which was a pity (both are now owned by Country Road).  Prices were reasonable, mostly less than NZD100.  There were some nice leather shoes and boots but mostly in larger sizes.  I bought a pair of navy blue utility pants for NZD9.90 (originally NZD149) so I was really happy.  The pink pair shown above belongs to my mother. 

Pumpkin Patch
I love Pumpkin Patch although I can’t wear them.  They have the cutest and apparently the most comfortable children’s clothes.  I remember my brother’s Pumpkin Patch long pants which he wore until they became shorts.  He was so upset when he found out that my mother had turned them into floor rags that my mother allowed him to continue wearing them!   

Anyway, Pumpkin Patch was having a really good sale.  Everything was at a flat price of NZD10 or NZD15. The outlet was quite big and had clothes for newborns to teenagers. 

Bonds Outlet

Bonds Australia t-shirts in grey and black
Bonds is another Aussie favourite, which means that it is deeply ingrained in my memory.  Bonds’ underwear and vests are insanely popular in Australia.  I bought two basic short-sleeve t-shirts in grey and black for NZD10 each.  They are 100% cotton and very comfy. 

Bendon Outlet
I was hoping to snag more Stella McCartney bras but alas, I had no such luck.  The selection of Stella McCartney bras was much smaller here compared to the outlet in Rotorua although the shops are around the same size.  The outlet in Onehunga was really busy.

De Cjuba



I was delighted to see De Cjuba.  It’s been a long time since I last saw the stylish, cool label in Sydney.  There was a very good sale going on at De Cjuba.  There were lambswool long-sleeve tops going for NZD30, various accessories from NZD10 and all dresses were NZD60.  I saw some leather tops and jackets too.  I bought this pink leather bolt cuff for NZD10. I’m currently obsessed with finding bangles to stack with it. 

Forever New
Forever New reversible tote - I prefer the snakeskin print to be on the exterior
Forever New is a relatively new Australian label, which means that I haven’t been brainwashed to love it.  I do come across Forever New dresses at the thrift shops and I have always found that the fabric is good and the designs very feminine and pretty.  Once, when I was in Singapore, a mutual friend brought me to the Forever New boutique to admire the dresses.  I was shocked that the prices were so high and resolved to find more at the thrift shops. 


I’m pleased to report that the Forever New outlet was very large, had a lot of merchandise and was reasonably priced!  There was an additional discount of 25% when I visited.  The silver evening bag was NZD15 and the reversible tote bag was NZD22. 

Health & Beauty Outlet
We bought a lot of supplements at this outlet.  Prices were considerably cheaper than normal pharmacies that we went to. 

Overall, I was pleased that I managed to visit Dress-Smart.  I could have bought more things if I had more energy to try on clothes.  I can see why people said that there was nothing to buy there.  People who are unfamiliar with Australian/New Zealand brands might not know which shops to target. If you are one of those people, you can refer to my list above.

Until next time, happy shopping!

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