Christmas with the Strand Arcade

As you all would know by now, I tend to travel more than most; and more often than not, it's a quick trip up to Sydney to meet some clients or visit my agency. All of this travelling tends to be pretty frenetic, however on the off chance that I happen to have some time to myself, I tend to find myself gravitating back towards the same quirky little locations in Sydney. Hyde Park, Seven Shillings Beach or if it is shopping – The Strand Arcade. 

Built-in 1892 by English architect John Spencer, the Strand Arcade was the pinnacle of Victorian architecture. Meticulously designed to take into account the harsh Australian climate, Spencer ensured that the Strand arcade was both a thing of beauty as well as functionality.  Aptly described as: "The finest public thoroughfare in the Australian colonies." Nestled between Pitt and George street in the heart of Sydney's bustling CBD the arcade hosts a myriad of  Sydney's most iconic shopfronts as well as a broad range of Australian and international designer fashion and specialty stores. 

In the leadup to Christmas, I have partnered up with The Strand Arcade to showcase my favourite finds and quirky gifts for the discerning gentleman from an afternoon spent at The Strand.

1:00 pm – Arrival | Destination: Gumpton Coffee

First up, a caffeine fix. No good decision was ever made feeling sluggish! I popped past Gumption for a quick espresso, then went on my way exploring what was on offer. 

Look 1: 
Watch: Timekeeper Boutique
Blazer: Suitshop
Shirt and Pants: Jac + Jack
Shoes: Joseph's Sydney 

2:15 pm – Shopping for an experience | Destination: Andrew McDonald Shoemaker
Andrew McDonald is one of my favourite hidden gems in the Strand Arcade. Everything in-store is designed, made, and finished in their workshop. How cool is that? Whatsmore, they offer a range of shoemaking courses which could be the perfect present for those who are a little more hands-on.

Look 2: 
Hat: Strand Hatters
Glasses: Perfect Vision Optical
Blazer: Suitshop
Shirt and Pants: Jac + Jack
Shoes: Andrew McDonald Shoemaker  

3:00 pm – Scenic Route | Destination: Upper Gallery
After popping past Diesel and Fred Perry, I changed into something more casual for the latter half of my shopping trip then headed up to the top floor for a quick pit-stop. From this vantage point, I could really take in all the Strand had to offer, the glazed glass ceiling, stunning roof trusses, carved cedar balustrades and beautifully tiled floors – all of which may easily be overlooked if one doesn't take the time to look. 

Look 3: 
Knit: Fred Perry
Jeans: Diesel
Shoes: Fred Perry

3:30 pm – Grooming Gifts | Destination: Mensbiz

After swanning around on the upper levels looking at the finest in men's fashion and leather goods. I ducked down to grooming specialist Mensbiz and begun my hunt for the ultimate grooming gift. Stocked with nothing but the finest of products, Mensbiz is the ultimate destination for finding a gift for the well-groomed man. Mensbiz also offers a range of grooming services should you be looking for a cut, beard trim or shave – all of which can be thrown on a gift card should you be unsure of what to get! 

4:00 pm – Departure | Destination: Home

After a few hours in The Arcade and stocked up with a wide array of Christmas gifts (many for myself) it's time to head to the Airport for my 6:00 PM departure back to Melbourne. Hopefully, I can still get on the plane with all of this carry-on!  

This article was a collaboration with The Strand Arcade and was shot by Chris Quyen.