Fashionistas usually flock to Orchard Road to get their trendy frocks but that’s also the perfect place to empty your wallets in a split second. It’s what you pay for trying to be a trendsetter, no? Come on people, you should have more originality than that. Yes, Singapore might be a small island but there are other places you can go to get your stylish fix and not hurt your wallet as much. I believe you are expecting me to unveil a brand new shopper’s paradise eh? Here’s a clue, it’s all at ‘Bugis’.

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Don’t be shocked; have you seen the entire area? Located around the Bras Basah and City hall area, Bugis has changed a lot and so has their ‘night market’. Formerly known as Bugis Village, the current Bugis Street situated opposite Parco Bugis Junction has recently undergone a makeover. It is now much spacious and has a show-stopping signboard with the words “Bugis Street” spelt out in bright lights. Talk about being flamboyant! But I liked it nonetheless; at least they know how to draw in the crowds.

Bugis Street might be all spruced up but that isn’t the main draw – there’s a secret that lies in the midst of this back-to-basics, non air-conditioned shopping haunt. What in the world am I talking about? Well let’s just say that I’ve uncovered a gem that not many people know about and it’s at the second level of Bugis Street.

I’m not pulling your leg; there is a second level to this bargain hunting paradise. It’s called “2nd Level”. Doesn’t sound really original eh? But you’ll be pleased to uncover what wares they have to sell to you. Specially added to attract both youths and fashionable people, this additional level beholds some of the most interesting and value-for-money deals. Now that’s where I come in and give you a lowdown on which shops you have to check out. Go ahead, shop till you drop and satisfy the shopping whore in you.

Fresh Profusion (FSL 18)

If you’re looking for unique and loud accessories, this is the place for you. Think bold, colourful and trendy. Opened since April this year, Fresh Profusion replenishes stocks on a monthly basis so there will always be fresh accessories for you to indulge in. Their earrings are a sight to behold – I loved their candy-like studs. They also have some cool retro-looking earrings that look so pretty! Their studs cost $2.90 a pair and $5 for two pairs. Fancy something more dangly? Get those funky hoops or dangly earrings for $3.90, two pairs for $6.90 or $9.90 for three pairs. Now you’ll be able to mix and match your accessories with your outfit. They also sell some of the most interesting bags I’ve ever seen – they’re made out of woven cargo plastic and comes in assorted colours.

Psychic Fish in Bugis

Psychic Fish (02-01R)

Don’t ask me if the owner of this über funky shop is psychic or not; I really don’t know. But what I do know is that this place has some very interesting bags. Do you love eating Oreo cookies or getting drunk on Absolut Vodka? Then you have to check out their Oreo and Absolut printed bags that are selling at about $20 each. My most favourite is the Absolut Marilyn bag. Don’t fancy such bags? Check out their ‘double worded’ tops. I’m not kidding about these tops – from the front, they appear to spell a certain word but if you look at your mirror image, you’ll find that it says something else. Go figure. I suggest you check that out for yourself. Other favourites of mine include the waxed yarn bracelets that come in a variety of colours. They stand out and would match any coloured top. Those bracelets are going at $8 each and $12 for two.

Toy Zenz store

Toy Zenz (CSL8)

Not really an accessories person? Then you have to check out the toys that are displayed at Toy Zenz. What caught my eye were the miniature food items such as a stove, a biscuit tin and a tiny weeny cup of coffee. How cool is that? There are also robot figures and anime girls on sale for those who are into collecting figurines. Bruce Lee fans should look out for the figurines of the legendary martial arts expert. A full set of him in four different poses costs about $65.

Coolbag Talk in Bugis

Coolbag Talk (CSLA 12)

Most people make an effort to match their shoes with their various outfits but for me, it’s the bag that does it. If you’re looking for bags that are different from the typical leather totes the likes of Louis Vuitton and if you’re on a tight budget, then you have to come to this shop. All their bags are handmade and imported from China. Mostly made from straw, the cheapest bags cost only $12 and if you want one with a more elaborate design, then it would put you back by only $22. My personal favourite is the colourful roly poly bag with straw circles woven all round the bag.

The Cute Things Bugis

The Cute Things (CSL 10)

Am I correct to assume that most of you won’t be caught dead wearing those granny knickers worn by Bridget Jones in Bridget Jones’ Diary? That’s good to hear because I have to recommend this shop for selling some of the most refreshing and adorable looking underwear. The Cute Things will definitely cater to your girly needs. The underwear they sell are printed with various cartoons such as Hello Kitty and they even have those printed with ‘branded’ logos such as Adidas, Puma and Dior. Best yet are their prices – three for $10. They’ll throw in one free for every $20 purchase. There’s an opening sale going on and they are selling their underwear at five for $10. Go grab some cool-looking undies now!

Dog’s Hideout Bugis

Dog’s Hideout (CSL A16)

Yea, I’m sure most of you know that dogs are supposedly man’s best friend. I don’t know how true is that because I’m a cat-lover but then again, that’s just me. If you’re a dog lover or a dog fanatic, then Dogs’ Hideout is the place for you. This sweet little outfit sells the most adorable dog items from doggie mugs ($14), to doggie ashtrays ($10.50) and a mini doggie clothes rack ($6). Understandably, the owners are dog lovers themselves and this shop is only about a month old. Hang out at this place long enough and you might just want to buy everything that they sell! Their merchandise are seriously all doggie themed and as cute as can be.

Code – Complex Identity

Guys looking for trendy outfits can check this shop out. They sell some rather urban looking shirts and pants that might just as well make you look oh-so-suave. Most of the shirts come in eclectic patterns that would make you stand out from the typical T-shirt and jeans kind of slack-wear. You want to impress that hot chick don’t you? So here’s my advice, go get some clothes that’ll make you out to be a hottie. Like they say, it’s the clothes that maketh the man! No kidding there buddy. Trust me, even if you haven’t tried dressing up; it’s never too late to start now. Don’t want to be a bachelor all your life, no?

Bugis Tattoo Studio

Tattoo (CSL 1)

Dying to stand out from the rest? Then why not get a tattoo while you’re at it. It’ll definitely mark you out from the crowd for sure. Just be certain that the design you pick is one that you wouldn’t mind looking at for the rest of your life. One word of advice, please don’t tattoo your girlfriend’s name, you wouldn’t want to have to laser it off the next time you change partners. Tattoos are a permanent fixture so be sure you really want one. It’s no use being fickle when it comes to injecting ink in your skin. Call +65 9003 9868 to book an appointment.

Cheeky Garden, Bugis Cafe

Bugis Cafe

All that shopping and walking around definitely makes one hungry and here’s the perfect place for you to chill out, grab a bite and take a sip. This cafe offers some great value-for-money set meals. Try their fish and chips set; it comes with a soup and a soft drink. Sandwich lovers might want to try their tuna deck; you have a choice of having your tuna mayonnaise filling on some white, wholemeal, ciabatta, baguette or foccacia bread. Want a quick bite? Get their nuts and raisin muffin or seafood pie.

Folks Leaf (CSL 20)

If you’re feeling kind of folksy and love nature, you might want to check out this upcoming shop that goes by the name of Folks Leaf. Most of their jewelry and other accessories are handmade, some of which are beautifully handpainted. The designs are mostly inspired by nature, thus the flowery designs. It opens on the 15 October 2005. Contact Jaren at 91503293 or for more details.

All shops featured here are located at 2nd Level, 2 New Bugis Street, directly opposite Parco Bugis Junction.

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