Retail Review: Department of the Exterior | HerCanberra

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Retail Review: Department of the Exterior

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We had a great response to my first Retail Review – and what emerged was that readers would love to know more about some of the local boutiques that are perhaps not-so-well known.

Well, ask and you shall receive!

Today, I cast my eye over Manuka’s Department of the Exterior.


Susan Taylor’s passion for contemporary fashion and innovative design led to Susan leaving a career in law and opening the Department of the Exterior in Manuka 8½ years ago. Others may have come and gone but Susan’s keen eye for new and emerging talent and understanding the needs (and desires) of her client’s means that she has a loyal customer base.

Department of the Exterior stocks Australian and New Zealand brands such as Mild Red, Obus, United Constructions, Elk and Laika. Canberra brands such as Eternal Safari, Sebastians’s Sister and My Mother & Me also feature.


Contemporary structured and conceptual pieces mixed with classic styles with a twist sourced from Australia and New Zealand.


Mostly creative and natural but those dramatics looking for unique pieces with an edge will be excited about what is in stock.


Warm soft colours but those seeking some cooler options won’t be disappointed.


Nancy Bird  – Terracotta Scarf Bag $250


My Mother and Me (Local Canberra Designer) – Vintage Silk Kimono Reversible Bolero $330


Maiocchi – Darling Buds Reversible Dress $325


 Elk – Bottolate Sandal in Senape $170


Department of the Exterior stocks sizes 8 to 16 with sizing tending to run larger.

In terms of shape there are both semi-fitted and relaxed styles that will suit all shapes from hourglasses to rectangles.


Prices mostly range from $200 – $400, with T-shirts starting at $50 and coats at $600.


Each item in the store is hand picked by Susan not only because of its visual appeal but because of its versatility. There are wonderful surprises such as the reversible dress and bolero featured above. I also love that many pieces have a story, making them unique. It makes you feel like you are making an investment rather than just buying something to wear.


Pieces are limited, so if you love an item you need to get in quick. This adds to the appeal of Department of the Exterior as you know that there will only be a handful of people wearing the same garment. Yes, a dress will cost you in the region of $300 but so do many dresses from high street stores that are often mass-produced overseas.


New stock arrives every week but get in quick, fabulous pieces move quickly.

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