On Shopping: London Styles

So I’m going to London. I’m not going to visit the Queen because she was just here. And I think she is an outmoded figurehead anyway (though—embarrassing admission—I did get up at 4am with the rest of my family to see Diana marry Charles and my gran sent me all of the English papers which I poured over. I was kind of underwhelmed by her dress and I thought her hair looked squashed, but I loved her shoes. I had a very critical fashion eye even as a pre-teen. And I liked seed pearls and heart shapes.).

But I digress. While I am going for work, I’m also going to squeeze in some fun (aka shopping). Where I live now is laughably free from good shopping options (Literally laughable, as in I had a huge guffaw over the advertising campaigns for summer tourism that touted the “great shopping” here. Yeah, great shopping if you’ve never heard of The Gap, though we did just get H&M. Teenagers wept with joy when it opened.).

Here are some places I am definitely going to hit up in Ole Blighty:

Marks & Spencer: for sundries, as noted below. We don’t need to go over that again.

Topshop: the one on Oxford St. because I love the bottom floor especially for the local designer duds.

Liberty’s: mostly just to punish myself, though the sales will be on but picked over. I love everything about the aesthetics of the shop, especially the staircases, though I really cannot afford to shop there. They still let me in though.

Selfridges: not as lovely as Liberty and I can’t afford Selfridges proper but they have that section with an omnibus of all the high street shops. Efficiency is key.

Bloch: for ballet flats.

Comptoir des Cottoniers: on the King’s Road, although French sizing is even more devastating than UK sizing.

Fortnum & Mason: for the smoky Earl Grey.

Spitalfield’s Market: Friday for fashion, I think, but Sunday is fun and insane.

Lamb’s Conduit: lovely street near where I used to live with pretty, independent boutiques and a bespoke tailor. I love the look of bolts of suiting fabric.

I hope I have time to fit in some research.

I’m considering flying over with an extra empty suitcase (I will also be buying a lot of books. For reals.). I covet this carry-on wheelie from Heys for its mod-ness but I already have a boring old grey one that is perfectly serviceable. Dammit.

Plus it’s sold out. Dammit.

Any further suggestions, Gentle Readers?

Where do you like to shop when you are in London leading your glamourous lives?

19 thoughts on “On Shopping: London Styles

  1. O Dorky, You MUST go shopping at Toast – lovely stylish English goodness and their sale is on now.(They have a website.Forewarned is forearmed.) And after you've struggled out of Topshop on Oxford Street, rush across the road to COS, the stylish, refined yet arty cousin of H&M. I defy you NOT to buy something there. If you have a spare day, the outlet shopping at Bicester Village (near Oxford) is amazing. Everyone says go to the Portbello markets and you should but go on Friday. Yes, it's on Friday and it is wonderful. There's also a great cafe down in the heart of the markets called S&M which, of course, sells sublime sausages and mash. Then you can get the tube to the wharf and take a ferry down the Thames to Greenwich and visit Greenwich Mean Time which, on account of it being English, has its own museum. The walk from the ferry to the museum is one of the loveliest in London. Other great High Street shops are Hobbs, Whistles (drool) and Jigsaw. And that's it. Have I embarrassed myself in company again?

  2. Oh, Rad. I know this flies in the face of all of my ethics about shopping and your responsible shopping ban but I am ridiculously excited about shopping somewhere different, even though I am a cheapskate and a shopping bulimic. And I have lots of clothes (though my teaching wardrobe needs some beefing up). I do recall a couple of thrift stores in Covent Garden that I will hit up for you. And I will hit the markets though I find Camden really claustrophobic.KB, obviously I will go to Primark but I think I have to limit myself to only buying stuff I can teach in, which will impact my wallet a lot. AW, I am obviously super cultured and a great appreciator of classical music and opera singers with cheap, black binders.

  3. Oh, Rad. I know this flies in the face of all of my ethics about shopping and your responsible shopping ban but I am ridiculously excited about shopping somewhere different, even though I am a cheapskate and a shopping bulimic. And I have lots of clothes (though my teaching wardrobe needs some beefing up). I do recall a couple of thrift stores in Covent Garden that I will hit up for you. And I will hit the markets though I find Camden really claustrophobic.KB, obviously I will go to Primark but I think I have to limit myself to only buying stuff I can teach in, which will impact my wallet a lot. AW, I am obviously super cultured and a great appreciator of classical music and opera singers with cheap, black binders.

  4. Hey DMed, this is quite a list. I'm very impressed. Are you going to check out any of those interesting open air markets- like Camden? I am excited to see your purchases! I really like shopping with my Spanish roommate while I was there.

  5. Thanks all. Looks like I will be doing some power shopping on Sundays when the reading rooms are closed. I'll say this, the English are civilised about their time off. Whoever heard of an academic library that wasn't open on a Sunday? Or at night? Thanks for your suggestions! I wish I could take you with me, you know, so I don't have to have that shopping-fatigue-related glass of wine in the middle of the day alone. I'll persevere though. You would want it that way. Lots of pictures, I promise. Well, I'll try. I am terrible about remembering to take pictures. But now I have a blog and an adoring public …

  6. Wow. I hope you will be there for a while to get all that shopping in. I would like you to bring ME back photos. Photos of people, sights, and shopping….photos of the sales people would work too,….please.Oh, this isn't about me. There I go again, being a narcissistic blogger.Safe journey.

  7. It seems like your schedule may be full, already – but what about that place in Covent Garden where we got our shoes made out of repurposed chair legs? That kind of buying could be totally guiltless.Also, are you going to check out the symphony, again, since you'll be there? You know, since you loved it so much the last time?

  8. I just got back from London in May (I'm also from Canada, West Coast). I loved Ollie & Nic in Carnaby St for bags, Irregular Choice for shoes (wherever you can find it, but there's on on Carnaby St), Desigual on Oxford (I think), and Camden Market for much general trashy crazy stuff (oh, and they have an amazing All Saints store there).Have fun!

  9. O Dorky, You MUST go shopping at Toast – lovely stylish English goodness and their sale is on now.(They have a website.Forewarned is forearmed.) And after you've struggled out of Topshop on Oxford Street, rush across the road to COS, the stylish, refined yet arty cousin of H&M. I defy you NOT to buy something there. If you have a spare day, the outlet shopping at Bicester Village (near Oxford) is amazing. Everyone says go to the Portbello markets and you should but go on Friday. Yes, it's on Friday and it is wonderful. There's also a great cafe down in the heart of the markets called S&M which, of course, sells sublime sausages and mash. Then you can get the tube to the wharf and take a ferry down the Thames to Greenwich and visit Greenwich Mean Time which, on account of it being English, has its own museum. The walk from the ferry to the museum is one of the loveliest in London. Other great High Street shops are Hobbs, Whistles (drool) and Jigsaw. And that's it. Have I embarrassed myself in company again?

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