Bargain fashion for women in Soho:
All over Europe, you can find top bargain fashion stores H&M, Mango and Zara, but in London, shopping for cool bargain fashion is easy as those stores are near each other and
the well-known Top Shop itself. Cute Carnaby Street
(vintage couture and designer rags) is within bag-swinging distance, too -- head for the Oxford Circus tube station
and Soho for fashion bargain central.
"Cheap" is a relative term -- the Top Shop is truly cheap, while Zara is only cheap-ish considering the designer looks. However, European clothes fit and last, even the cheapies.
The famous Top Shop's clothes are a notch below H&M and several notches below higher-end Zara or Mango, but the Top Shop has oodles of cute accessories and cheap tees. Avoid the Kmart syndrome (loading up because it's cheap) -- better pants and coats await at H&M. Grab some hats and scarves and a top or two here. (Locations at bottom of article).
Bargain fashion for women at it's finest-yet-cheapest may be H&M women's department store. With five H&M stores near the Oxford Circus tube stop
, you can knock yourself out and still stagger easily back to the hostel. Different H&M's have different types of clothes: the one just across from the Oxford Circus tube stop is hottest. H&M is without doubt my favorite haunt for London shopping without spending a fortune. (Locations at bottom of article).
A cool pedestrians-only spot near Oxford Street, Carnaby Street
is a spot rather than just a street. Stores and cafes line the wide walkways; you can buy everything from Diesel jeans to antique hippie wear here. A very sweet little coffee spot called Sacred is a good place to rest your shopping-tired tootsies while having a cardamom-flavored cup of Thai coffee with condensed milk (it's delish). Do I love this kind of London shopping!
(Directions at bottom of article).
Tres cute stuff at tres cute prices awaits at the central Mango store. Brand new clothes are in the Nordstrom's price range, but made very well for relatively inexpensive designerish wear. Check the sales racks -- that stuff is just coming to your campus back home. (Locations at bottom of article).
Ah -- the mecca of cute clothes in Europe and spreading across the globe. Zara produces affordable designer-look wear at far less than designer prices. I've never been disappointed in Zara after meeting it in Acapulco, of all places -- this site of the Spanish store will fulfill expectations. (Locations at bottom of article).
About catch and release shopping:
You're in another country, and exchanging things won't be a snap. Avoid buying unless you really want it -- or you're really sure you can sell it on eBay if you change your mind once you're home. And forget trying to exchange something bought at the London H&M at an H&M in Munich or Paris. Instead, think twice before you put out.
About London shopping with your credit card:
If you haven't signed your credit card to protect yourself, you may want to have your passport handy for ID while shopping in the UK. The sales clerk is going to ask you about it -- as in several variations on, "Why isn't your card signed?" The UK has started using a card system called "chip and pin
" -- clerks will be accustomed to UK customers entering a PIN after swiping a credit card, but they should be prompted by the credit card authorization process to ask you to sign a receipt.
Bargain Fashion London Shopping Locations - Street Markets, Too:
Take the tube to Oxford Circus
. You can walk everywhere you want to be from there -- you're now roughly in London shopping and arts mecca Soho (Piccadilly Circus is the next tube stop). Little boutiques come and go in the neighborhood -- look for earrings in smaller places. Look askance at bargain fashion scarves and pashminas being sold on the street -- the same thing, but cuter and better, may await in H&M.
- How to ride the London tube
Top Shop Address
Central Top Shop:
H&M London Addresses
Central H&M addresses:
- 261-271 Regent Street
- 174 Oxford Street
- 481 Oxford Street
- 360 Oxford Street
Carnaby Street Directions
A cool pedestrians-only area near Oxford Street, Carnaby Street is an area comprising a few foot and bike traffic alleyways. Walk south on Regent Street from the Oxford Circus tube stop and hang a left into Carnaby Street.
London Street Markets and More London Shopping
The city has something like 70 street markets which spring to life on weekends -- stroll down Portobello Road for antiques, take the tube to Covent Garden for street art, or head for the London Bridge and the old, venerated Borough Market
for foodie-watching fun. Clothes and crowds abound at Petticoat Lane's market -- haggle on the leather jackets this street market's known for.