Clothes clothes clothes. Well, do not get me wrong here I am only going to talk about clothes. If you are now asking yourself why this woman can even be bothered to write an article on clothes shopping, here is my response.
When I came to the UK I was used to shopping in stores which did not exist in this country. I had to find my favourites but the ones I am now going to talk about are rather the most popular and not necessarily the ones I usually shop at. However, I definitely tried all of them so I have some kind of opinion formed.
This list is not sorted by the most favourite to least. I mostly base it on how influential these stores are to the UK sense of fashion (you like it or NOT).
If you are still asking yourself why I am writing this article since it is a common sense, I suggest you going to Australia and having a one day for shopping there – I am sure you will find it difficult to decide promptly which stores you must visit and which stores you should avoid in terms of pricing and quality. Since this blog is all about saving time and money I believe people who are coming to the UK for the first time or are coming here for a short visit will find it useful.
UK Sizing Guide
My first personal experience with Primark was I must say surprising (especially when I think about it now). I came to the UK as a student and this was the first clothes store I visited (no joke). As far as I remember now I had a great first shopping experience. I have spend around £40 and bought couple of bags of stuff including a winter coat for £20!! Even though I am not extremely fashion conscious, the clothes which are sold in Primark are quite trendy. Ok ok, those who know what Primark are probably already saying who the hells Miss is to promote Primark. Primark keeps such prices but the quality suffers a lot. An awful lot I must say.
Primark also make “fakes” and by “fakes” a do not mean they make Armani jeans and put Armany as a label. What they do is actually copy Topshop summer collection skirt, change detailing and cutting a little bit, use cheaper material of course and sell it for £8 (whereas Topshop is asking £35 for their one). Overall, that is entirely your choice. I used to shop at Primark a lot since I could not afford anything else when I was a student, and then eventually I realised that when the sale is on you can buy clothes cheap even at Topshop, the only con for this is that you have to wait and hunt for a bargain.
TKMaxx is a world of bargains. Their slogan is “Big Labels Small Prices” and I agree it says it all. You can buy Calvin Klein or D&G jeans there for £40 or sometimes even cheaper during the sale time. However, the shop itself looks rather more like a second hand shop, with pieces of clothing sorted by size and category rather than by style or colour. It also still maintains loads of old fashioned clothes (and believe me they are not the ones which are coming back to fashion anytime soon). All of this makes it pretty difficult to find something suitable. From the other point of view TKMaxx sells a lot of high quality clothes, you just need to have time to do some digging.
Small TIP: One of my friends used to work for TKMaxx in Ireland and he mentioned that there are quite a lot of fakes coming to TKMaxx stores. I am not really sure this is TKMaxx fault or they just have contracts with unreliable suppliers but this might be a case. So if you buying something really expensive at TKMaxx watch out for genuinely branded ones.
Arcadia Group is the UK’s largest privately owned clothing retailer with more than 2,500 outlets. They own seven of the high street’s best-known fashion brands:
Topshop & Topman and Miss Selfridge are for younger and very fashion conscious shoppers. Dorothy Perkins and Burton do keep less distinctive style but sell fashionable and comfortable clothing. Evans (sizes 14-xx) and Wallis are for ladies with a more classic sense of fashion and for this reason more suitable for over 35s. Clothing is not super expensive in Arcadia Group stores, however, you can still end up paying £40 for a T-Shirt if it was trendy at the time.
All other popular stores
I am not going in depth to any of these but I have purposely listed them from the most affordable to the least.