LONDON SHOPPING GUIDE- PART 1

Since we are London based girls we get emails from you asking about best places to shop in London.

We are only too happy to oblige. We decided to run a regular feature where we will share with you our favorite shopping destinations, boutiques and dress agencies, even if that means that you will snap that Burberry trench right from under our noses.

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We will take you through Oxford Street shops, department stores, Zara stores with the best selection (and it’s not where you think it is), dress agencies (aka consignment shops), cool East London boutiques and many more. Ready? Lets’s go shopping then.

Oh, one more thing. None of our posts are sponsored. Our opinions are entirely ours and not influenced in any way other than by sheer love for the things we write about.

Today I’m going to take you with me to Selfridges. Those of you who regularly visit our site will know all about my love for it. I know it by heart so much so that in an event of emergency I will guide you to the nearest exit (Too much time on Ryanair planes and here’s the result, I’m talking like a cheap airlines).

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I know that some of you come to London for a long weekend and have other attractions to tick off from you list. That’s why I think Selfridges would be a perfect option for a time poor shopper.

However, the store it big, confusing at times and their floor plans are not exactly very helpful. It took me forever to get to now it but it was worth it because the store houses some incredible brands and exclusive ranges that you won’t find anywhere else.

HOW TO GET THERE:

You can brave Oxford Street crowds (and sometimes I do when I want to check out men’s cashmere jumpers in Uniqlo) but it’s easier to change to Central Line in Oxford Circus station and get off at Bond Street- Selfridges will be almost opposite the station, just a little bit to the left after you’ve passed Forever 21, Gap and French Connection. I know lots of people actually don’t mid the crowds on Oxford Street, treating it as a part of shopping experience but I break out in cold sweat when I have to face it.

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If you get a chance to look at the Selfridges’ windows- do. They are the coolest in town. At the moment their theme is Bright Old Things and every window is different. But if you can’t wait to get in Alladyn’s cave, there are few entrances on the Oxford Street, one on Duke Street (nearest to French Connection) and one on Orchard Street (the furthest from the tube station, opposite M&S). My usual one is the first entrance (not the main one but the one just by French Connection) – that shows you how I can cope with the crowds. I literally make it for the nearest entrance. You will have Gucci store on your left and Chanel on your right. From there all depends on what you are looking for.

BAG LADY:

If you are looking for a designer handbag or just want to have a look, take “my” entrance and you are transported to a handbag heaven. Some brands will have separate boutiques like Dior, Chanel, Prada and Gucci and some will be in the main area. I cannot walk past Saint Laurent without salivating all over Monogramme shoulder bag.

BEAUTY AND PERFUMES:

You will find the usual suspects on the ground floor. Chanel, Dior, Bobby Brown, Illamasqua, Guerlain, Charlottel Tillbury to name a few, all stock their full ranges there. Tom Ford also has his beauty and perfumes shop there. His stuff is amazing if a bit on a pricey side.

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Basically every big name that counts in beauty industry has their shop at Selfridges. There are usually crowds by Mac counter. Tucked in the corner just by Clarins you will find Jo Malone with it’s extensive and sometimes unusual (it’s latest scent Sage & Sea salt was inspired by the British coast) range of scents and candles. Every product you buy at Jo Malone will come in a beautiful cream box with black satin ribbon.

If you continue exploring the ground floor you will soon come to the perfume shop. It houses all the big names and scents- you name it, they have it. But big houses aside, it also stocks bit more unusual fragrances. They have all Serge Lutens scents, La’ Artisan Perfumeur, Atelier Flou and many many more.

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So if you are looking to find something unusual, something that not many women are going to have, then Selfridges perfume shop is for you. I think my first perfume purchase at Selfridges was Hermes Kelly Caleche. Before that I used to buy my perfumes at Boots or at the airports.

In a bid to feel better after a break up I wandered into Sefridges for some retail therapy. Do you remember that famous “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” quote “Do you ever get that feeling? …Well, when I get it the only thing that does any good is to jump in a cab and go to Tiffany’s. Calms me down right away. The quietness and the proud look of it. Nothing very bad could happen to you there”.  I’m sure Truman Capote must have consulted women in is life before writing it because, really, you cannot make this stuff up.

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If you are looking for jewelry, continue further down past the perfume shop to fashion jewelry department. It houses the likes of Vivianne Westwood, Kenzo, Michael Kors and Thomas Sabo. Sure, they will not become family heirlooms but it’s difficult resists Kezno tiger pendant retailed at £125 or Marc by Marc Jacobs lock & key pendant at £60.

The Wonder Room where you will fine jewelry for those who have money to spare is little further down the hall. All the usual suspects have their boutiques here including Tiffany, Cartier and recently opened De Beers.

 

A BIT MORE BEAUTY PRODUCTS:

If you are are craving a bit more beauty products, go back to Clinique counter- you will see steps leading up to another hall. You will find there brands like Aesop (they are not stocked at regular Boots or beauty shops) and Glamglow masks (I’ve tried them and they do what is says on the tin) amongst many others. You can also do your nails or brows (famous Blink Brow Bar). For foodies, most amazing food hall is on your left whereas at the very end of the hall you will find Lloyds pharmacy which stocks Bioderma products (hard to come by in London) as well as Caudalie or La Roche Posay products.

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Just by the nail bar in the second hall you will find an entrance to yet another hall, which houses some high street brands like Topshop, Ted Baker, Karen Millan or All Saints. I especially like their Toshop collection. It’s not big (for full Topshop experience you will have to traipse to their Oxford Circus flagship store) but it’s very well curated. In fact, all my recent Topshop purchases, my blush raw edge skirt or my snakeskin boots were bought at Selfeidges.

Because- and this is where it gets really good- Selfridges have London’s largest shoes department, Shoe Galleries.

SHOES:

That, girls, is 35,000 sq ft of pure fantasy. From high street labels like Topshop, Dunes, Office, Kurt Geiger, Carvela, Nine West, L.K. Bennet to designers like Valentino,Isabel Marant, Gucci, Jimmy Choo- you name it, they’ve got it. There are plenty of hot pink comfortable sofas and cinema like seats everywhere and with the super attentive staff (no matter if you are buying Louboutins or Office) shopping there is an experience in itself.

On the subject of Louboutins, Shoe Galleries also play host to 11 designers boutiques such as Louboutin featuring red carpet and trompe l’oeil chandelier or Chanel boutique which is a recreation of Coco Chanel’s apartment. Jimmy Choo, Prada or Gucci also have their boutiques there.

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I’ve pretty much given up buying shoes anywhere else (unless in my trusted consignment shops but this is a topic for another post) as this shop is so well stocked. There are still amazing sales going on at the moment and this is why this post is a bit late today- I’ve gone to Selfridges yesterday- for research purposes-and got a little bit stuck (that pair of L.K. Bennet suede ankle boots was purely incidental).

DENIM, TOPS & TEES: 

Once you satisfied your shoes necessities (and let’s face it, shoes are always a necessity, never trivia) how about visiting Selfridges’ Denim Studio on the third floor? Their 26,000 sq ft is dedicated to denim, stocking over 60 brands from Primark (yes, Primark!), Karen Millen and Levis to Paige Denim, Frame and J Brand.

There are always crowds in nearby Primark store and queues to waiting rooms are mind boggling. Not many people know that Selfridges stocks the best selection of Primark jeans and also some tees from their Authograph range. You can try them in a nice, quiet changing room with the sales assistants at your every call. Imagine that in Primark where the shop girls’ job seem to be crowd control and picking up clothes from the floor.

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Denim Studio also has what I call a “cool corner’ where you can buy well, THE coolest tees and sweatshirts. They stock Kenzo, Boy London, American Vintage, Etre Cecile to name a few. I’m a big fan of Zoe Karssen tees. They may be on a pricey side (they will set you back £50) but they just…look cool? I think I’m repeating myself.

If you a a fan of Equipent shirts, you can also by it there although they have smaller selection then for example Net-a-Porter.

CLOTHES, CLOTHES!

So what would you like yo buy now? If you are after a designer gear, the second floor houses wonderful selection of Saint Laurent, Chanel, Alaia and just about every big house you can imagine.

If you craving something more contemporary, head to the third floor were you can find Isabel Marant Etoile, Kenzo, Michael Kors, Zadig et Voltaire, Maje, Sandro, Whistles, Reiss an many many more. Perhaps my favorite one is Joseph who has the best cashmere jumpers in the universe. Sadly, their black cashmere never goes on sale!

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NAUGHTY BUT NICE LINGERIE:

The third floor has also one of the nicest lingerie department in town. My favorite brand is Myla for their sophisticated soft cup bras and proper corsetry. They also stock Stella McCartney’s sweet nothings (expensive!), Hanky Panky, Mimi Holliday as well a Calvin Klein and Elle McPherson Intimates, which is a very beautiful and very reasonably priced range.

Agent Provocateur has a separate boutique which also stocks their cheaper range L’Agent.

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I bought my petrol blue silk Vaninna Vesperini chemise there (which I wear as a top) and if you a a fan of beautiful expensive lace, you can go crazy in La Perla.

AND THE REST…

And there you have it. I’ve skipped the men’s department as well a a lower ground floor where you can but home stuff, Cath Kidston range (not my taste personally) and beautiful books about fashion. It is worth exploring if you still able to. I know that after an afternoon at Selfridges I completely run out of steam.

The cure? A glass of good wine at their Wonder Bar.

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4 Comments

  1. Tuesday January 13th, 2015 / 01:52 AM

    aahhh amazing shopping over there, i wish i can go visit one day!!

    have a great week!
    Animated Confessions

  2. Monday January 19th, 2015 / 07:53 PM

    Thanks this helped me a lot for my next stay in London!

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