London

Where I Like to Shop, Why and What For

Photography by Debs

I feel like this post is way over due as so many of you are constantly asking me what my favourite shops are and what I like to buy from each retailer.  Finally I've taken the time write a complete run down of the shops I like to buy from and what I go there for.  You guys know I love my high street so obviously there's a lot of high street in here and also a few online stores which you may never have heard of along with my favourite places to splurge on those designer handbags, shoes & accessories.

Zara

I just thought I'd start with the obvious.  Zara is a great all-rounder and if like me you love the high end look without the Celine-esque price tag (£900 for a shirt....SAY WHAAAAAT?!) then Zara will be your first port of call.  It's the only high street store I know of that has a real excellence in producing catwalk inspired pieces constantly.  The 'New In' section of their Website or App is updated roughly 3 times a week so there's always new products to browse.  Zara is spread across 4 labels, Zara Woman; often the most expensive of the labels but this is great for the highest quality items, and also items which are made from the most luxurious fabrics (pure silk, wool, cashmere etc).  Zara Studio; this is the newest label only launching about 4 years ago and this is a range for very trend driven limited collection pieces.  It's not available in every store so your best bet is to try online unless you live in a big city with a flagship store.  Zara Basic; This is the label with the most choice, I'd say walking into a Zara store 60% of it will be Zara Basic.  But by no means are some of the collections 'basic', I have bought some of my most cherished designer dupes from this label and the price points are nothing short of pleasing to my purse strings!  Lastly it's TRF; This is the young trend section often located on a different level or towards the back of a single story store.  If you're above the age of 30 don't discount this section, it might be aimed at a younger crowd with some pieces but it's always worth a look.

I have long legs, very long legs, and Zara is actually great for buying jeans which are long enough for me as the standard inseam for (non-cropped style) jeans is 34" (soz to those of you who are, lets say vertically challenged).  Some of Zara's shoe styles often go up to a UK size 9 so if you're really tall with big feet that will also be a bonus, I'm an 8 so don't worry, I feel ya.

My Top Tip: If you see something you love, buy it, don't deliberate over it.  There have been far too many occasions where I've gone off to think about it and missed out on something I've then craved for months. Serious FOMO alert!  Their stock sells, fast, so get in there quick.  Also if you are in London, the best store to shop in is on Kings Road, they have the very best stock, plenty of it and it's nice and quiet to shop in during the week (plus, doggy friendly!).

I should also mention I worked for Zara for 5 years, haha, all the insider info!

Topshop

Again another obvious one but Topshop is a British brand and I hold a very special place for them in my heart.  Anyone else beg their parents for a pair of Topshop trousers to wear as their school trousers?  At my school you were considered very 'cool' if you had Topshop school trousers.  And flashback to the days when Moto jeans were £25, oh weren't those the days?!  Now priced at £40+ they're denim is still worth it though.

I head to Toppers for denim, this season my biggest love has been their straight leg styles and you'll have seen me wearing the shiz out of them in my outfit posts over the last season.  I also love their basics, they're soft fabric, they wash well and they always have plenty of colour choice and ample styles to choose from.  Each season their range can be a bit hit and miss for me, some seasons I can find myself buying something from them every week and others nothing for a month.  But it really does depend on your style and the trends forecast for that season, either way I can always rely on them for denim and basic staple pieces.  I'm going to be quite honest when it comes to their Unique collection; I never buy it.  Topshop is high street and as much as I love attending the show at LFW I'm not prepared to pay £200 for a jumper, which to be honest, isn't 'all that' anyway.

Shop My New Season Faves Below

Mango

Over the last 2 years I've come to really love Mango.  Luckily in London we have a couple of big stores but I know that throughout the rest of the country Mango stores are difficult to come by so I would urge you to look online because they have some incredible stuff.  This season I went a little Mango crazy and judging from the blogosphere so did everyone else.  I was hard pressed to find a blogger who didn't have these ring detail flats or these Chloe inspired sandals.  I love Mango for shoes, and I have already spotted these Victoria Beckham-esque ankle boots which I definitely NEED for next season.  Similarly to Zara the range of high end looking pieces is brilliant and the quality of their garments, shoes and accessories is very good considering their price points.  Mango (along with Zara) are also the only two non-luxury stores where I will find myself picking up a handbag.  I'm quite the handbag snob but these two often hoodwink me into thinking that I'm in a designer store.

     

Shop My New Season Faves Below

         

ASOS

I remember when ASOS launched and my first purchase from them was a pair of UGG-type boots and a Von Dutch trucker cap, both 'As Seen On' Jessica Simpson...my idol at the time.  I'm guilty of browsing the 'new in' pages of ASOS every single day and I'm also a member of the Premier gang, because free unlimited next day delivery is something that needs to be in my life, always.  I normally order at least once a week from ASOS, whether it just be a pair of shoes or piece of jewellery to a massive haul of 10+ items (as seen on my famous Snapchat/Insta Story hauls).  I tend to buy a lot of ASOS own brand as you can't buy that anywhere else but I also love the mix of brands that they have

Shop My New Season Faves Below

River Island

I love RI for the occasional pair of jeans (they do good rips) button-up shirts and shoes/boots.  This season they had some amazing Aquazzura style espadrilles so I have high hopes for some Autumn/Winter dupes.  They also have some really strong outerwear options in their A/W collections and I have a few coats which have lasted me years.  If you live in London or Birmingham then you'll have access to a store which has a 'Style Studio'.  It's basically a rather swanky fitting room (free for anyone to use) and you can book this if you know you're going to be doing some serious shopping for a holiday, a special occasion, if you're having a girls day out, or maybe you've just got your student loan through 😉 (money well spent haha).  I always use the Style Studio in the Marble Arch store and it's just nice to have a helping hand from the stylists and also get away from the crowds.

         

 H&M

H&M is another Zara, it's just a great all-rounder.  I mainly shop in their 'Trend' department which sadly isn't available in every store.  The Trend collections are full of amazing runway inspired pieces and over the last few months I've found myself coming away with a pair of Vetements inspired jeans for under £40, A bell sleeve Celine-esque jumper for £30, some killer designer looking jewellery ranging from £3-£7 and a selection of wide sleeved shirts which I have basically been living in.  This season has been great for H&M, I hope it continues long into the next few.

H&M does designer; The next designer collab is with Kenzo and this collection hits stores on November 3rd.  Having already seen a few pieces I have to admit this isn't really the one for me but I loved the Isabel Marant collab and the Balmain collection from last year.  I'm just holding out until they announce H&M x Chloe...Can you imagine?!

     

Shop My New Season Faves Below

         

New Look

I've shopped at New Look for years, I even remember that for my 10th birthday all I wanted to do was go to New Look to spend my birthday money, haha....not much has changed 20 years on 😉 We all know there are some serious bargains to be had in New Look, and recently I've been loving their selection of sleek shirts, like this pyjama style one.  Their skinny jeans have been some of my faves over the last coupe of years and I'm sure you all remember that rather incredible chunky roll neck jumper from last season which literally changed my life...I'm actually hoping they bring out something equally as uh-mazing this coming Autumn/Winter season (no pressure New Look).

     

Shop My New Season Faves Below

         

Forever 21

I call F21 the home of boho.  If I'm having a boho moment then this is where I head to first.  Floaty tops, maxi dresses with ruffles and plenty of fringing, they've got it all.  Yes, it's aimed at the younger generation but if you're up for a little rummage then you will find some cute pieces in there.  Everything is made of polyester pretty much but it's so cheap it's great for getting 'the look'.  Come festival time and shopping for holiday wear it's perfect.  I also buy a lot of my jewellery from F21 as they have such a wide range.

Shop My New Season Faves Below

Pull & Bear

P&B is actually related to Zara, it's part of the Inditex group who have Zara & Zara Home, Bershka, Oysho, Massimo Dutti, Stradavarius and Uterque.  I've only recently started shopping in Pull & Bear after I randomly found myself in there dropping £200 on about 8 pairs of jeans (you can never have too many jeans).  The vibe is quite young, similar to Zara TRF and again it will depend on your personal style but they have some amazing pieces in there and the denim is amazing!

     

Shop My New Season Faves Below

         

Missguided

I'm not the stereotypical 'Missguided girl', I don't wear bandage dresses and crop tops but you know what, MG is great for finding those sneaky little treasures, like this very Gucci inspired Bomber jacket!  My word of advice is to completely ignore the way an item is styled as it's most likely that it's aimed at the younger crowd, really imagine how you would style an item in your own way.  They often have some great trend led pieces on there (like the bomber) which you're happy to spend £45 on versus the £2K of an actual Gucci bomber.

There's nothing particular that I go for on Missguided, I simply browse the new in section about 3 times a week and see if anything catches my eye.  I know they have a bit of a bad rep for their service but I can honestly say that any purchase I have ever made from them has been received in good time and my orders have been correct.  Any returns I've done have also been fuss free, but obviously they are a huge global company who will receive thousands of orders a week and no one is perfect.

My Top Tip: Sign up to their newsletter (yes I know they're annoying) and you'll often find that they send through discount codes, more often than not 20% off or free next day delivery.

Shop My New Season Faves Below

Boohoo

Come vacay season I literally find my wardrobe overflowing with Boohoo, they really have summer style nailed with cute boho dresses, floaty embroidered tops and some great denim pieces.  I must admit I shop more with Boohoo during the Summer than I do in the Winter because I find the quality of their coats/outerwear isn't quite up to scratch for me.  I wore Boohoo a'plenty during my trip to LA back in June and you guys went crazy for some of the pieces I was wearing on my Instagram; including this paisley maxi dress which I had so many compliments on from the women of Beverly Hills.

Shop My New Season Faves Below

Storets, Pixie Market & Front Row Shop

These 3 online retailers all have a very similar aesthetic which is why I've grouped them together.  They hold similar stock and have similar prices, although currently FRS have some great reductions.  For when I want to avoid the mass market of Zara I hit these 3 for chic, trend driven, expensive looking pieces.  I've been working with Storets in particular for a few months and I love their clothing, this dress and this skirt being a couple of my favourite pieces and I also have a new order on it's way to me for my big Road Trip adventure last on this month. Pixie Market is a site I have only shopped on once so far but I find myself browsing their site on a weekly basis and seriously lusting after everything!

My Top Tip: These clothes are manufactured and designed in Asia so their sizing it unlike what we're used to.  Always use the size charts or measurements guide for each site, or each item (if available) to ensure you get the right size.  Don't be alarmed if you're a size 10 and that's classed as an XL, that just their sizing for you.

Shop My New Season Faves Below

     

Romwe, Shein, Chicwish & Choies

Again I'm boxing this lot together (as with the above) because they are a group of Asian sites which hold similar stock, with similar prices and I've had similar experiences with all of them.  The prices are cheap, Romwe in particular, and if you watched my last big haul on Snapchat (FYI: I'm now also hauling on Insta Stories) then you will have heard me talk about their sizing and quality.  I've been shopping on these kind of sites for about 3 or 4 years now and most of my experiences have been good.  Shipping times can vary from 2-3 weeks depending on the size of your order so bare that in mind.  The quality can be hit and miss depending on the item which is why I always do larger orders so that If I get one or two naff items, at least I have some others to compensate.  All of these sites offer great affordable alternatives to some of our fave high street and occasionally designer brands.  They are great for Self Portrait dress dupes, printed Tees and on trend tops.

My Top Tip: Again I would advise you to use the measurements charts for each item to ensure you get the correct size as they are Asian sizes so come up very small.

Shop My New Season Faves Below

Jessica Buurman

I discovered Jessica Buurman about 2 years ago and boy am I glad I did.  If it's a designer dupe you're after then this site should be in your bookmarks for sure.  These items aren't 'fakes' they have no designer branding on them so don't worry about that, but if £490 is too much for you to splurge on a pair of Aquazurra heels then JB can solve that dilemma with their real suede dupes for a fraction of the price.  I have about 6 pairs of shoes from them now and 3 or 4 bags including this Celine inspired 'Box Bag' which you might recognise from my outfit posts.  The quality of everything I have from them has always been great but I would advise to size up in the shoes as they are made in Asia so they run small.  Shipping wise you should expect to wait anything from 1 1/2 to 3 weeks for delivery, all my experiences have varied in shipping time but I'd imagine this is due to demand of the items I've ordered.

Shop My New Season Faves Below

     

Net-A-Porter, Far Fetch and Luisa Via Roma

Designer shoes and bags are my little splurges and other than sunglasses and make-up they are the only designer items that I tend to spend my money on.  If I want to treat myself then these are the luxury sites that I will check.  NAP updates their new-in section every Monday, Wednesday and Friday and they also have an app, uh oh, not sure if that's a good thing or not haha.  Their packaging is collectable and service is faultless, not to mention the fact that you can find serious outfit inspo from the way they style their models. Luisa Via Roma has a more refined range or products and they hold more of the not-so-mainline brands like JW Anderson which is where I recently got my Pierce bag from.  Delivery is FREE (as are returns) which is also a major bonus when shopping with them. Far Fetch is like an Aladdin's cave of luxury goods as it's home to over 400 boutiques around the world so you can often find more than one boutique selling the same item but the price will differ, so it's always worth looking for the cheapest option.  I think it has the widest choice of brands although it lacks in brands like Prada which NAP have just acquired.

Shop My New Season Faves Below

Vestiaire

When I looked at my handbag collection the other day, 50% of it has come from Vestiaire.  I LOVE VESTIAIRE!  I literally want to scream it from the rooftops, but I won't.  I love a bargain, and I have my mum to thank for this trait, and so when it comes to big investment items like handbags a lot of thought goes into the process of buying one.  I know you guys are all very curious to know what I think about Vestiaire and how it works so there will be a dedicated post on that coming soon, don't you worry.  But just to summarise what Vestiaire is all about, it's a site which allows people to sell their pre-loved designer goods with a guarantee that the buyer will be receiving a GENUINE item.  So it's nothing like eBay where you have no idea if you'e been conned or not after entering a savage 5 minute bidding war, coming away with heart palpitations.  A seller lists an item with a set price and buyers can make an offer if they want to or you can snap something up at it's current rate which sometimes is the best option to avoid missing out.  The seller then sends the item to Vestiaire HQ in Paris where they have a team of authenticators.  The item is checked to make sure that it's genuine and also that it matches the description that the seller has stated.  Then if all is good, it goes off to you.  I have bought loads on Vestaire and if there is a bag that I'm lusting after, past season and/or new season I always try and get a good deal on a second hand one first.  I am a bit finicky with second hand items so I only buy the items which are immaculate (used once or not at all).

My Top Tip: Download the App so you can browse the new in section regularly, this comes in handy if you are on the scout for a specific item.  You can also set up an 'alert' and Vestiaire will email you when something that matches 'wanted item' is listed.  Then you need to get in there quick.  If you're after a Gucci Dionysus then join the queue, these bags are selling within 5 minutes of being listed on the site.

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Comments

  1. 11th August 2016 / 8:59 pm

    This is such a great post!! Definitely helpful as I’ve been wanting to buy items from Shein, Storets and Jessica Buurman for a little while – do you have to pay customs charges on your orders from these three stores?

    whatevawears.blogspot.co.uk

    • 11th August 2016 / 9:34 pm

      So glad you found this post useful. I’ve never had to pay any customs charges but I know others who have, it will depend on your order value though x

  2. 12th August 2016 / 9:00 am

    Zara will most definitely forever be my favourite store, seriously. Like, everytime I go in there I somehow most of the time always end up walking out with either one or far too many items than intended. ASOS… I have no words for ASOS. I browse through the website almost daily and I’m not ashamed.

    • 12th August 2016 / 9:03 am

      haha no shame in that, we’re all in the same boat 😉 x

  3. 12th August 2016 / 11:39 am

    I have been completely addicted to ZARA for the past three years or so, every time I go in store I end up coming out with something, good for my wardrobe but very bad for my bank balance! And I agree Topshop is amazing for denim!
    Brigitte x

    brigittehayley.com | youtube.com/brigittehayley

    • 12th August 2016 / 2:06 pm

      Bank Balance…What bank balance? haha. It’s all good, we invest in the bank of Zara 😉 x

      • Lilly
        14th August 2016 / 5:24 pm

        WHAT the hell is a bank balance??? ;-))))) I´ve seen mine last 5 years ago haha

        The boohoo maxi dress is on top… did you buy the TALL CARLA PAISLEY PRINTED BUTTON MAXI DRESS or the ANNA PAISLEY PRINTED BOHO MAXI DRESS?
        Was a bit confused which one because you´ve tagged both

        Have a nice weekend and THE BEST BIRTHDAY WISHES out to you and go have fun times and a good time 😉 (unfortunately delayed)

        Lilly

        • 14th August 2016 / 5:27 pm

          haha, true dat!
          I bought the tall but it is very long as I am quite tall, but I linked both for those who are not so long and lanky as me 😉
          Thank you very much x

  4. 12th August 2016 / 2:00 pm

    Love this Emma thanks so much for sharing! 🙂 your style is literally perfect – I’ve already ordered the boho-style top you’re wearing on your instagram video today from boohoo haha. Looking forward to reading more blogs from you <3

    Beth xo

    • 12th August 2016 / 2:05 pm

      Thank you Beth 🙂 Ohhhh that top is amazing, I want it in all the other colours too haha x

  5. 13th August 2016 / 12:00 am

    Yes! Love this post, been needing something like this! The later i havent heard of before so im excited to get on them and have a little look!

    Dana
    NEW POST On Fashion Dew // Bloglovin’

    • 13th August 2016 / 9:54 am

      So glad you found it useful Dana, happy shopping 😉 x

  6. Sabina
    13th August 2016 / 7:21 am

    I feel like I found good friend ! Thank you for the great post ! Love your style and posts and waiting for the next meetings ….

    • 13th August 2016 / 9:57 am

      haha thanks Sabrina and thats for reading x

  7. Vicky
    13th August 2016 / 11:00 pm

    You are spot on with what you said about boohoo in particular. ..The coats are not good quality, I had an aviator jacket from there and I kid you not, the seam in the sleeve unravelled. It’s that old thing of you have to spend a bit more on coats ! (That well known saying! Ha ha). I also am a big fan of zara and asos and topshop, just for shoes though. Asos are amazing for denim and general clothes 🙂 I must give mango a go next time I go shopping. .oh and I love h&M ,especially for jumpers and tops 🙂 …great post xxxx

    • 14th August 2016 / 5:29 pm

      I have a feeling you’d love Mango. Some of the prices can be a bit steep but then on the other hand they have some incredible shoes which end up being £19.99…always a nice surprise when you look at the price tag 😉

  8. 14th August 2016 / 7:22 pm

    I both loved and hated reading this. I’ve found so many new places to shop, but that’s not a good thing when you’re trying not to spend money.

    • 15th August 2016 / 9:21 am

      Ahaaaa, oops 😉 x

  9. Kristina
    17th August 2016 / 2:15 pm

    Yeeess girl, I’ve been waiting for this post – even though I kinda knew all the stores you shop at since I’m an avid reader haha
    Zara is my one true love but I do like the same shops you do 🙂

    Creepers & Cupcakes

    • 17th August 2016 / 3:37 pm

      Ahhhh thank you 🙂 Gotta love Zara, it’s sooooo good in there at the moment too, farewell money haha

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