March 28, 2006

Fashion: London vs US

After hearing so much about shopping in London, last week I finally got to see for myself what it is all really about. And let me say, fashion in London is both exhilarating and depressing. Exhilarating because everything is so much more funky, cool and interesting than in the US. Fashion in the US is simply much more plain and casual.

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A good example of this is Ella Moss. The clothes they show of Ella Moss in US stores (left) just doesn't do justice to her! At this fabulous store that sells mixed brands called Brown Focus they sold some gorgeous Ella Moss creations that were intricate, innovative and cute (right-although this is perhaps not the best example since Brown's online presentation is not exactly that good).


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Then there was of course, one of my favourite brands, Ted Baker London! The store was huge, with 2 floors devoted to men's fashion and one to women. But there were still a LOT more styles and variations than the Ted Baker store in SF. For example, they had the black dress I bought in the SF store in almost 5 different shades. There was also this amazing Stilo dress (above) that fitted me to perfection! Alas, it was £110. . . . so I settled for this funky brown silk polka dot/jersey striped v necked sleeveless top instead. But I am still thinking about Stilo and kicking myself for not getting it.

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Even their "cheap" high street stores were great. After oogling at their site for so long, I finally stepped foot into a real top shop store. It was crazy! On the friday afternoon that I was there at the Oxford Street store, it was packed with shopppers trying on and buying all their wonderful, relatively good quality, super trendy clothes, shoes and accessories. But the weird thing is, unlike H&M, the stuff there wasn't even that cheap! Sadly, I had to limit my purchases. . by a lot. I finally DID settle on this cute Chloe lookalike crocheted camisole that was only £16 ~ $30USD (left). Unfortunately, the turnover rate was so high that they'd already ran out of them in size 8 that wasn't foundation/lipstick stained. . . :( I also considered these thongs too. They're simple but cute, perfect for me to traipse around campus in. But again, £36~S70USD for a H&M/Zara quality pair of thongs seemed a bit steep.

So you can see how shopping in London can also be very depressing. Yes they may be prettier, edgier and all, but they are also even more expensive and unaffordable.

24 Comments:

Blogger Harrods Girl said...

Yes I totally agree!

3/28/2006 10:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do Brits have more money to spend on clothing than Americans? I have never understood this phenomenon. I agree that British style is far more interesting and thought out. Just compare the American and British editions of InStyle magazine.

3/28/2006 1:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yup.. it's called standard of living... they also get paid more than we do. Plus free healthcare. Imagine that.

But then again, things like the Ella Moss comparison... most online shops play it "safe" and buy more universally pleasing pieces. Boutiques are more apt to buy a line's more quirky pieces since they are more likely to be purchased when viewed in real life vs. a web page.

3/28/2006 3:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How much do things cost in America?
I always think Top Shop is pretty cheap, and I am by no means wealthy, it's just the even cheaper things, Primark for instance, just aren't worth trying.
I know most things are cheaper in the US (petrol/gas is a third of the price it is here!, and CDs and DVDs too, seem to be the same price in dollars and pounds)but I never considered our clothes to be expensive.
I LOVE the Top Shop in Oxford St, you can actually spend hours and hours in there.

3/28/2006 6:51 PM  
Anonymous susie_bubble said...

It's all relative. Our wages in the UK (ESPECIALLY in London) correlate with the prices of things. Most people would be classified ABC1 and would thus be able to afford the things in Topshop.

3/28/2006 8:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey! I was in london last week and yea..everyone dresses really trendy. like in the NYC?? Mostly in black surprisingly. Topshop was awsome! but really expensive!!

3/28/2006 9:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Blame the weak $$$. :( Did you go to Selfridges, Agent Provocateur and Camden? Next time, try Primark--far cheaper than Topshop.

3/28/2006 10:18 PM  
Anonymous Sharp Lily said...

I lived in London for a year after college, and now I live in NYC, and while I miss London every day, I don't miss the prices. It's true that the USD is so bad right now, but when you get paid in pounds you don't have to convert to dollars and want to faint at how 'spensive everything is. I got a few pieces that I didn't think I could easily find in the US, but everything else I waited until I went home to buy. I used to work right near there on Oxford and Regents, so your description of Topshop makes me miss it so much!

3/29/2006 12:08 AM  
Blogger Harrods Girl said...

I only spend 6 months out of a year in London, so it's hard to shop there and not automatically exchange currencies and compare prices to Hong Kong in my brain. Not only for Top Shop but even the labels are much more expensive in the UK, esp because of tax. It's SO depressing shopping in London!

3/29/2006 1:26 AM  
Blogger ipq said...

i have to agree... so many things to buy but while visiting one is always on a budget...

and yes it is beacuse of the currency exchange... GBP has the highest rate... it is almost twice that of USD...

of course it would have been easier if we were all earning money in terms of GBP, but i guess till then we have to learn to control our spending...

3/29/2006 1:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi I am a London girl and I think yes something in Topshop can be a little pricey but im with the other UK girls I think its one of the cheapest of our highstreet stores personally, I think Oasis and Warehouse are overpriced for what they are, Top Shop is the best I work in Tottenham srt road and go down there most lunch hours and I almost always come back with something, I think tops are pretty cheap, if you want cheap then primark is your bext bet, but there is alot of TAT in there, at least Topshop stuff will last and they are always spot on with current/up and coming trends, I dont know how they do it so quickly, its the best store in the UK by a mile..... I have been to NYC and I have to say I was pretty dissapointed with the shops and came back with very little so it really makes me appreciate my home town and the best shopping capital in the world IMO!!

I also agree that we probably earn more that the US and have the NHS free healtcare, so its all relative like house prices, UK living in general is pretty pricey but we are just used to it

British shopping rocks!

4/09/2006 2:23 AM  
Anonymous dhinadhina said...

I do love topshop. Well, actually I've never been in London or do any shopping there. But I did shop in Topshop at Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (I live in Indonesia). I think the collections were adorable and relatively affordable there. Hmmm,,I love yhis blog more and more, keep on posting girls! I adore you

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

The healthcare in England isn't free, it is paid in taxes whether you wish to use the NHS or not. In America I liked that everyone wore more colour, but I thought people were too put together. I love British style :-)

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

What are the main differences between the British and MAerican industries? Why do most designers want to show at New York fashion week than London, for example?

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