Buying clothes in the UK

Jun 17th, 2008, 05:25 AM
  #1  
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Buying clothes in the UK

I'm heading off to Britain in a couple of weeks' time, and it's about time to think about packing. I am mulling over just bringing enough clothes for the travel across and buying clothes when I get there. I'm not going to need designer labels, I'm pretty utilitarian, and will go with no brand clothes.

Is it a good idea? How expensive are clothes compared to the US or Australia (where I am from)? Has anyone any suggestions of clothes chains where I should shop?

Thanks for suggestions.
Sydney2K is offline  
Jun 17th, 2008, 05:30 AM
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I guess it depends how much time you want to spend shopping compared to seeing the sights. I personally find London quite expensive compared to Canada and hate shopping, so I'd rather spend my time on vacation doing other things.

A cheap place to go is Primark (kind of like a Walmart)
jamikins is offline  
Jun 17th, 2008, 05:37 AM
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If you're on a tight budget, don't overlook the charity shops. You can get some good buys there...a friend found new Diesel jeans (tags still on) at one shop for £5.

By the way, are you a guy or girl? What's your taste? If female, Top Shop and Monsoon are popular for less expensive clothing appealing to the (mostly) younger market.

I usually shop for my clothes in Belgium and Germany, but I also like to shop the sales racks at Sahara London for comfortable clothes (a chain store marketing to artsy over-35s). I find clothes in the UK expensive compared to what I pay for comparable quality in the U.S. and slightly more expensive for similar or better quality in Brussels and in Germany.

Where to Wear is a good guide to shopping in London and as many of the chain shops described in the book can be found all over the UK, you might want to pick up a copy.

BTilke is offline  
Jun 17th, 2008, 05:38 AM
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You can spend as much, or as little as you like on togs in Britain. Any designer you've ever heard of will be on sale - but will cost you a fair bit more than the colonies.

At the budget end there are shops like Primark and Peacocks. Frankly, I have no idea how they makke money with the prices they charge.
Cholmondley_Warner is offline  
Jun 17th, 2008, 05:40 AM
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London is a great place to shop for clothes, traditional as well as edgy. But if you just look for some plain shirt or sweater you may be better off buying it at home.
Cowboy1968 is offline  
Jun 17th, 2008, 05:57 AM
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Marks and Spencer are pretty middle range
If you got to their website
http://www.marksandspencer.com/
You can have a look at their prices
MissPrism is offline  
Jun 17th, 2008, 06:11 AM
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You have to figure in the 17% VAT tax, which makes clothes, even on sale, much more expensive than in the USA. I had good luck at a store in London called the House of Fraser (SP?).. I happened to hit the sales, and got some good buys. But I agree that its nuts to spend valuable touring time shopping........
kleroux is offline  
Jun 17th, 2008, 06:12 AM
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I'm confused. Why do you want to buy "utilitarian" clothes after you arrive in the UK? Why not just bring your clothes from home?

Instead of spending your time sightseeing, you'll be inside clothing stores and dressing rooms.

I don't see the appeal of buying poor-quality clothing from Primark.

I can get better quality clothes for much less here in US, especially during SALE.
yk is offline  
Jun 17th, 2008, 06:28 AM
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Buying clothes in the UK (or another European destination) might help one pass oneself off as a European, a thing that some posters here seem to value highly.
Padraig is offline  
Jun 17th, 2008, 06:46 AM
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We just got back.. Everything was so expensive,, nice things.. not designer labels.. considering the exchange rate and tax..I love buying clothes on trips.. this time only bought two things..
coxbox is offline  
Jun 17th, 2008, 06:50 AM
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Buying clothes in the UK (or another European destination) might help one pass oneself off as a European, a thing that some posters here seem to value highly>>>

Not unless the OP is prepared to visit the hairdresser and shoe shop as well.
Cholmondley_Warner is offline  
Jun 17th, 2008, 06:54 AM
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CW, I did use the word "help". Yes, I agree that other measures are also necessary. A visit to the dentist, for example.
Padraig is offline  
Jun 17th, 2008, 06:57 AM
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I thought the received opinion here was that to look British you'd have to stay away from the dentist? Or maybe (hastily looking around for an exit) visit one of the Australian dentists we've had so many of...?
PatrickLondon is offline  
Jun 17th, 2008, 06:58 AM
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Oh dear, another thread goes from gussets to gums...
PatrickLondon is offline  
Jun 17th, 2008, 07:05 AM
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I have 3 teenage daughters, and they were floored last year when they saw the price of clothing in London! They love to shop at H&M, but the they estimated that clothes at the London H&M cost 2 to 3 times as much as they would pay in the U.S. I think it would be a waste of your money to do a lot of shopping in the U.K.
mnapoli is offline  
Jun 17th, 2008, 07:06 AM
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PatrickLondon wrote: "I thought the received opinion here was that to look British you'd have to stay away from the dentist?"

Some cosmetic dentistry is reversible. Or you can just get new crowns in a nice shade of yellow.
Padraig is offline  
Jun 17th, 2008, 07:23 AM
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Sydney2K
You'll find all the same kind of shops here in the UK- the names might be different but the clothes are similar. I remember seeing Jigsaw, Esprit for example in Sydney- the same here. Don't know what the equivalent prices might be. For simple classics- jeans, shirts, sweaters I'd say Marks and Spencer which you'll find in most large towns a good bet.
bellini is offline  
Jun 17th, 2008, 04:51 PM
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We have always (even before the fall of the dollar) found clothing in the UK to be more than the same things in the US - few bargains - so don;t shop unless it's something you really want.

(Frankly we found most goods in the UK VERY expensive. About 8 years ago I had to wait to meet someone and went into a department store and noticed a huge SALE on towels. The quality was very poor, the design dreadful, the size skimpy - and the price way more than you would pay for nice quality towels at Bed, Bath & Beyond.)

And why waste valuable vacation time in stores when you could be seeing doing things not available where you're from?
nytraveler is offline  
Jun 17th, 2008, 05:15 PM
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Sydney2K,

Can't compare vs Australia, but UK clothes are more expensive than in US. If you see something priced $29.99 at GAP in the US, you are likely to find the same merchandise priced at GBP29.99.

I usually shop for my clothes in the US exactly for this reason.

You can find discount chains others mentioned like Primark, Topshop and H&M, though they tend to be lower quality, and seem to mainly cater to young ladies in early 20s.

You can surely try Oxfam or other charity shops, though they have limited stocks so can't guarantee you can find the size and quality you need.

For "basics", you can try M&S or Uniqlo but again you'll pay more than in the US.
W9London is offline  
Jun 17th, 2008, 06:24 PM
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I don't know how expensive clothes are in Oz, but agree with the others that clothing in the UK is double the price of the US.

That being said, I usually buy some camisoles, etc at M&S when I'm in the UK, since they seem to be of better comfort and quality. I also bought a suit at NEXT, but only because it fit perfectly and I felt like a spurge.

IMHO, I would bring enough clothes for your trip, since even the "cheap" charity shops seemed expensive. If you have a car, Asda has more affordable prices for non-brand name clothing.








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