Buying clothes in the UK

Jun 17th, 2008, 06:38 PM
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 275
Sydney2K, why do you want to buy clothes in the UK - do you think it'll be cheaper than Oz/different than Oz? Just wondering.

I'm not sure what kind of clothes you want.

When I go to the Uk, I always check what's available locally. When I'm in the UK sometimes I find the same clothes I can buy at home in Canada, but they cost more in the UK.

I did check price on clothes when I was in Oz (I've been several times) at David Jones/Myer, etc. I find clothes in Oz are more expensive than Canada. Unfortunatly, I cannot compare prices between Oz and the UK.

I do check out Burberry, Selfridges and Harvey Nicholls for high end appreal.

For more modestly priced clothes I go to M and S and BHS on Oxford St
in London.

There are lots of stores on Oxford St and Regent St for clothes.

Remember, you can claim the vat (sales tax) back depending on how much you buy.

As some posters have mentioned things are usually cheaper on the Continent than in the UK. For example, what I pay GBP 15 for costs Euros 12 in Paris (that's a huge price difference). Sometimes, I wonder if I should pay for a Eurostar/airline ticket and do all of my shopping on the Continent.
If you are also going to the Continent check prices there, they'll be cheaper.
SWillams is offline  
Jun 17th, 2008, 09:58 PM
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The major supermarkets..Tesco for one...carry huge lines of clothing. Their prices are low. Please note, shopping is the number one tourist activity.
GSteed is offline  
Jun 18th, 2008, 02:17 AM
Original Poster
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Thanks for everyone's replies. Why I want to buy clothes in the UK? I wanted to get my luggage light on the way over, and only carry enough clothes to have something on my back, and get clothes to suit the season. Last year, when I went to London for the first time at the end of August, I expected nice summery weather. Instead, it was cold, and all I had in my luggage was summer clothes.

I was thinking that if I take some clothes that would suit most weather, I could buy more clothes that suit the season. Of course I wouldn't be shopping all the time, so a few pieces at the places I go- jump into Mark and Spencer's for half an hour and get something that I need. Of course I would fill my luggage, but I won't have as much existing clothes, and I wouldn't run out of suitcase space so quickly.

I'll take everyone's observations that clothes is generally much more expensive (as with most things) in the UK, so I won't be kitting out my travel wardrobe on the fly. However, a Oxford college jacket would be pretty cool to have around.
Sydney2K is offline  
Jun 18th, 2008, 03:50 AM
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You'll struggle to find any really cheap clothes in Marks & Spencer, they're definitely more mid-range in UK price terms (= expensive by US or Austrialian standards). As others have suggested head to the likes of Tesco*, Asda*, Primark, MacKays, Matalan etc.

*large out of town stores, not the small ones you'll find in city centres or tourist areas.
Gordon_R is offline  
Jun 19th, 2008, 12:44 AM
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You simply won't find anywhere cheaper than Primark. Not in Australia, not in the US. Nowhere, except from those shady characters who hang round third world clothing facytories selling over-runs.

UK branches of H&M are actually cheaper than in the US (the poster who seemed to claim otherwise clearly has never been into a US H&M).

Midrange clothing (like M&S) would beat the **** out of their Australian equivalent for value for money if there was one. But there isn't. And - though you probably aren't interested - nothing in the southern hemisphere matches Top Shop,New Look and their competitors for aggressively up to the minute fashion.

However, the standard American ignorance that compares Harrods ripoff prices with what they would pay in Old Navy (the closest America has to Primark, but a great deal crappier and about a decade behind currrent fashions) makes it difficult to take many of the earlier replies here seriously.

To judge prices and products for yourself, go to the website of the retailers mentioned by the British posters.

Overall, clothes here cost about the same as in Australia (we don't charge the same insane import duty your non-existent manufacturers force your government into slapping onto clothes from countries that make them efficiently) but a great deal more stylish.
flanneruk is offline  
Jun 19th, 2008, 01:42 AM
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if clothes in UK are cheaper and better than US, then why SOO many Brits make shopping-specific trips to US? I can't tell you know many Brits I know for whom the flight +hotel in Ne w York (or other east coast cities) + shopping is till more profitable than just buying thier clothes in UK. And these are not top-designer things, just normal, mid to upper tier clothes. I H&M is definitely more expensive in UK (as well if you compare same ietms at Gap, Body Shop and other chains).
lerasp is offline  
Jun 19th, 2008, 01:47 AM
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Padraig said "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 also said:
Some cosmetic dentistry is reversible. Or you can just get new crowns in a nice shade of yellow.

Such words genuine kindness !
travelme is offline  
Jun 19th, 2008, 03:20 AM
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Sorry, but this is one poster who isn't fixated with "looking European" and I wear european shoes, etc., all the time AT HOME!

I agree, the prices for clothing in the US are better and when you go into a dept store in the UK or on the Continent and you see DOCKERS for who knows how much MORE than the same ones are sold for in the get the picture.

I've bought plenty of clothes at so-called "high end" places such as Harrods in London but usually during the annual sale.

My purchases in Jermyn Street are another story..avoid it unless you've got lots of money to spend..great clothes and shoes...just pricey.
Dukey is offline  
Jun 19th, 2008, 03:32 AM
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I'll disagree with FlUK about the quality of clothes at M&S. Some of them are indeed well made and hold up well to repeated washings.

But NOT the women's sweaters. Many of them are dreadful, knitted from ultracheap acrylic yarn that seems to be made from dryer fluff and lasts about as long. It's too bad, they can be nicely styled (at least the M&S people copy good designs) and in flattering colours. But the yarns...ugh!!

As for price shopping, I just returned from a trip to the U.S. and bought lots of clothes for DH that were vastly superior in quality than anything we could have found in the U.S. I got him a very nice Jos. Bank Signature Suit, shirts, ties, casual slacks, etc. for half of what we paid here.

The other thing FlUK overlooks in his price/quality comparisons is the way U.S. shoppers hunt and search for deals. For example, Mom had her eye on a top that a store priced about $70. However, she waited until it got marked down 50%, then used her preferred shopper's discount, plus a coupon from the Sunday paper and ended up paying $12 (there's no sales tax on clothes in PA). That's just over £6. Definitely in the Primark price range, but better quality.
BTilke is offline  
Jun 19th, 2008, 03:46 AM
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I think the clothes in the US are very good value - however, in the UK you can tend to get certain fashions cheaply that may not appear in the US for a while. M&S is good for knickers and tights and I find the baby clothes good - but that's about it.

I wish we had proper TJ Maxx here in europe, or a Marshalls...I love Marshalls!
Lawchick is offline  
Jun 19th, 2008, 03:47 AM
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re: << Why I want to buy clothes in the UK? I wanted to get my luggage light on the way over, and only carry enough clothes to have something on my back, and get clothes to suit the season. Last year, when I went to London for the first time at the end of August, I expected nice summery weather. Instead, it was cold, and all I had in my luggage was summer clothes.>>


Even when you get there, you won't be able to predict what kind of weather you'll have from one day to the next, or even from one hour to the next. Save yourself the time and trouble and just bring clothes from home. It's not that hard-- I had only an 18" carry-on, no even packed full, and had more than enough outfits for various weather conditions over 10 days (and a Fodorite even said we looked "very chic").

Besides, the only way to get good deals is to shop when you happen to come across something good, not wait until you have to have it.
MademoiselleFifi is offline  
Jun 19th, 2008, 03:49 AM
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You must shop in a different Marks and sparks from the one I use.
I have several M and S jumpers in lambswool and cashmere.
In fact, their cashmere is very good value.
MissPrism is offline  
Jun 19th, 2008, 03:53 AM
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meant to type "NOT even packed full..."
MademoiselleFifi is offline  
Jun 19th, 2008, 04:00 AM
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I wasn't talking about their lambswool and cashmere sweaters, although I don't like their cashmere sweaters, if I'm going to buy cashmere I want better quality. But their sweaters made from synthetic yarns (which many of them are) just don't hold up.
BTilke is offline  
Jun 19th, 2008, 03:47 PM
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I did the opposite, I found inexpensive clothes in the US. Then after wearing them in UK chucked them to make room in my suitcase for tea, comfort food, linens, etc.
If I do buy clothes on a vacation, I pick up a scarf.
palmettoprincess is offline  
Jun 19th, 2008, 04:30 PM
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Chucking clothes is not exactly great for the environment.

Check out the Camden or Portobello Markets or other cool flea market in London for some great inexpensive, recycled clothes!
wannagetaway is offline  
Jun 19th, 2008, 05:02 PM
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I would do it again! Actually some of the stuff I left I never wore. I left it with a note for housekeeping to give it to Oxfam, if they didn't want it. Some of what I chucked, I would have chucked anyway. Should I have flown it back to the US to throw it away?
palmettoprincess is offline  
Jun 19th, 2008, 05:10 PM
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I second the idea of going to consignment shops, thrift shops, flea markets, etc. There are no doubt some very cool & hip second hand stores there, and, as others have said, prices are not cheap in regular stores. I bought an amazing sweater in a charity shopin Prague. I get so many comliments on it here,and it cost $15. I also bought 2 scarves for 50 cents each, and picked up a pin as a present for a friend. It's a neat way to explore a place.

On the other hand, if you want to buy new, there will be sales at this time of year on summer stock, so I think you'll find some deals. I actually enjoy shopping when I travel. It's part of getting that "living like a local" experience.
amp322 is offline  
Jun 19th, 2008, 05:16 PM
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Do support Oxfam! One of the few organizations in the business you can trust...

Clothes in the US are dirt cheap, compared to anywhere else. It's not worth taking home electronics and almost all other consumer goods, but those third world made textiles are cheap.
I bought 2 pairs of trousers today for $5 a pair, most likey, I'll never wear them, but anyway.
logos999 is offline  
Jun 23rd, 2008, 05:51 AM
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Some not really surprising insight into how Primark is able to sell clothes at such low prices:

(of course, they are not the only clothing retailer connected to child labor/sweatshops.)
BTilke is offline  

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