No need to spend a fortune
Beautiful clothes don’t have to cost a fortune. You just need to be a bit organised and spend some time rooting out the bargains; of which there are many to be had in London. I haven’t paid full price for my clothes for a long time.
Here is how to do it…
The Music Rooms on South Molton Street and Curate Sales on Worship Street are two of the big sample sale venues. You can sign up to their websites to receive all of the info you need about which sample sales are held there and when.
A Little Bird is a great weekly newsletter about lots of different things going on in London. They often have info about the smaller sample sales which aren’t necessarily held at the big venues I mentioned above. It’s a nice email to receive on a Thursday morning even if you’re not interested in the sample sale info. Culture Whisper usually lists the big sample sales too.
Most designers put their sale and sample sale info on instagram, so follow your favourite designers to be the first to know about their various sales.
I’ve been to some great sample sales recently. Erdem, Charlotte Simone (as per photo!), Sophia Webster, Miista and Self-Portrait all really discount their stuff. Self-Portrait was selling £400 dresses for £70. Try and get there early if you can...
One tip: some sample sales can be a bit of scrum and you certainly won’t have the luxury of a private fitting room. It’s worth trying on some of that designer's clothes before you go so that you know what size you are and the kind of things that suit you. No half-naked scrums necessary.
Apparently, Vestiaire is a great second-hand designer website. I haven’t used it but lots of my friends have recommended it to me. All of their stuff is checked and authenticated; it’s supposed to be very good.
Charity shops! There are so many good ones in London... I lived in Pimlico for a while and became very familiar with the charity shops around there. They are so good. A friend of mine lives in Bristol and whenever she comes to London, the Pimlico charity shops are top of her things to do! There are some great ones dotted around Chelsea and Fulham too and Mary’s Living & Giving Shops are all excellent.
I darken the doorway of second-hand clothes shop Find of London far too often. They call me when they get something in they think I will like, and they usually get it right. Disaster! You need to have a good root around but they do get some gems.
And then there is always ebay...
I watch the Outnet like a hawk. The good stuff gets sold quickly, so you do need to check it regularly if you want to be sure to scoop something up in your size. I’ve got some amazing stuff off there before for a hugely discounted price. Again, as with all online shopping, it helps if you know what size you take in which designer so that you don’t have to faff around sending stuff back.
It’s always worth having a root around in TK Maxx... I work dangerously close to a great one in Covent Garden. Even today, thank goodness I did just about manage to talk myself out of buying a Marni yellow leather jacket at lunchtime. I do not need a yellow leather jacket. There is always some Stella McCartney, Moschino (as per my sunglasses in the photo) and Mary Katrantzou lurking around for a fifth of the full price…you just need a bit/a lot of patience.
If you have a fancy dress party, or any kind of costume event, Prangsta Costumiers is the only place you need to visit. They make the most beautiful masks, headpieces and outfits, all of which you can rent. It’s a really fun day out even if you don’t need anything.