“I’m soon to go sales shopping in London. However, I’m pretty new to things sartorial and I have no idea what I’m meant to look for, particularly which shops are best for bargains. You seem to know your way around the shops and streets – can you recommend anything to me? I don’t think my girlfriend will have the patience to rummage through every shop!”
There’s no way around it; sales shopping is pretty vile. The stores are unpleasantly busy, browsing is a chore as stock presentation is deprioritized and, particularly in London, the sheer range of emporiums can terrify.
For the benefit of the above reader (and indeed all readers interested in shopping in the capital) I have compiled a list of my most useful sales stores in London’s shopping district. Most of these stores have healthy 30-50% reductions which often escalate to 75% before the end of January.
Zara has branches all over central London, but not every store carries the same inventory and some stores are far more comprehensive than others. The best stores to check are the largest ones. The Regent Street branch, the branch at the top of New Bond Street and, for those less keen on West End throng, Brompton Road next to Harrods.
I tend to restrict my Zara winter-sale search to slim cords and jeans (as they fit very well), the occasional overcoat or trenchcoat and casual jackets and blazers. Their current off-the-rack jacket block is, in my opinion, nigh on perfect – there is a nice shape at the waist, they’re not TopMan tight and the jacket cuts in beautifully on the back.
Uniqlo’s London flagship is on Oxford Street opposite John Lewis. It is vast and slightly confusing in terms of layout; most of the menswear is on the lower ground floor but there are often a few menswear offers amongst the womenswear on the ground floor.
Uniqlo is a very useful brand for basics (I get my rather unattractive but entirely functional gym gear from here) and knitwear. In the sale, their merino cardigans – elegantly thin enough to be combined with a suit – are excellent value, as are some of their thicker lambswool cardigans, for more casual wear. There is a rainbow of colours to choose from.
New & Lingwood
New & Lingwood’s London store is on Jermyn Street, in the Piccadilly Arcade, opposite the statue of Beau Brummell.
New & Lingwood’s English shoes are the big draw as they are excellent value in the sale. The selection of sales shoes are visible through the window but they are all laid out on the first floor. Reductions are typically 35-50%.
New & Lingwood also has a first rate selection of dressing gowns, unusual outerwear and a glut of subtly and wildly patterned silk scarves. Expect reductions of at least 50% by early January.
TM Lewin, Charles Tyrwhitt, Hawes & Curtis
All on Jermyn Street, although all have smaller branches on Regent Street.
Jermyn Street’s big three shirt retailers – in terms of volume – always have offers on throughout the year. However, their seasonal sale deals are much better, as multibuys are replaced with single shirt offers.
Also, the accessories sale in these stores (particularly Tyrwhitt and Lewin) is excellent with silk pocket squares and ties often half price or less.
Massimo Dutti has several branches in central London. The best are on Regent Street, Oxford Street and Brompton Road. The Regent Street branch is the only one offering made-to-measure tailoring, although it’s doubtful you’ll get much service in the high-sale period.
Most Massimo Dutti ready to wear is very good quality and therefore, very good value during the 30-50% sale. I don’t tend to buy blazers or knitwear here as they are too big for my frame, but I really like the pocket squares, ties, scarves and socks they have here as the product quality is above that of sister brand, Zara.
And stores I tend to avoid…
Although H&M might have the odd thing of interest like an odd waistcoat or jumper, I am not keen on the block for their jackets; no shape to the waist and a poor fit. It’s also outrageously busy and the sale stock is incredibly untidy and cramped together in a corner of the store.
Other Jermyn Street shirtmakers
I’ve nothing against Turnbull & Asser, Hilditch & Key and Harvie & Hudson but their sales, still aggressively priced, do not stand a chance against the tide of red-stickered stock available elsewhere on Jermyn Street.