There’s no doubt that London is a global shopping destination and it’s also the city overseas visitors are likely to land in when traveling elsewhere in Europe. Whether you have 2 days, 2 weeks or even reside in the capital you’ll need to know the ‘go to’ areas to shop to cover all of your men’s style needs. Here are some key places for menswear that will ensure all your bases will be covered.
1. Oxford Street and Regent Street
The West End’s Oxford Street runs 2 km’s from Marble Arch to Tottenham Court Road with plenty of High Street retailers crammed in either side (some chains have multiple stores along this strip). With 4km’s of shops you will have plenty to take in but, be warned, it can be light on quality menswear for the amount of distance covered.
A notable mention is the world famous department store, Selfridges, whose first floor is home to everything Men! With an impressive denim zone, an exceptional array of foot wear and more designer labels that you could throw a credit card at you might get stuck in this place for a long time. Other areas of interest sit around the Oxford Circus area with Top Man, H&M and Nike Town taking pole positions on the corners of where Regent Street runs south across Oxford Street.
Regent Street is another tourist shopping Mecca with a more confined concentration of stores than Oxford Street. It lays claims to an impressive roll call of well known retailers and global brands and is also the home of Europe’s 1st Apple store. Men’s fashion retailers along the majestically curved strip include Zara, Ted Baker, Barbour, Hackett, Brooks Brothers, Armani Exchange, Austin Reed, Jaeger, Hugo Boss, Massimo Dutti, Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger, Burberry, J.Crew (opening soon), The Sting and Gant.
2. Bond Street and Savile Row
Running north to south from Oxford Street to Piccadilly, through the heart of Mayfair, Bond Street (New & Old) is where London’s most luxurious designer boutiques lie. The prestigious street is home to flagships such as Ralph Lauren, Dolce & Gabbana, Burberry, Bottega Venetta, Christian Dior, Chanel, Emporio Armani, Ermenegildo Zegna, Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Pal Zileri and Saint Laurent. The range is intimidating as are some of the prices. Fashion isn’t the only focus here with high-end jewelry outlets sat next to world famous auction houses such as Sotheby’s. This is where the money shops.
Parallel to Bond Street at the Piccadilly end is where the world-renowned Savile Row sits. Bespoke tailoring stalwarts such as Gieves and Hawkes (in prime position at No.1), Ozwald Boateng, Richard James, Henry Poole, Anderson and Sheppard, Mark Marengo, Edward Sexton, Nutters, Huntsman, Henry Poole, Kilgour and Timothy Everest are prominent often taking up both street level and lower ground just to ensure they get the Savile Row address. Alexander McQueen recently opened its flagship here offering bespoke and made-to-measure suiting options as well as the normal seasonal range of garments.
If your budget is healthy and you are looking for a suit-for-life then Savile Row is certainly where you should be heading. However, if you are wanting a more affordable option look out for Suit Supply on Old Burlington Street which offers a similar Savile Row experience as well as more contemporary, off-the-peg offerings in their basement. Next door men’s resort-wear aficionados, Orlebar Brown, also represent and opposite the US casual outfitters, Abercrombie & Fitch have their London digs. If you can’t find the store just listen for the screaming teen girls queuing to have their photo’s taken with topless male models in the entrance.
3. Soho and Carnaby Street
Soho has always maintained an element of cool yet sometimes sleazy – which always makes things interesting. Occupying a large area to the south of Oxford Street this region is home to a strange mix of media agencies, theatres, sex shops and great restaurants. The shopping is as random as the people who roam the streets. Our favorite denim brand Nudie Jeans have recently set up their concept repair shop on the corner of D’Arblay Street and Berwick Street with other men’s style pioneers like Oliver Spencer and bespoke tailor Chris Kerr not far away. While you may need to hunt hard through the rabbit warren of narrow streets you will be rewarded with unique and interesting choices.
A more concentrated shopping strip around the Soho area is the famous Carnaby Street. Making its name in the swinging 60’s, this pedestrianised street has recently had a revival with a great range of smaller boutiques as well as global casual brands such as Diesel, Boss, Gant, Levis, American Apparel, Cheap Monday, Jack Wills, Ben Sherman and G-Star. If you’re short on time this is a good area to shop as it offers a good range without having to do the foot mileage.
4. Jermyn Street
If you’re looking for shirts there is only one place in London to visit. Jermyn Street is to shirting what Savile Row is to suiting. All the big British names live here such as Thomas Pink, TM Lewin, Charles Tyrwhitt and not forgetting the royally approved Turnbull and Asser (also Mr. Bond’s choice). As a distinct nod to its sartorial pedigree you will find a bronze statue of Beau Brummell, the iconic English Dandy, standing tall before Piccadilly Arcade. This is the man who purportedly started it all by rejecting overly ornate fashions of his time and instead wore understated yet perfectly fitted clothing which began the bespoke revolution in London that still continues to this day. It’s said he used to have his boots polished with champagne which, while ridiculously extravagant, is also rather excellent of him.
5. Covent Garden
Although often saturated with tourists Covent Garden is a must-see place to visit in London. Previously a flower market it also offers some great shopping from big brands to boutiques. Well known designers such as Calvin Klein, 7 for all Mankind, Banana Republic, French Connection, Fred Perry, Paul Smith, GAP, Hawes and Curtis and Hackett occupy the prime real estate but we highly recommend having a map of this area and wandering off the beaten track. If you steer clear of the crowds you will come across hidden gems around Long Acre, Neal Street and the Seven Dials that should reward you with less mainstream brands and garments you won’t find anywhere else.
6. Camden Market
If you are going to visit one market in London then it should be Camden. It’s vast! Whether you are on a budget or just love your vintage then this place will blow your mind. It houses literally acres of clothing stalls from jeans to jackets and everything in-between. Although super cheap bargains are a little harder to come by these days (as it’s become so commercial) we would definitely recommend going for a browse. It can be great for those one-off items like a leather jacket where someone else has done all the ‘pre-loving’ for you already.
7. East London – Shoreditch and Hoxton
Home of the Hipsters; East London has a different and unique approach to men’s fashion. With plenty of up-and-coming UK designers as well as boutique offerings you could spend a long time meandering the streets and never getting bored. Occasionally you’d be forgiven for thinking you are walking into someone’s dressing room with retailers pushing a more unconventional merchandising effort. Spitalfields Market is a fine place to start. It holds plenty of history as there’s been a market on this site for nearly 400 years (although previously selling meat, fruit and vegetables). However, these days its home to several permanent stores and independent stalls giving shoppers the chance to grab a unique bargain. British clothing brand All Saints are headquartered around this area as well as Orlebar Brown and Oscar Milo.
Boxpark next to Shoreditch High Street station is the world’s first pop-up mall made entirely out of cleverly congregated shipping containers. The very nature of the pop-up concept means that retail residents are often changing so you will find some very interesting choices on offer as well as brands that you may already know. We had a fun afternoon designing a custom pair of Air Max 90’s in the Nike concept store here and the pop-up food mall on the top level is excellent for a sunny day’s people watching.
8. Notting Hill
This is the perfect place to head to when you are done with the hustle and bustle of the big name London shopping precincts. Notting Hill offers a villageier feel with its tree-lined streets and handsome stucco-fronted, pillar-porched buildings. It also has a slightly grungy edge more akin to East than West London while also being the home to the famous Portobello Market stretching 2 miles along Portobello Road every Saturday. Be aware that the popularity of the weekend market makes it quite difficult to cover the entire length with thousands of visitors descending on the area each week.
For permanent men’s shopping options Portobello Road has a large All Saints store and some great little boutiques. Nearby in Westbourne Grove there are plenty of options including James Perse, 7 for all mankind, The Kooples, Joseph and Orlebar Brown. Also be sure to check out Matches Fashions nearby in Ledbury Road for a plethora of fantastic designer pieces for your new wardrobe.
The UK’s 2nd largest shopping centre in White City, West London contains 255 stores spread over the area of 30 football pitches providing a comprehensive and weather-proof shopping experience. While most big name retailers are in attendance there is also a high-end area named The Village which houses the likes of Aquascutum, Burberry, Church’s, Dior, DKNY, Gucci and Louis Vuitton along with a great Champagne bar to celebrate all of your new purchases. Although the mega-mall is a little way out of central London it’s easily accessible by tube on the Central line – Just head to Shepherds Bush station and you can’t miss it.
10. Knightsbridge and Sloane Street
Two major bastions of London retail live in Knightsbridge in the form of the department stores Harrods and Harvey Nichols. Both certainly hold their own in men’s style offering many exclusive pieces as well as the usual designer fare. If you are in town around the time of summer (July) or winter (January) sales you will be sure to pick up a bargain with up to 70% off some items and so much to choose from.
Sloane Street (Knightsbridge end) is possibly even more exclusive than the West End’s Bond Street. Don’t be surprised if you need to ring a doorbell to enter with some stores even having the permanent fixture of a security guard stood outside. Tom Ford, Gucci, Dior and Louis Vuitton all lie within a short walk of each other but, be warned, this area is frequented by the elite and beyond most peoples budgets.