Last week, my friend Mandie and I took a trip to the new Topshop flagship store in Chapel Street. (You remember Mandie, right? She’s the one who put together these Paper Doll Project outfits for me. I also dreamed up these outfits for her to wear with her lace gloves a while back). We were both supremely excited about the shopping trip, because we are both fans of fun, fast fashion. The fact that Topshop is often mentioned by Vince Noir as one of his favourite sartorial watering holes only added to our enthusiasm. Last Tuesday, we braved some seriously hot weather to shop at Topshop.
Topshop is a U.K shopping phenomenon that has recently opened it’s doors in Melbourne. Topshop is famous for stocking up-to-the-minute fashionable clothing at affordable prices, making top trends accessible to the masses.
I have to say that overall, I was pretty disappointed in Topshop. I had been fully prepared to walk out with bags bulging with new purchases. In reality, I didn’t buy a single thing. I found the clothing to be generally unremarkable. Other than a single pair of jeans, I didn’t find another item of clothing that I would have even considered buying. Even though I don’t normally follow the current trends, I had expected to find one or two fun pieces to supplement my wardrobe. Although I wasn’t too fussed about the clothing, I was blown away by the range of clothing and accessories. Topshop had an incredible range of hats, scarves and gloves, and some excellent jewellery as well. To my surprise, they also stock underwear, sleepwear and makeup, which was all quite fun and cute. The shoe department also took my fancy, and there were at leave six pairs of shoes that I would have quite happily walked home with.
One of the main reasons that I didn’t buy any of the gorgeous accessories that I found was that everything was much more expensive than I had expected. Topshops’ reputation for fast, affordable fashion had led me to believe that the prices would be quite low. In actuality, most of the items I had eyed off were much pricier than I would have been happy to pay at a high street store. Few of the pieces of costume jewellery were under $25. The shoes I tried on were all upwards of $60. While this isn’t that expensive for a pair of shoes, I wasn’t prepared to pay so much when I know I can get an identical pair of comparable quality for half the price at some other stores. The only item that I thought was a fair price were the underwear and the makeup. There was also a brilliant selection of coloured and textured tights for $8 a pair, which I thought was reasonable. Other than that, most of the items in the store were a lot more than I would be happy to pay. This surprised me, because I had expected to be faced with plenty of cheap fashion pieces.
Another thing about Topshop that I wasn’t so thrilled about was the sizing. The garments and shoes are all European sizes, which tend to be smaller than Australian sizes. This made it really difficult to find the correct size. Ross had asked me to pick some things up for him, and in the end I didn’t because I just couldn’t guess at what size to buy. I did like that there was a ‘petites’ section in the store, because my short stature sometimes makes it very difficult to find pants and skirts that are the right length. On the other hand, there seemed to be a distinct lack of larger sizes.
I also found the layout of the store rather confusing. The shop sort of winds around and doubles up on itself, so it was hard to make sure that we saw everything without doubling back. We nearly missed an entire section of the store that was sort of squirreled away in a corner.
I would probably go back to Topshop once in a while, just to browse the new stock. Even though I didn’t find anything to catch my fancy this time, the high turnover of stock might mean that in a couple of weeks, there might be plenty of clothing to suit my style. I don’t think that I’ll be a regular Top-shopper though.
Have you been to Topshop? What did you think?