Wednesday, 2 September 2009

The Oxford Street Branch of TopShop is a cleverly disguised circle of Hell

I went to a wedding on Sunday (and a lovely and happy wedding it was too) which obviously meant I spent the week beforehand desperately running from clothes shop to clothes shop growing more and more desperate as I realised I am ultimately doomed to never find anything I like ever. In fact, the chances are that if you spoke to me in the last week or so you'd have had to put up with at least a bit of whinging about how much I hate clothes shopping, and how dreadful the whole experience is.

So I just wanted to say it again here. I hate clothes shopping. Yes I do.

When I've mentioned this previously in the week, I have had at least three people respond with "Oh but all girls love shopping, don't they?". Side stepping the obvious urge to break things here, I will acknowledge that yes, the stereotypical view of women is that they love the shopping, can't get enough of it, love shoes more than men etc. I will admit that there was a time when I might have enjoyed it slightly, mainly when I was a teenager with a) no bills and b) no serious job, so I could wear what I liked because I didn't have to worry about not having money for other things or buying clothes unsuitable for work. Now though, I find it to be a poxy, mind-deadening experience of hideousness, and here are the fundamental reasons why:

1) The people who do like shopping. Shops are heaving with the sort of skinny, invariably blond women who absolutely adore buying clothes, presumably because everything fits them and they look great in everything. They can be seen grazing skinny fit jeans in Top Shop and fingering fabrics like their lives depend on it. True, it's not really their fault that they enjoy it, but it doesn't stop them getting on my wick (and getting in my way).

2) It's the same old shit in every single shop. This is probably the biggest reason I hate it. Seriously, I walked up and down fucking Oxford Street and halfway around Lewisham, not to mention all sorts of random shops I jumped in out of desperation and they all contained EXACTLY THE SAME DAMN THINGS. If you would like, for example, a mid-length skirt at the moment, you're stuffed. You could be entirely ready to accept any style or colour, or even be prepared to snip sequins off it for a wearable skirt, it won't matter because they don't exist anymore. Because, I suspect, it's not "in season". If you want gypsy neck tops in colours such as lurid purple and bright green, black leggings or smock tops, well then you're in luck because that's all there is. Honestly, the most depressing thing about high street shopping is the relentless assertion that you must all dress like the herd; get in line with the other sheep, because we can't be bothered to provide you with an actual choice.

3) The lameness of the shops themselves. The Dorothy Perkins that closed it's changing room an hour before the shop closed itself, for no apparent reason- two members of staff were actually sitting in it, having a chat, but they looked at me like I'd cacked on their gypsy tops because I wanted to try something on. Really? You expect me to buy something without trying it on? Perhaps if I was one of the size 6 blond brigade, this would be viable. The New Look with changing room doors like wobbly saloon doors, with an inch gap in the middle that everyone can clearly see you through. I expect most women have been in changing rooms whilst small children nip about randomly pushing open doors and yelling for their mum- I've always hated this, but in New Look it doesn't really matter because everyone can see your pale bottom and holey underwear anyway. And there's TK&Max, where 60% of the items you pick up will have holes in already or stains in odd places, and good luck trying to find an actual pair of shoes. No chance.

I did find stuff to wear in the end, and amazingly, I liked it (a long purple skirt, tellingly in a Marks & Spencers Outlet store- you can't find any long skirts otherwise, believe me!). But what it has left me with is a huge reluctance to ever go high street shopping again. And I don't think I'll be missing out, quite honestly.


  1. So, you didn't go with the black one I linked for you. Too bad. Hee. Glad you found something. Brandi rages, too, as she sops. Strangely i seem to be a lucky charm. She finds stuff if I'm around. Just one of those cosmic coincidences I guess.

  2. I hate shopping on the high street. I wandered round Bluewater for ages looking for a wedding outfit and ended up getting a fabulous chinese style dress from Camden Market - and it was a bargain.

    I totally agree on the 'every shop stocks the same stuff' and glad someone else agrees with me as I was starting to think it was just me. All I want at the moment is a pair of combats but they are not in at the moment. I feel we are heading towards a rave/early nineties grunge fashion pit stop soon so I will have to stock up :)