Because you can't have depths without surfaces.
Linda Grant, thinking about clothes, books and other matters.

Thursday, 12 June 2008

Harry Goes Shopping

When you get to a certain age , where exactly are you supposed to go shopping? Or where might one actually enjoy the experience?
The old school menswear shops have largely disappeared. Perhaps no great loss. Although I lament the demise of Simpson's , which maybe was brilliant in the 30's when it opened, but when I knew the store they were certainly missing a trick.
There is a lot more to say on this subject, but for those readers ( or partners of readers) who are in London I'd like to bring to your attention the Designer Warehouse Sale.
They have been going for 21 years and hold about four menswear sales a year. I discovered them a dozen years ago, and go at least twice a year.
Next weekend they will be in new premises, so I can't give you a clear idea of what their new environment will be like ( they used to be in a photographer's studio).
They always have a lot of stock. Sure, much of it will be terribly youthful; skinny shirts, artfully modified jeans, streetwear with lots of unnecessary embellishment. But amongst all this you can still find well made and understated stuff.
That's if you are prepared to look. Because, although it is laid out largely by designer and types of clothing, it is rather like a well organised jumble sale. Which I happen to like. A lot.
And the people who run it are very laid-back, and certainly friendly rather than up themselves.
My last purchase there was a very fine Pal Zileri jacket. And before that a Jasper Conran overcoat. And , no, I certainly wouldn't have paid ticket price for either of those two items.
I will definitely be going next weekend. And I am very relaxed about probably being the oldest person there ( but one of my sons might come with me, and that's always fun)


Toby Wollin said...

I think that going to something like that might be more effective if the person actually knew what he needed. My husband is pretty good about rotating his suits and knowing when he needs to go looking for that, but for anything except for suits and sportcoats, we're back to the blue jeans and tee shirts problem.

Linda Grant said...

And can the more uncertain gentleman shopper take along his WAG, Harry?

Arabella said...

This shop sounds like Century in NYC, which is also a huge jumble sale for Britons.

Do man shoppers do the 'refreshing cup of tea'- thing afterwards?
Good hunting.

Harry Fenton said...

The good thing about going to a sale like this is that you come across things you didn't know you wanted, or needed. I didn't actually need a Nicole Farhi suede jacket, but it was somehow easy to find it there.
Of course it's a good idea to take along a WAG, and in fact I find that having someone with you can make decisions easier, and less fraught.
I get the reference to Century in NYC. But I didn't manage to come away with much on my visit there. It struck me as being a huge volume of indifferent clothes and only a few recogniseable trademarks.
(The cup of tea happens when I get home. )

Anonymous said...

One of life's pleasures is returning home with a shopping bag filled with new clothes.