Newest Review: ... Topshop sent me the wrong dress. Instead of giving me a preprinted label for their mistake, I called them and they told me I had to post... more
Whatever you want, they've got it!
Member Name: Shoe_Gal51
Advantages: Fantastic designs on clothes and shoes, huge choice
Disadvantages: Bad arrangement of clothing, high prices
Topshop sales are booming right now, and in the midst of a recession (sorry for using the 'R' word!) shouldn't retailers be experiencing the opposite effect? You would think so, but in these difficult times Topshop is taking full advantage of the twenty something girl with a chunk of disposable income each month and a penchant for party clothes and shoes. Unfortunately the high street chain sees this as the perfect opportunity to hike up its prices and reap the profits, but more on that later.
My local Topshop store is a tiny outlet in a fairly small shopping town with very limited choice and everything seems to be cramped and squashed in. A few miles down the road, however, is a haven of a Topshop, the Manchester store. 3 floors spread with fashionable, trendy pieces and basic wardrobe staples and lets not forget the shoe section!!!
Everything is well spread out in here, allowing the shopper to maneuver between the rails with ease and browse leisurely. Even during the madness of Saturday afternoon shopping the experience isn't too stressful! You will need time to browse in Topshop though, especially the larger stores as the items of clothing seem to be scattered everywhere, and I find this to be a huge downside, as a shopper. I can see the idea behind this cunning ploy, Toppers make their customer trawl the whole store for that particular sparkly top they have spotted in Heat Magazine, because all of the sparkly tops aren't grouped together, nor are the dresses, skirts and even jewellery! The exception to this rule are basics such as jeans, plain tops/vests, underwear etc, but even with these type of products you are still likely to find additional rails of them dotted around the store to attract the impulse buyer who hasn't specifically entered the store to make a beeline for the vest tops.
I have found the staff to be helpful and friendly overall (one particular girl couldn't find the matching shoe in the back room to an amazing one I had requested from the sale items and when she saw my face fall and she realised how desperate I was for those killer heels, she went back and spent 10 minutes looking before she found the other shoe!), of course you always get one or two face-ache teenagers serving on the tills, but then again I don't enjoy working weekends either!
The store has an awesome shoe section, a place I can spend hours lusting and browsing, choosing new pairs to add to my wish list, and this section always seems well staffed, as unlike some of the lower priced high street chains, the shoes aren't presented in pairs ready to try on then take straight to the checkout desk, and to try on the left shoe you will have to request assistance.
I find Topshop to have a brilliant selection of allsorts of clothes. They cater to the glamour puss, the boho-hippy girl, the laid back chick, the indie girl (think Alexa Chung!), the girl who lives in her casuals, everyone can find something to love in Topshop! They also stock ranges specifically on body type and condition, such as Tall and Petite, they have a Maternity range and they have recently introduced a range named "Mini" which enables the new Mum to deck their sprog in Topshop's finest, too!
The sizing range is set at a 6-16, disappointingly, this chain doesn't aknowledge the fact the some girls who like to keep up with current trends and styles may be bigger than a size 16. And at that, I find in general that many items stocked do come up quite small in the sizing. I am a standard size 14 and have often struggled with particular items on the fit.
An overview of the type of clothes stocked in Topshop will clearly show their demographic is the fashion conscious fifteen to thirty-five age group. Disposible high fashion, trendy pieces that will often last the owner no more than one season before it is snubbed as being "out of style", and off to Topshop you go again for this season's key pieces.
The larger stores hold consessions that seem to be growing by the day. Everything from Motel, Rare, Barbara Hulanicki, Yuki and Illustrated People clothing to Marc B and Pauls Boutique handbags and Office Shoes. If you can't find anything of Topshop's own label that takes your fancy, there is always the option of a dozen or so mini shops containing capsule wardrobes for you to browse under the same roof. Then of course there is the hotly anticipted seasonly release of the Kate Moss for Topshop range that flies off the shelves like hot cakes. I'm personally not a fan of the Kate Moss range in general, but that is only because the shabby chic/indie girl isn't the look I really go for. Her designs tend to be heavy on thigh skimming hemlines, and as a tall girl with less than perfect thighs, I know when to stay away!
By far the most important section (to me!) of my review. Throughout the last 2 years I feel that Topshop have come up trumps, time and time again with their shoe designs, more specifically the heels and sandals. I like my heels high and my shoe design special and Toppers ticks all the right boxes for me. The prices are more than I would like to pay in a high street chain store, but for the extra money you really do get excellent design, real leather and not man made materials - like so many other more cheaply priced shoe ranges -, durability and general all round fabulousness. You can't put a price on the confidence these shoes give me when I slip into them, ready for a night on the tiles. The retailer has more to offer than heels, though. Think everything from ankle boots to knee high boots, both flat and heeled, canvas pumps, ballet pumps and trainers, sandals, moccasins, brogues, flip flops and wellies. The selection is second to none. And as with the clothes, they also offer concession shoes from the likes of Emma Cook and Preen and even a premium range of their own, Topshop "Unique" - although you'll be looking at paying around an extra £30-£60 on top of the usual shoe price for the privelidge of buying "Unique".
Here is my major gripe with TS. Celebrity endorsement - not just by Kate Moss, who is paid to design and promote for them, but also the run of the mill "hot celebrities of the moment" pictured in the weekly gossips and glossies - of this majorly popular high street store has only helped to increase the already slighty hiked up prices. New and key pieces are featured to death in fashion magazines and consequently, regardless of the extortionate prices of some of these "pieces" they sell out immediately, even appearing on eBay days later, labelled "SOLD OUT, MUST HAVE" and whacked with another 50% price hike of top by these money hungry sellers with an eye for an opportunity. And people pay the prices! It beggars belief for me that there are willing buyers for this type of thing.
That said, although TS can be a tad pricey, some things are definitely worth it, and there is nothing like splashing some cash on that amazing dress you just know will make you look slimmer, taller and fabulous to give you that heady shopping buzz!
I'd also like to add something about TS's 'Freedom' costume jewellery range. Whilst the range offer some amazing pieces to finish off an outfit, everything from rings and necklaces to brooches, bracelets, earrings, rings, hair clips and bands, the cost of some of these items is just unbelieveable. I've seen a gathering of flimsy glittery wrist bangles tagged and priced at £15 in Topshop, while a trip up the street to brave the crowds in Primark has seen me pick up almost the exact same bangles for just £1.50. TS's seem to not be manufactured or produced any better, and I am unable to see any justification in some of the prices they expect their customers to pay for their jewellery. For this reason, this is one thing I am rarely tempted to buy from Topshop, unless I spot something lovely marked down at a sale price.
The general price of a high heeled shoe is earmarked at around £70. Flats are between £20-£40 as a whole. Expect to pay £100+ for a pair of knee high boots.
It's my general feeling that most people don't get too excited about the TS sale. In years previous to now they tend to drag out old garments of seasons passed in an attempt to clear out some back room space, with maybe a few items thrown in from the current season which is nearing to an end, which inevitably are snapped up in the blink on an eye. My last experience with the TS sale was last month (Aug 09) where I was given a tip off by a friend who works in Manchester that they had released new clothes and shoes into the sale sections that morning (on a Thursday) and I had better get down there fast after work if I wanted anything. I took her advice and was pleasantly surprised at what was on offer. A huge choice of sale shoes arranged neatly into size sections and the same goes for the clothes. The majority of the current seasons clothing was seperated into size sections ready to browse and at 7pm at night I had my pick of whatever I wanted! Loads of stuff that I'd had my eye on but could ill afford in the previous weeks and months were slashed down to half price and I snapped up a tulip skirt and two pairs of heels, all of which I had been lusting over for months. Needless to say I was very pleased, at the till I paid £74 for items which had an RRP combined of £170.
I definitely think it's all about the timing with TS sales, so I suggest to keep an ear to the ground and have your friends do the same for you, it paid off for me!
To summarise, I could happily buy up almost the whole of TS if I had the money available to me. Unfortunately some or the majority of the prices are unrealistic for the averagely paid full time employed girl like me who has outgoings. But the wonderful designs and lust worthy clothes just keep pulling me back into the store and onto www.topshop.com time and time again. They even manage to squeeze some money out of me sometimes, so they must be doing something right!
I've rated this as a 4 star, I would've been tempted to rate it as a 3 due to the un-coordination of the store and the high prices for essentially cheaply made garments, but the shoe section alone pushes it up to a 4 for me!
Thanks for reading
Summary: Topshop deserves its hype for the gorgeous shoes alone!