The 100 best shops in London: 60-51

Going shopping in London? Plan where to head with our round-up of the city’s finest retailers, from cheap vintage shops to world famous department stores

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60

T&F Slack Shoemakers

Best for
Elegant and unusual shoes for men and women

Don’t miss
The affordable made-to-order service

How much?

 

Think you can’t afford handmade shoes? Or that they’re just for City gents with a taste for the traditional? Think again. T&F Slack – a west London shoemaker run by couple Tim and Fiona Slack – has made it its business to create hand-cobbled shoes with a price tag you won’t baulk at. Not only that, but the designs are creative, contemporary and just a little tongue-in-cheek.

For girls, there are oxfords jacked up on heels, loafers with blood-red soles and lace-ups on wedges. For men, oxfords, derbys, desert boots and creepers all star colourful bottoms and subversive twists – prices start at £185. If you opt for a bespoke service (an additional £50), you can add your own tweaks to the material and colour of the soles, upper and welt. Then just stand back and watch them being made in the open-plan workshop-cum-boutique up near Golborne Road.

  1. 6 Buspace Studios, Conlan St, W10 5AP
  2. www.tandfslackshoemakers.com
    Ladbroke Grove tube
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59

James Smith & Sons

Best for
Umbrellas of every description

Don’t miss
The classic malacca handled umbrella

How much?

 

If there’s one essential accessory for life in London, it’s an umbrella. James Smith & Sons have been selling them since 1830 when James Smith opened up a shop in nearby Foubert’s Place. It moved to its current position in New Oxford Street in 1857 and has been doing a roaring trade in umbrellas ever since, no doubt thanks to the British weather.

The attractive gold gilt shopfront with distinctive black lettering has remained unchanged for the past 140 years and the customer service here is old school too. As well as a whole array of ceremonial umbrellas there are plenty of beautifully designed everyday styles such as the classic malacca handled city umbrella. Just don’t go leaving your new purchase on the tube.

  1. 53 New Oxford St, WC1A 1BL
  2. www.james-smith.co.uk
    Tottenham Court Rd tube
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58

Caravan

Best for
Quirky home accessories

Don’t miss
The original range of lamps for kids

How much?

 

Fans of interiors expert Emily Chalmers’s eclectic style will be pleased to discover the latest incarnation of her Caravan boutique is by appointment only (think bonus one-to-one interiors advice as you shop). The unlikely housing-estate location gives an otherworldly feel to the treasures within: pineapple wall sconces (£99), Lee Broom crystal bulbs (£189), tiny satin baby shoes (£8.95) and billowy handmade drapes (£199) made from the stitched-together spoils of a lifetime scouring markets for silk scarves.

Chalmers’ eye for offbeat home accessories is showcased to perfection here but it’s her knack for spotting vintage classics that feel right for now that really sets her apart. She no longer stocks the French-industrial Jieldé lamps she made an interiors-spread staple but one look at her re-issued Stoke-on-Trent ceramic swans (£55) and you won’t be able to imagine your living room without one.

  1. 5 Ravenscroft St, E2 7SH
  2. www.caravanstyle.com
    Hoxton rail
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57

Lewis Leathers

Best for
Luxe biker leathers

Don’t miss
The classic leather biker jacket

How much?

 

It's the heritage leather biker brand that boasts fashion icons Cara Delevigne and Kate Moss as customers – along with serious rockers like The Clash. Perhaps you'll have noticed the snug-fitting trousers in the 1970s film ‘Rollerball’ – a pair of Lewis Leathers originals. Established in 1892, the history of Lewis Leathers is physically in the writing on the wall of its Fitzrovia shop, re-opened in 2010 and plastered in nostalgic posters from the TT racer days of the ’20s and through to the ’60s and ’70s.

Here you can pick and choose from a wide range of leather goods, whether it’s a classic racer jacket, trousers, a studded belt or some seriously sleek heeled boots. The shop also stocks a variety of denim, T-shirts, sneakers, goggles and even books, including its current issue of ‘Men’s File Archive’. Of course, quality leather like this, especially the jackets, can cost you a pretty penny (upwards of £600). To get your leather fitting like a glove, you can inquire about the made-to-measure service (from £20).

  1. 3-5 Whitfield St, W1T 2SA
  2. www.lewisleathers.com
    Tottenham Court Rd tube
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56

Kristina Records

Best for
Undergound, independent record labels

Don’t miss
Exclusive house titles

How much?

 

Nowadays, buying great music on vinyl is as convenient as a click. Convenience doesn’t always equal satisfaction though. What makes this Dalston record shop so special is that it’s a living, breathing experience for living, breathing music fans. A clean and uncluttered layout makes Kristina’s platters matter far more than a website could ever do.

For the dedicated dance music fan, their racks of new house and techno are a goldmine, while expertly chosen oldies of a soul and jazz bent are represented too. Keeping things even more alive, they also host some killer in-store parties boasting the best of the underground dance world rocking amongst the racks.

  1. 44 Stoke Newington Road, N16 7XJ
  2. www.kristinarecords.com
    Dalston Kingsland rail
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55

Alexander McQueen

Best for
Designer womenswear

Don’t miss
The moulded walls featuring tiny skulls and mini gargoyles

How much?

 

The baroque paneling, white and grey expanses of marble and silver and gold gilded mirrors of the newly refurbished Alexander McQueen flagship reminds you that this is indeed a very posh shop. But as with all things McQueen, in amongst the splendour something sinister must lurk. Look at the foot of chairs and tables and you’ll see claws and hoofs. Gargoyles and skulls grimace and twist furtively in amongst the flora and fauna of the moulded plaster panels. The devil, as they say, is in the detail.

The Savile Row men’s store has similarly macabre touches. Its basement space is also a bespoke tailoring workshop, much to the approval of the rest of the Row, who haven’t always been welcoming to fashion brands.

  1. 4-5 Old Bond St, W1S 4PD
  2. www.alexandermcqueen.com
    Green Park tube
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54

Drakes

Best for
Old school men’s ties and scarves

Don’t miss
The classic paisley-print ties

How much?

 

The Drakes look is classic British style as imagined by the Italians. But the company isn’t Italian; it was started by a Brit. So it’s a Brit take on Brit style, as imagined by Italians. Confused? You needn’t be. The quality of a Drakes tie is stout and robust. They’re made in their own factory in Clerkenwell. Meanwhile, the exuberant designs and joyful sense of colour, texture and pattern owe more than a little to the Amalfi coast, Tuscany and Florence. But not too much. A sense of English understatement reins it in. There are lots of simple blue ties too.

This subtle interplay between exuberance and understatement is what makes Drakes unique. The atmosphere and ambience of the shop reflects this. Its parquet floors and soft white walls provide a neutral backdrop to showcase all of that colour and pattern.

  1. 3 Clifford St, W1S 2LF
  2. www.drakes-london.com
    Green Park tube
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53

John Simons

Best for
Traditional Americana

Don’t miss
The vast array of vintage 501s

How much?

 

Established in 1955 the John Simons shop is as much of an Ivy League institution to men’s fashion in London as Harvard or Yale. Like the notes of a great jazz record, the products here have the appearance of being thrown together at random, but are in fact, artfully placed. It feels possible to stumble across a great outfit quite serendipitously.

The foundation of the Ivy League wardrobe is here: Harrington jackets, button down shirts, knit ties, chinos and penny loafers – the kind of clothes you see on the cover of Blue Note albums. Lots of shops now sell this look but John Simons is the correct, authentic version, the one Miles Davis would approve of.

  1. 46 Chiltern St, W1U 7QR
  2. www.johnsimons.co.uk
    Baker St tube
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52

Blackout II

Best for
Quality retro clothing and all the trimmings

Don’t miss
The dazzling retro accessories

How much?

 

There are dozens of good vintage stores in London, but this Covent Garden gem remains a firm favourite with the Time Out team. This bijou shop has been providing bright and beautiful frocks, handbags, shoes and all the trimmings for the past two and a half decades. Here you will find a wonderful array of dress-up clothes, from ’30s cocktail frocks to full-skirted ’50s dresses and some slinky Dynasty-esque numbers.

Downstairs in the small but stuffed basement you can spend ages having a good old rummage and sift through a good selection of shoes from ’30s court shoes to ’60s knee-length boots, while upstairs you’ll find fancy frocks and ace accessories. Ask nicely and the staff will help you find the outfit of your dreams.

  1. 51 Endell St, WC2H 9AJ
  2. www.blackout2.com
    Covent Garden tube
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51

Monki

Best for
Hip teen fashion

Don’t miss
The cheap and original accessories

How much?

 

We can’t imagine what cool teens did before this edgy and affordable fashion store arrived on Carnaby Street. Heralding from Sweden, Monki’s aesthetic is a bold urban one featuring cute animal prints, oddly shaped sweater dresses and eccentric accessories – current hits include the animal print backpacks, chunky leather ankle boots and cute wooly mittens emblazoned with big logos for less than a fiver. The London store is big, bold and airy with enthusiastic staff who wear the label with a wonky haircut and plenty of ’tude.

  1. 39 Carnaby St , W1F 7DP
  2. www.monki.com
    Oxford Circus tube
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Continue to numbers 50-41 in our list

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