The shops in England reopened on Monday 15th June, putting an end to three months of closures due to the coronavirus pandemic. Whether shopping will feel like a leisure activity again remains to be seen, but if you are planning on heading out with a plan of attack, here are the items our fashion editors recommend adding to your carefully considered shopping list…
As chosen by Tamara Abraham
Stella sunglasses, £209, Carla Colour at Couverture and the Garbstore; Dunaway oversized scarf sunglasses, £195 reduced from £385, Linda Farrow at Liberty; Discomania Alt Fit square-frame sunglasses, £80, LeSpecs at Selfridges
As I’m six months’ pregnant right now and I don’t know what will fit or suit me afterwards, I’m currently limiting my shopping to accessories. Eyewear is one of the hardest things to buy online – there’s just no substitute for checking the fit, width and positioning of a pair of frames on your own face. I love LeSpecs and Linda Farrow, but I’m also especially excited to try designs by some of the newer brands to hit the market, including Monc, Carla Colour and Neubau.
I’m most looking forward to wearing jeans again and I know that must sound crazy after weeks and weeks of elasticated waists. My inspiration is set on Jackie Kennedy in 1968 wearing the perfect monochrome outfit: white jeans and a black tee.
I tend to rely on two brands for my denim jeans and that’s Frame and Levi’s — one for the fit and the latter for comfort. Jeans are one thing that you definitely need to try on in person, in store.
Like Hikmat I have also greatly missed wearing jeans. I favour a stiffer denim which is pretty impractical whilst working from home where loungewear rules supreme. I’ve just bought a new pair that I’m wearing in and can’t wait to put them with some cloppy sounding shoes which I have also been longing to wear as I’ve had trainers for the weekly shop and slippers on rotation. I love these boots from Aeyde as they go up high enough to tuck into trousers and the heel is still a comfortable height. Since boots are out of season at the moment, many styles are on sale – these from Mango have 38% off, and there are cheaper alternatives from Arket and & Other Stories.
A summer cocktail dress
As chosen by Emily Cronin
Sophia dress, £275, Isabelle Fox
I am yearning – yearning, I tell you – to be able to meet friends for a cocktail. In my mind I imagine this happening on a balmy evening, in a pretty pub garden, with fairy lights twinkling overhead. That kind of thing used to be too normal to merit new clothes, but let’s get real: right now, any outing seems worth celebrating. It was with the promise of small-scale summer socialising in mind that I treated myself to this Isabelle Fox dress in embroidered Swiss cotton. It was a bit of an impulse buy (a discount code pushed me over the edge), but let’s re-frame that as an impulse investment. After all, this dress is elegant, timeless and flattering – all traits I can raise a toast to. Obviously.
As chosen by Caroline Leaper
Madrid big buckle sandals, £70, Birkenstock at Office
The only shoes I’ve worn all lockdown have been flats (I can’t currently see a day when I’d ever want to wear heels again) and for as long as the weather has allowed, it’s been sandals. Chunky, comfy soles have been essential for the daily walks – so much so that the pair I bought last year are now looking a bit battered. It’s time for some new ones. I haven’t decided yet between three different pairs of Birkenstocks from Office, but the beauty of the shops reopening means that, if the queues are not too bad, I can try them all on in person before making my pick. I think these are currently the frontrunner…
It might be sacrilege to say this, but I’m not after clothes. I’ve realised during lockdown that I have more clothes than I could possibly ever need or wear; I’ve got every event covered from conservative Christening to fancy dress, black tie and country casuals. What I am looking forward to, though, and what doesn’t translate to online shopping, is expert opinion. For some I know this means bra fittings, for others, it’s the right pair of trainers for your gait and exercise of choice.
For me, I’m looking forward to getting advice on my skincare routine. How to apply, what brands to use, which products to use in which order, and what is best for my skin type. While we won’t be able to test drive in store, the reopening of retail means that we will be able to get face-to-face (to face-to-visor-to-face) troubleshooting advice.
Anything – surprise me!
As chosen by Bethan Holt
Gold bracelet, £140, Moya at Liberty; Floral shirt, £125, Liberty
When I’ve shopped online during lockdown, it has always been for something I’ve decided I really do require – new running leggings, a couple of sundresses, a few fresh summer T-shirts. I spot the gap in my wardrobe, then search away for the perfect pieces. But what I have really missed is that joy of discovery – the amble and browse, suddenly being confronted with something you never knew you needed, until that very moment.
Admittedly, it’s been much better for my bank balance not to have these unplanned splurges (and long before coronavirus, I’d been seeking to keep them to a minimum) but it will feel like such treat to experience that I-want-it-now feeling for the first time in months. I’m counting on Liberty to deliver just the thing I didn’t need.