Shopping in London: The New Normal

Cheyanne Greig-Andrews discusses what to expect on your next excursion for fashion finds as London reopens its doors.

From pubs to shops to salons, Londoners are enjoying the city’s slow return to normality.

June 15th saw government restrictions lift, allowing non-essential shopping destinations to reopen. This early date saw big-name shopping destinations such as Selfridges and Harrods opening their doors. However, starting this week more local retailers, smaller fashion brands, and family-owned retailers are opening their doors to the public once again.

Londoners have been deprived of the tactile experience of shopping for garments in person. After months of online orders, pesky returns, and nowhere to wear your summer wardrobe, being able to shop for apparel in person with a diverse selection of shops to choose from is a long-awaited treat. However, with many shops having reduced operating hours, fewer staff members, and less physical space than your big name department stores, you’ll want to know what to expect before you go.

For starters, getting to your favourite fashion retailers will require some forethought. Masks are required for public transportation. This can be a medical mask, a handmade face covering, or one of the many stylish face masks brands have been creating recently.

When you arrive, be ready to patiently queue as smaller retailers can be quite limited for physical space. All shops should have sanitizing stations at the door or you can use your own, especially if you want to enjoy touching garments again. Clean hands will ensure that everyone can safely enjoy this sensory experience.

Once you’ve found some pieces you are excited about, what happens next? For clothing trying items on is sadly not allowed as of yet. Holding garments up in a mirror will have to do for now. As for shoes, the Manchester Evening News reported that anyone wanting to try on shoes will need to wear disposable socks to do so, which should be provided in-store.

For many of us, shopping is a social experience. However, the government guidelines ask people to shop alone if you can. I know we all miss shopping with our closest (and most stylish) mates, but for now, a solo shopping excursion is in order.

Local fashion retailers and smaller brands have undoubtedly taken a hit over recent months. Thanks to the reliance of these shops we are seeing London return to the bustling fashion hub it once was. This temporary new normal will be an adjustment, but certainly worth it to be able to shop in person and support local retailers again. Plus, now that pubs are open again you can enjoy a refreshing pint after your long day of London shopping!

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