Good for: well-priced designer finds for men and women, men’s and women’s accessories
Shop Count: 10
This hilly, green (when not covered in snow like today) area of North London is well know for its well-to-do neighbourhoods and thus, it’s pre-loved designer fashion stock is up there with the best. While prices aren’t – naturally – rock-bottom, they are relatively reasonable in comparison with some of the prices in the south-western boroughs of London.
I get off at Belsize Park Underground Station, because the Fara there is one of my favourites in this area and its closest on the tube from Central London, but you could easily start in Hampstead Heath and work up from there.
Fara, Belsize Park
Fara is an absolute gem of a charity shop, sitting on an otherwise unoccupied spot (by other charity shops) on the high street, it receives the best of the best, yet they do not overstock the rails so hunting is made largely fuss-free. It’s womenswear is a fantastic combination of Maje, Lululemon, Sweaty Betty, Chloé, Elle Tahari and Cos, among just a few. Not to mention the Ferragamo pumps and Paige jeans. Prices are reasonable, and often reduced if not sold quickly. I never leave without at least three beautiful designer bargains.
Fara’s menswear is equally fantastic: trendy Scotch and Soda jackets, Burberry city coats, Pepe Jeans shirts, Hilfiger denim items and All Saints leather jackets. All at great price points.
I also rate how good they are at listing issues with garments, look for the ‘as seen’ note on the handwritten cardboard labels tied with string on each piece.
A 5 minute walk down towards the shops opposite Hampstead Heath station, we find Octavia Foundation, Hampstead Heath.
Prices are higher here, but they have some lovely basics from Charli, silk shirts and jackets from Whistles, dresses by Sea of New York, items from Cos, Sandro, Zadig & Voltaire, Carven and more. They also have some great bags and shoes, particularly of the trendy vintage variety.
It is an absolute must-see for men’s designer silk ties – Kenzo, Missoni, Calvin Klein, Savoy Tailors Guild etc.
Just a few shops up you find Shelter, Hampstead Heath, which like many of the shops from the organisation, is beautifully laid out and bright. Much more like a traditional shop, rather than your average charity shop.
The accessories here and the shoes are the biggest draw – Jil Sander boots and many other top designer. The clothes tend to be along the French designer irk – Maje, Sandro etc. and also premium high street brands such as Reiss and Whistles. Everything is always of high quality. I also found a beautiful unbranded cream shearling coat with delicate embroidery, which would make an absolute show-stopping addition to anyone’s wardrobe.
The menswear has a relatively large selection of brands including Hackett, Paul Smith, Ben Sherman, All Saints etc. which is definitely worth a leisurely look through.
While I’m here I pop into Polly’s Cafe, initially only for a hot chocolate with cream (it is snowing and it’s the tastiest I’ve had in London), but I’m quickly taken in by the charming couple who run it and stay for a warming bowl of Chickpea and Spinach soup. A family recipe, I’m told, and utterly divine. It’s got an unpretentious vibe, and as I leave a man says “that’s what I like about this place – the service!”. He’s not wrong.
A 10 minute walk up Rosslyn Hill, we come in to the charity shops of Hampstead. On a small side road on the right, Gayton Road, you’ll find my favourite in this area: Oxfam.
It’s a treasure trove of men’s, women’s and high-End bric-a-brac. In the men’s I’ve found Dolce and Gabbana polo tops and JW Anderson tshirts for extremely reasonable prices. The women’s section is larger, with its own designer rail, but there are often many designer bargains to be had elsewhere if you look. Normally great for activewear, Sweaty Betty and Lululemon, I’ve picked up Gina shoes, D&G jumpers, Rag and Bone jeans, Joseph, Theory, Missoni and more over the years.
Back onto the high street, you’ll come to Designs consignment store, probably because you’ve seen a pair of Prada shoes which are extremely reasonably priced. It’s just womenswear in there, but there are two floors and just the most beautiful stock of clothes, shoes and a few bags and jewellery. I very nearly bought a Chloé denim skirt for just £40 and the lady who runs the shop is an absolute delight.
Cross over to the left hand side and you’ll find la crème-de-la-crème of crepe stands, La Crêperie de Hampstead. Savoury or sweet, buckwheat or normal – they’re fantastic and there’s always a queue at the weekends. They’ve been there decades, so you know it’s good.
Right next door you’ll see Cancer Research, which is jam packed full of designer pieces, though on the pricier side. Men’s ties also very good here, and some excellent knitwear to be had.
A left on tiny side-street, Oriel Place, will bring you to the adorable Mary’s Living and Giving for Save the Children. Downstairs you have a plethora of designer bags, shoes and clothes for women and upstairs in the cottage-style shop sits the menswear and some children’s wear too. The quality is always extremely high, and the pieces are largely modern. The stock is fairly priced, but occasionally I also get the thrill of an absolute steal in here too.
On my way up the hill to Hampstead Underground Station I stop off in Exclusivo on Flask Walk to check out the designer clothes currently under consignment. If you have the budget, this shop is a total treasure trove. I say that for two reasons: this bijoux store houses every designer label under the sun and you’ll have to sort through the tiny racks to find them. The menswear is just as good as the women’s, Mr Uppish bought an Hermes tie and two Prada knits in there.