Stoke Newington

Good for: pretty high street with excellent vintage shopping, designer bargains and yummy cafés

Shop count: 5

Today I head to picturesque Church Street in Stoke Newington. For me, it’s the perfect blend of coffee shops that are suitably hipster without being pretentious and great independent and charity shops.

First stop is Mary’s Living and Giving. Mary Portas did a great job with charity Save the Children, putting forward a winning formula for how to make charity shopping more boutique. The stock is presented well and they make it easy to find your size. There is a fantastic range of designer labels in here for very reasonable prices. We’re talking brand new Alexander McQueen for between £30-60, Proenza Schouler for £80 and everything is in spick and span condition. You do also have some high street pieces from Zara and Topshop though I notice unlike some other ML&G’s, the prices of these are not inflated just because of the other higher end stock. £6 for a nearly new Zara blouse is still completely reasonable.

They also have a small but perfectly formed menswear section. I very almost bought a soft red Vivienne Westwood jumper with zip detailing over one shoulder seam for £30, but couldn’t face the rejection if Alex didn’t love it as much as I did. So, it’s still on the shelf – go and get it! Lots of Paul Smith and some little vintage/retro bits in there too if that’s more your bag.

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Next, it’s time for me to sample the edible wares of Stoke Newington and right next door there is, conveniently, the loveliest little cafe serving fresh food, pastries and most importantly a generous-sized Americano, Ribbons & Taylor. I love that they kept the original frontage and I’ve fallen for the mirrored cupboard doors as wall hangings on the wall. Recommended pit stop.

On my way to my next charity shop appointment, Children’s Air Ambulance, I spot a second hand bookshop, Church Street Bookshop, the smell of old books a tonic for the nose. Not necessarily, or rather, not at all, to do with fashion but I’m a sucker for pre-loved stories of any kind both written and spoken.

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Another worthy pit stop, perhaps to mull over the first few pages of your new book, is The Green Room Cafe, a café aptly named given you walk through a beautiful florist to get there.

Our next charity shop is Children’s Air Ambulance which has a brilliant selection of children’s clothing. The womenswear is also very reasonably priced (Whistles dress £6) and the menswear is even better value – COS and Barbour jumpers both in excellent condition and a bargain at £5.

Just further down the road sits Mind, to which vintage seekers should instantly flock. They have a beautifully curated section of high quality men’s and women’s vintage clothes. There are other bargains to be had in the store and they conveniently arrange some (but not all so remember to check all rails) of their high-end designer gear on a specific rail. I spotted a couple of Marni items for £40 a piece, Sparkle & Fade and also Essentiel Antwerp. The menswear was also worth a look, with brands including COS, Reiss and All Saints aplenty.

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As Church Street comes to an end, hop over the road to the RSPCA which, though it requires a little more sorting through, does have some good finds. I bought a Henry Holland Tshirt for £4 in the menswear section and found various upper high street bargains from Whistles, Reiss, Jaeger and even Vivienne Westwood. Footwear was also good, I left a beautiful pair of Comptoir des Cotonniers patent loafers on the shelf for another bargain hunter.

Finish off with another coffee or a pick me up from Haberdashery a few steps down. The Crouch End branch is ever popular and I have no doubt this branch will be equally impressive