Inside Topshop: Cute Merchandise, Questionable Décor

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So much to look at ... Photo: Courtesy of Topshop

After reading some not-so-stellar critiques of Topshop, we had to bite the bullet and see for ourselves. The opening was one thing, but the stock is ever changing, with items selling out rapidly and new merch quickly hitting the floor. So we braved the crowds on various days — yes, there was a line but if you go during the day it's not so bad — to see what everyone was grumbling about. Most of the Cut have been to the London locations numerous times and are big fans: Can the New York flagship hold up to Oxford Circus?

Upon first entering, we have to admit we were overwhelmed by the décor. Color, hanging flowers, loud music — everything comes at you from all sides. It's a bit distracting, but if you can ignore it and focus on the clothes, you'll find some really great pieces to add to your wardrobe. There were at least four tops and a few dresses we wanted on the first floor alone. The second floor was easier on the eyes — though just as crowded as downstairs. We suggest skipping the designer "Boutique" section unless you're looking for one-off items you won't wear more than once. The third-floor basics and bathing suits we'll be hitting up again, especially as the weather heats up.

The accessories are by far the biggest letdown. We love the jewelry — we'd absolutely wear the bracelets and necklaces. Much cooler and better quality than H&M's, with tons of styles and trends to choose from on all floors. But the bag selection is smaller than what Oxford has — and that was one of our favorite things to buy at Topshop. The shoes are all too "designer inspired" for our liking.

For all the complaints we've heard — things are too trendy or even "tacky" — we suggest approaching the clothes with a keen eye for editing. You can't pull an outfit ready to go; rather, find a shirt here and there and mix it in with what you own. The prices might be a bit higher than H&M's, but so is the style and the quality. (Most of our Topshop apparel has lasted years.) Perhaps the store is a victim of overhyping, but it's still a good, fun, and relatively inexpensive place to find cute and trendy clothes for the season. And who wants to spend a fortune on anything right now?