For/Against: TOPSHOP

Are you a Topshop devotee? Find out what our writers have For and Against the high street giant

for against for/against topshop


What is there not to love about Topshop? On Saturday, I was in London in the Topshop store, which is so much more than a store, it’s like a fashionista’s haven. The Topshop look does not consist of merely clothes; the fabulous accessories include every jewellery accessory under the sun, bags, shoes; there are even hairdressers and manicurists. Where else can you create a whole fashion persona under one roof?

It is not only us Brits who are gaga for Topshop – wherever I go in the world, if you say “London” to any girl, Topshop is always on the same must do list as Big Ben or Harrods… there is a reason it’s going global!

I have an American cousin who, whenever she came to stay in the UK (to a larger extent before the store went to NYC) would easily spend six hours in Topshop, with a 15 minute lunch break (not for the fainthearted!) She knew when she got home to the States, fashion would be her forte and she would be ahead of the All American girls. Topshop: avant-garde… check, and hot to trot… check!

What is more, as of last week, Topshop has fair-trade clothes and jewellery in store. This means that dropping a ton of money in there is no longer a guilty pleasure but a great pastime – I like!

The reason I love Topshop so much is that it is not the kind of store you enter into and automatically come out looking like the brand’s clone. Ok, some people may choose to, but unlike Jack Wills and other stores, it is definitely not compulsory! Most fashion stereotypes can shop in the store, as they cater for most people, be it vintage or the latest Kate Moss creation.

Therefore, girls, you have two decisions: fight the Topshop trend, for some obscure intellectual argument about not wanting to be a style sheep, or flaunt it and feel fabulous. I know which option I would pick!

Julia Restoin Roitfeld sporting a Topshop dress


I should precede this by clarifying that while I’m technically against the so-called “Topshopoly”, I actually own quite a lot of their stuff. Why? Because not only do they beat most other stores in the race to translate high fashion into high street, they also produce great basics and collaborate with the coolest of designers. In short, I like their clothes. I just wish everyone else didn’t.

Be honest, who doesn’t love being greeted with a “where did you get your bag/shoes/blazer” compliment? But no matter how fab you look in your new season batwing trench or stripy, motif knits, that question will never come… because not only does everyone already know where it’s from, they probably own it too.

Maybe this is only a problem that applies to those of us who get a bit shopetitive™ with our friends (if you’ve ever had an “I saw it first” argument with your mate while out shopping, this is probably you) but deep down most of us would probably admit to enjoying having an air of mystique around where our outfits come from. Quite apart from this there is also massive potential for turning up to formal/a bop/May Ball in the same outfit as some other poor young thing – a faux pas of epic proportions.

The stars have jumped on the bandwagon too: everyone from Anna Friel to Olivia Palermo to Pixie Lott loves a bit of Toppers. You might well think that this is a good thing – after all we can truly steal the style of our favourite celebs if they get their gear on the high street, right? Think again: if someone famous wears something unbelievably cool yet affordable (if one is willing to live on Sainsbury’s basics for a bit) it will sell out faster than you can say “sequin hotpants”. Fact.

Topshop will always be a high street giant – one tiny rant about being fed up with lectures looking like their store window won’t change that, but my advice would be: proceed with caution. When you find yourself heading to the till with a “must-buy” item, stop and think to yourself “will I still love it when everyone else in town has one?” But if the answer’s yes then (Top)shop away!

Solange Knowles and Hayley Williams sporting the same Topshop dress