One of the biggest benefits of shopping independent boutiques is that it gives you the freedom to really transform your wardrobe. Do you ever go to work and think “I bet someone else could be wearing this” or heading out to a party (especially a wedding…) and worry that someone else may in the exact same outfit. I believe the more you shop local and stay true to your own personal style the less chance this has of happening. Simply because, no one else is YOU.
By having the confidence to not follow every latest item and purchasing items that you truly love; you’ll want to keep them longer, you’ll cherish them and you’ll know that no one else will have styled it the same way as YOU.
THE BENEFITS OF SHOPPING INDEPENDENT BOUTIQUES
Unique pieces – I find most boutiques, whether it’s in store or online will always have more to offer in terms of ‘I’ve not seen that before’ – The more you add into your wardrobe of items such as bags, shoes, jewellery and so on of this nature the more your wardrobe will become unique to you and your personal style
New & upcoming brands – what I particularly love is how they offer you brands that are available globally but they edit their own version, unique to their store, and their customers – so whilst many boutiques offer similar upcoming brands or brands from abroad, rarely do they stock the same pieces – this is how I have discovered brands over time like Essential Antwerp, SET fashion, Hope & Ivy, B Young, plus it gives me the chance to continue loving brands like Soaked in Luxury that I have worn for years.
Explore your local area – try and avoid shopping in the same place all the time, one of the best ways of getting new inspiration is changing location, and therefore changing shops. I shop Wendover, Berkhamsted, St Albans, Gerrands Cross, Bicester, Thame, Marlow, Henley-on-Thames and many many more destinations – each offering me something different.
Get over the mindset it will be expensive – It can be at times, but for the most part, most of these independent boutiques offer a wide range of items at various prices.
And you do not have to have any ‘Pretty Woman’ moments, you are the customer with the money and I don’t know one boutique at the moment who can afford to turn customers away. If their item is out of your budget, tell them (don’t be silly in thinking you’ll be paying H&M prices) but if you only want to spend £45 on a blouse, then don’t feel pressured into spending more, just politely say to them that’s all you are looking to spend and two things are likely to happen – firstly if they really want to sell, and they can afford to come down to your price, they may just offer you some discount with terms being you cannot return it. Or they won’t do this, but they will make a mental note that they lost a customer and next buying season you may have an impact of what brands they buy for the store.
Shop the sales – one of the first places I head to when the sales are on is the independent boutiques for two reasons; I want independents to stay and so the more I can help them clear their stock, the better the chances they have of having being there in the future and secondly they have real sales, none of this pathetic 20% off! When a boutique wants to clear for the new season they offer 40-60% off and you can get some fabulous high quality brands at great sale prices.
Other benefits of shopping independent boutiques also are:
If we are not just talking clothing boutiques, I find that little gift shops offer gift-wrapping at no extra charge, this is not only a fabulous value-add purchase, but it saves me more time and money trying to sort this if it’s a present for someone – and occasionally I like my own purchases to look like gifts (well it makes me happy).
Shopping in local destinations normally means fabulous independent cafes – so take a friend and have a good old coffee and chat either pre or post shopping.
I take my dog – yes a lot of boutiques have cotton on to the fact that dog-owners with no children tend to have fairly good disposal income levels, and are quite happy to put up with your pooch for you to shop at your leisure – I love this perk, it really helps me, and just as long as you are not going in with some very hairy massive beast of a dog, I think it’s fab – Alfonso is fully trained in the art of shopping, knows not to touch and behaves by lying down whilst I try on clothes.
A few things you may have to consider when SHOPPING INDEPENDENT BOUTIQUES
See it, Buy it – it’s as simple as that, they cannot cater for everyone, they cannot hold stock for months on end. By all means ask them if something has sold out, you never know they might be happy to get a some more in. But my moto is very much: “See it, buy it – or don’t moan about it!”
They may not offer you a refund back on your credit card – I have been caught out by this more than once. Check the terms and conditions before purchasing, they will tell you if they will or if they do store vouchers instead. It’s not possible for the majority to offer ‘normal’ retail policies of returning in 28 days, each boutique (unless you shop online) can set their own rules – so check, it’s your responsibility (I learnt the hard way).
Here are some of my favourite independent boutiques
Some you have to visit in person, other are online only or some offer you both!
CHLOE JAMES LIFESTYLE
I have been a fan of Chloe James Lifestyle for years; regular readers will know that I also join in on their seasonal fashion shows, which I absolutely love – real girls team!
Great clothing brands, lots of gorgeous accessories, I have recently purchased this Bee brooch as worn below – And I tend to buy a lot of my cards from there too – the staff are very friendly and chatty too!
A new brand that I found via Instagram. I absolutely love these shoes and they will remain with me, forever. They so say Lizzi.
VITAGRACE is an online boutique offer a selection of clothes and accessories.
TORIA LEE ACCESSORIES
This is another online store that has featured on my blog before. Toria Lee Accessories offers a range of bags, jewellery and tops – there is something for everyone there!
With shops available in both Wendover and Marlow you can be sure to be greeted by lovely staff. My Loved By Lizzi look for the blog was using the Essential Antwerp dress I purchased from Wendover store – just see the header banner on my blog
THE FORGE BOUTIQUE
I have shopped in their stores for YEARS!!! Clothing is ‘One size fits all’ 😉 and they have a fabulous range of bags, shoes, belts – it’s the kind of store that will only have one or two pieces of the same thing so when it’s gone it’s gone – and you can’t guarantee to get it one of their other stores, but they will phone round for you and check whilst you’re there which is very helpful! The ladies are relaxed and lovely and they just leave you to get on with it – so zero pressure to buy! Stores are in Berkhamsted, Wendover, Gerrands Cross, Harpenden – and yes I have been to them all!
SUZY D LONDON
I’m going to finish off with Suzy D London, a new boutique for me. They recently contacted me to work with them on Instagram and I have been really impressed with the quality. The items were gifted but I do see myself shopping there in future. It’s an online store and Suzy D London are offering my readers 20% by using LOVEDBYLIZZI – the offer is not valid on sale items or 153 Ultimate Joggers – and it’s not an affiliate purchase to Loved By Lizzi.
So I am hoping you will see the benefits of shopping independent boutiques and if you have your own favourite, why not give them a SHOUT OUT in the comments below! You never know… I may just give it a go myself!