The following is our potted list of Oxford clothing outlets, as recommended by Daily Info staff members. For bigger shopping benders, try the heaps of designer outlets at Bicester Shopping Village instead. You can even get a direct train there now!
The high-end chain fashion shops in Oxford (Karen Millen, Coast, etc.) tend to be concentrated on the High Street, though you will find other interesting independents tucked away on Little Clarendon Street, in Summertown and beyond. Some of the most popular bigger stores and a few indies are listed below.
For larger sizes, Daily Info can recommend Bravissimo (8 Broad Street, 01865 790023) for a free fitting that may revolutionise your shape, comfort and posture. They estimate that 40% of UK women are wearing the wrong bra size. It's a very girly but quite nice place to go and choose pretty bras in larger sizes.
For classic clothes, try Jaeger (13-15 Magdalen Street, 01865 724943) or the designer sections in Debenhams. Both sell high quality dresses, separates, knitwear and outdoor wear and correspondingly high prices.
The following main contenders are available in central Oxford:
'High Street' Chain Stores
Next, 20-21 Cornmarket St / Cowley Retail Park
Tel: 0870 3865315
Definitely a cut above the other chain stores, if more expensive. Classic and up-to-date fashion, including separates, dresses, coats, lingerie, shoes and knitwear.
TopShop / TopMan, Queen Street
Tel: 01865 244237
Trendy, sparkly delights loosely based on the latest catwalk releases, such as skinny young things wear in pictures on Instagram.
Primark, Queen Street
Tel: 01865 203655
As directly above, only far cheaper and more likely to fall apart. A sewing machine is a recommended associated purchase. (How do they make it so cheap? We can think of a few answers.)
Sweaty Betty, 108 High St
Tel: 01865 202644
Not a high street staple exactly, but a popular chain catering to the growing hoards of yoga practitioners. They stock all sorts of women's sports clothing, including lots and lots of leggings.
The discerning skater will be interested in visiting 420 (116 Cowley Rd, 01865 201089) for boards, clothes and accessories (spray cans, helmets and such). The Cult Clothing megastore that used to be on St Ebbe's has since been replaced with a Superdry.
Some other posh, interesting shops about which we know little are as follows (we're a scruffy bunch - do tell us more if you know it):
Hobbs 115 High St, OX1 4BX (map) - 01865 249437
Rainbow and Spoon Boutique 22 Park End St, OX1 1HU (map) - 01865 723492
Next to Nothing Avenue 4 The Covered Market, OX1 3DZ (map) - 01865 246919
Toast 103 High Street, OX1 4BW (map) - 01865 723436
Out of Town
TK Maxx, The John Allen Centre, Between Towns Road, Temple Cowley. Map
Tel: 01865 773734
For designer fashion at knock-down prices. Be prepared for elbow knocking, jumble-sale style, as you will have to do some rifling through the racks to find the good stuff. Also assorted homewares.
The Ballroom, The Plain (Magdalen Bridge roundabout) OX4 1AS. Map
Tel: 01865 2020303
Premade vintage and not-so-vintage gowns available to try on in huge exotic dressing room. Alterations and hire possible.
For traditional menswear and service (ie, they call you 'sir'), we recommend the following:
Shepherd and Woodward (109-113 High Street, tel 01865 249491) sell academic dress, college scarves, ties etc and do evening and academic dress hire. Walter's (Turl Street, tel 01865 241848) who do evening dress hire, upmarket shirts and are good for large sizes which you might be hard pressed to find anywhere else, also made-to-measure suits. The Ballroom Emporium (already mentioned above) supply formal wear to buy and hire, plus a very wide selection of hats.
There's also Ede & Ravenscroft (High St, 01865 242756), the "robermakers to HM the Queen", who make extremely fancy suits, academic dress and wigs.