Top Shop on Oxford Street. Clothing store or full-fledged mall? Where to start: the mini cupcake shop or the frozen yogurt stand? The personal shopping department or the EAT cafe in the basement? The upscale work-out attire line or the room with all colored jeans?

The store is such a behemoth that my first experience there was more intimidating than exciting. I stepped foot in here during the early weeks of London, when I was still under the very incorrect illusion that I was just visiting. I wanted to go crazy and buy everything that I couldn’t get at home but then visions of monthly Oyster card top-ups, mobile phone fees, eating somewhat decently, and kitchen cleaning supplies started dancing in my head.

I had to stop and remove myself from the store. It was just too financially risky for me to be in there.

This is what you should do: go in, explore, get a little sad, and just take it all in. It’s one of the most impressive clothing stores I’ve been to. But then, take a deep breath, maybe buy a 2 pound head band, get out, and stay out until you are nearing the end of the program and know you have a little extra quid to spend. (If you can’t handle not shopping, go to Primark). At the very least, you can say you’ve been to the Top Shop on Oxford Street.

I learned fast that leisurely shopping for cute outfits was basically at the bottom of my priority list while here. (Just envision packing to go home, your suitcase bursting at the seams… having to pay 60 extra pounds at the baggage check counter…)

Also, there are lots of other, smaller Top Shop locations around the city. Don’t let them distract you, though they may be a little less crowded, Oxford Street is the best by a long shot.

Turns out, the Top Shop gift card I received in December for my birthday has still gone unused. The place is so huge and amazing that I’ve deemed it nearly impossible to pick just one item. Hopefully I can manage before I leave here.

I like shopping just as much as the next girl, but I spent my precious pounds this semester on experiences, rather than material items and won’t regret it for a second. Pub culture and a weekend trip to Florence will always make sweeter memories than that maxi dress you saw on sale (it’s not that cheap).

They don't make it easy to walk away

Megan Kamitsuka

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