Oxford Street Shopping for Americans in London

If you walk down Oxford Street between 9 a.m. and 7 p.m. on any given day, you’re in for a game of serious human dodge ball. For every Londoner who knows how to city-street walk there are at least 25 other people who zig and zag, don’t check over their shoulder before crossing the street, walk at a snail’s pace, hit you with their umbrella or shopping bags, wander aimlessly…you get the picture. It’s pretty much utter chaos, so shopping can be a pain in the butt. But as one of the most famous stretch of shops in the world, Oxford completely merits a visit when you come to London. So here’s how to shop Oxford without losing an eye, or emptying your wallet.

Click here for a London shopping guide.

1. Decide What Kind of Shopping You’re Aiming For:

There are two types of shoppers. There’s the mission shoppers where you have a few items or a list of things in mind. You know exactly what stores visit to get them. This determines your pace and the way you walk Oxford. Most shoppers on Oxford aren’t mission shoppers

The second type of shopper is the browser. The browser walks down Oxford, glancing in store window after store window, sometimes deciding to cut across the horde of other people to go inside, sometimes not. Then there are two types of browsers: fast browsers and slow browsers. Fast browsers can walk into a store and determine if it’s worth staying in 3.5 seconds. Slow browsers go into every store, mingle for a while, check out the sale rack, maybe…

So as soon as you know what kind of shopping you want to do you can determine how you’ll experience Oxford.

2. On a Time Limit? Set Shopping Goals

Since it is so long and there are so many stores, it’s a good idea to set shopping goals. For example, if you have a whole day, divide the day in half: pre-lunch try to visit a certain number of stores, and post-lunch try to visit the other half.

3. Start on One End

If you’ve never been to Oxford, it might be a good idea to start on one end of the street and work your way down. The western end is right off the Marble Arch tube stop and the eastern end starts more or less by Tottenham Court Road. Crossing Oxford Street itself can be a pain, so if you’re up for walking, I’d suggest working your way down one side of the road and then crossing over once and working your way back up again.

4. There’s More Than Enough

If you find a cute shirt or a sweet piece of merch at a store, but you’re not sure you’re ready to dish out the cash because you might find a better deal, put the item down and walk out! On Oxford there are at least two of every store so even if you don’t find a cheaper item, you’ll hit the same store a few blocks down and you can purchase it then. So the turtleneck in H&M can wait because Zara might have a cuter one, and if not, there will be another H&M further down the street where you can buy the same shirt.

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