I went back. I couldn't resist the pull. Why? Because there's a sale - recommended by a friend - that's actually a sale.
None of this "£20 & under" where everything is £20 (reduced from £25) malarky. As it's what feels like years since I last set foot in here, it feels like it's changed - upstairs is much more organised and spacious somehow. Yes, I got lost looking for the till, but that's because it's moved since 2012.
The sale itself was pretty impressive; since when did Topshop hire people who cared about what the shop looked like more than themselves? Everything was organised by size and, in some ways, clothing type. As with any sale, not everything was in the right place, but it's easy enough to find your way around. If you need a pair of jeans for £25 - one pair I spotted were only £5 - you should probably pop along.
I walked away with a basic black skirt and a jumper with a panther face. The till point was busy and the queue pretty long, but all was forgiven due to the guy serving, who was happy to have a quick chat, ask if you want your hangers, then wish you a good evening in a pretty sincere way.
I have my suspicions that this whole experience was only so positive because I was partaking in an evening shopping treat. On a Saturday, I wouldn't think of stepping a New Look clad foot in here.
Ah, Topshop. The shop I fear during sales as it all gets a bit mad and crowded and you're fighting any number of boho headbanded bottle gingers with thick liquid liner for the last pair of size 8 harem pants. The shop where Kate Moss brought out a range that I genuinely don't understand why anyone got excited about. The shop where in Manchester, we have two gigantic floors, with not only your classic Topshop wear but a huge range of vintage clothing, individual boutique concessions and maternity, petite and tall items.
Yes, Topshop has come a long way from the store I remember as a kid. It's reinvigorated itself tenfold to become something of a warehouse of variety, with a shoe department to rival standalone shoe shops. It's bought into the current indie girl trend of wanting to mix high street chic with vintage tat. And it does it well. The only thing I don't agree on is the increase in price.
Topshop used to be cheap n' cheerful, now you're paying £40 for crop tops. How does this happen? The fact that you've got Kate Moss supposedly 'designing' for you doesn't increase your status. Well, not to me, I've never liked Kate Moss. I can honestly say it's been a long time since I've bought anything from Topshop and it'll take a mighty good sale to get me in there again (plus I'd have to brace myself... weekdays mean nothing to Topshoppers as a lot of them are students anyway. Gah). But it does have the occasional gem, and you can't argue with the size. Manchester's Topshop rivals London's, I'm sure of it.
Topshop never fails. It always manages to hit the spot, and provide the item you have been looking for. So once you are prepared for it's ever increasing prices, you are good to go!
This Topshop is particularly large and stock all of the concessions, such as Rare**, Motel etc. It also stocks the designers@ Topshop range ie Christopher Kane's wacky animal print range. It also has a massive shoe section and has a large range of Office shoes too.
It has recently had a nifty little computer installed that let's you go online to Topshop.com, pick an item that isn't in the store, it then gets delivered to the store and wowza, there it is! Although this seems cool, it always baffles me as to why you don't just order your clothes from the comfort of your own home. Oh well, each to their own...
I love Topshop and this one is one of my fav because it has everything!
The other day I was flicking through the Guardian's website, when an article by my beloved Jess Cartner-Morley (she's double barelled, like me. I feel like we're sommehow kindred spirits) popped up. It was a letter to Topshop, detailing why, finally, their love affair was over. In that instant, I realised two things:
- I have not bought anything from Topshop for two years, save for a pair of knickers, which I never wear because they're cut weird.
- Whenever anyone mentions Topshop, despite the above point, I automatically say "Oh I loooooove Topshop." Like some sort of...robot.
The Arndale Toppy is massive. Two floors of overpriced clothes, shoes and accessories, including a mini-version of the Oxford Street flagship's Boutique, which stocks not Toppy, but smaller designers. It's a nice touch and my old winter coat was from the Boutique, and is gorge. Unfortunately, the Arndale branch's Boutique is a bit of an afterthought. It used to be in the bit that now houses lingerie, and thwen it felt like a special secret corner. But now it's sort of in a no-man's land between new trends and maternity, and it all looks a bit lacklustre. They've eschewed brands like Mina and Upper 5th for Motel, which is a bit blarg, really.
During sale time, the Arndale Toppy's upstairs floor becomes a swamp of crap-dragged-from-the-back-room-where-it-has-been-for-years and tussling girls. I have never lasted more than 10 minutes in a Toppy sale. I always have to leave.
The thing with Toppy, and it's a universal problem, is that it's just getting pricier and pricier. It's like, I know I need to pay for quality, but the fabrics and techniques employed by Toppy are really no more sophisticated or quality than say H&M. A more Arndale-specific problem, is the staff. For a start, most of them look ridiculous. Not in a ooh-by-this way, but in a I-got-up-at-4am-to-get-rewady. Nobody likes a try-hard, especially when said try-hard is supposed to be trying to sell clothes, not launch herself as some kin of...jumble sale... The staff here are also incredibly rude. Like, unbelievably so. They're ALL like the mean girls from school. I should NOT be made to feel like a big fat swamp donkey because I've asked for a size 12. That is not a nice feeling. Despite there being about a hundred members of staff walking round, there's never one when you need her, and if you do happen to be able to grab one, they literally never know where what you want is, they always point you towards the other floor, so you go upstairs, or downstairs, and spend 15 minutes looking, then find it on the floor you were originally on, upon which discovery, you also find that it is shodily made and costs half a month's grocery bill. Then you leave and get a coffee at Est.
I am sick of the Toppy gauntlet, and now that the Guardian says it's OK, I think I'm gonna stop running it all together. I mean, who needs Toppy's fake approximation of shabby chic vintagerie when we've got the Northern Quarter anyway?
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