The blog from the heart of Leicester's Clarendon Park

Get your fashion fix in Clarendon Park

Fancy supplementing your wardrobe with a bit of old-fashioned vintage glamour?

Looking for some great quality, great value clobber for the kids?

Hankering after a cosy poncho to keep you warm through the winter?

If the answer to any of these questions is “Hell yeah!” Clarendon Park has a fantastic range of clothes shops for you to explore. From ethnic chic to high-end designer threads there’s something for everybody, so join me on a whistle-stop tour of the area’s clothing retailers and find out everything you need to know to plan your next shopping expedition.

Revivals

Some cute and cosy seasonal garb for your sproglet. This gorgeous knitted cardigan is by the French designer brand Catamini and is a snip at just £6.25

Typical buy: Some cute and cosy seasonal garb for your sproglet. This gorgeous knitted cardigan is by the French designer brand Catamini and is a snip at just £6.25

Revivals is one of two dedicated clothes agencies on Clarendon Park Road. The term ‘clothes agency’ is an old-fashioned name for a shop which sells other people’s used clothes for them, taking a small commission in the process. Clothes agencies are invariably overwhelmed with people wanting to sell their used clothes, meaning that they’re able to be extremely discerning, so the quality of the clothes is generally considerably higher than you get in your average charity shop.

Revivals is owned by business partners Manda and Kathy, who took over the already well-established business in April this year.

“A lot of our customers are busy mums”, says Manda, “They can pick stuff up here for their kids and themselves in one go and it’s easier than traipsing all the way into town with a buggy.”

With clothes for newborns, and all the way up to a ladies size 22, Revivals has a lot to offer, and a loyal customer base which ensures a speedy turnover of stock. Manda says, “Some people come in every day because we have a constant turnover of clothes and there’s usually something new.”

The shop itself is a bit of a tardis, with a large volume of children’s clothes and womenswear in the main room and a smaller room at the back containing toys, books and games. It’s easy to see why Revivals is so popular with mums of young kids – street parking is straightforward and free, the wide aisles are pushchair friendly, and there’s a play area in the back room where the tots can entertain themselves while you shop. With the rails and shelves constantly being refreshed it’s a great place to stock up on seasonal basics for you and the kids.

LOROS By Design

This knitted dress from South manages to be both sexy and practical - keep yourself warm while looking fabulous for £14.50

Typical buy: This knitted dress from South manages to be both sexy and practical – keep yourself warm while looking fabulous for £14.50

Leicestershire charity LOROS provides free, high-quality, compassionate care and support to people who are terminally ill and their family and carers. With just 25 shops located throughout Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland they are a truly local enterprise.

We’re lucky in Clarendon Park to have the one and only LOROS ‘By Design’ shop right on Queens Road. When the clothing donations are sorted at LOROS HQ the cream of the crop is sent here, making for some high-quality designer and top-end high street clothes that are a cut above your average charity shop fodder.

With both men’s and women’s clothes on offer and prices starting from just a couple of quid, LOROS By Design is an essential stop on your CP shopping spree.

White Elephant

This vintage gold mesh clutch bag is an absolute stunner - perfect for adding a bit of old-fashioned glamour to any outfit and at £40 you get plenty of bling for your buck

Typical buy: This vintage gold mesh clutch bag is an absolute stunner – perfect for adding a bit of old-fashioned glamour to any outfit and at £40 you get plenty of bling for your buck

Near the junction of Queens Road and Clarendon Park Road, next door to Natwest Bank, you’ll find White Elephant. I visited this shop earlier this year while researching my article about shops selling used and vintage furniture and homewares. Antique furniture and expensive nicknacks are very much the main focus here, but there are a few clothing pieces on offer too and it’s well worth popping in – there are some gems in amongst the pricey bric-a-brac.

Most of the clothes for sale are vintage, although I also spotted some new faux fur hats. There are some gorgeous glitzy handbags and stunning pieces of jewellery, as well as cosy and elegant knitwear for both men and women. The pricing seems a little haphazard but spend enough time picking through the busy shelves and hangers and there’s a good chance you’ll stumble across a bargain – particularly at the moment with a sale on and many items reduced by up to 20%.

Prettiez

This super-snuggly knitted poncho (£35) - team it up with a hot water bottle and a mug of mulled wine for the ultimate in festive cosiness

Typical buy: This super-snuggly knitted poncho (£35) – team it up with a hot water bottle and a mug of mulled wine for the ultimate in festive cosiness

Prettiez is one of the newest shops in Clarendon Park, having been open just a couple of months. It’s also the only clothes shop in the area which sells only new clothes, rather than used and vintage ones. You can find it by walking down the alley between LOROS and Morelli’s and bearing right, past the giant mushrooms.

With a fantastic range of gifts from around the world, Prettiez is a godsend for quirky last-minute Christmas and birthday gifts. The clothing selection is inspired by ethnic garments and there are plenty of men’s and unisex designs. Cosy ponchos, soft wraps and colourful scarves feature heavily, and there’s a great line in comfy and practical linen tunics. There are also some cute handmade accessories, which would make unusual stocking fillers.

Owner of Prettiez, Keeley Clarke, was motivated to set up her business by her travels in Asia.  “I spent some time in India after I was made redundant about three years ago, and was inspired by the culture there,” says Keeley, “I decided to set up a stall on Leicester market selling ethnic gifts and clothes.”

The small business went from strength to strength, with Keeley winning Leicester Market Entrepreneur of the Year in 2012. After scouting out possible locations for a shop she settled on Clarendon Park and she’s had great support from fellow retailers and local shoppers. Take a walk down the alleyway and see what little treasures you can pick up from this cool and colourful addition to CP’s shops!

Clarendon Vintage

£40 will buy you this stunning 70s camel trench coat from C&A. The colour and style are bang on trend - why buy new when you can invest in a classic vintage piece like this?

Typical buy: £40 will buy you this stunning 70s camel trench coat from C&A. The colour and style are bang on trend – why buy new when you can invest in a classic vintage piece like this?

Clarendon Vintage is another shop I visited for my earlier used and vintage article. Its location near the junction of Clarendon Park Road and Welford Road may be a little out of the way, but I think the selection of vintage clothes and accessories is the best in Clarendon Park in terms of quality and price, and this makes it a must-visit location.

About a year ago the shop changed its name from Charlie’s Pine to Clarendon Vintage to reflect the increased range of products for sale, including a new room dedicated to clothes. The outside of the shop has also recently had a face-lift and now sports cheerful bright turquoise signage. The clothes room is towards the back of the shop and is jam-packed full of women’s clothes and accessories, including some beautiful jewellery.

Owner Deb clearly has an eye for what is fashionable and has hand-picked some really stunning and trendy pieces. With everything from party dresses and statement necklaces to handbags, shoes and outerwear up for grabs you could easily kit yourself out in a whole new outfit without breaking the bank.

Definitely a hidden gem, Clarendon Vintage is top of my list for style and price – don’t miss it!

Labels

At £500, this pristine Dior bag isn’t cheap, but if you love all things designer you’ll know that this is a comparable snip compared to how much it cost the original owner

Typical buy: At £500, this pristine Dior bag isn’t cheap, but if you love all things designer you’ll know that this is a comparable snip compared to how much it cost the original owner

Labels is a high-end designer dress agency. As with Revivals, there’s been a dress agency on the same site since way back, with Carol, the current owner, taking over eight and a half years ago.

Straight away, Labels feels different to your average clothes shop. Of all the shops I visited it was by far the busiest, with customers busily looking through the rails, trying on clothes and chatting to Carol about the new stock. Knowledgeable, and clearly passionate about the luxury items she sells, Carol is on-hand to offer advice and refreshments to her customers.

Carol says that since taking over the shop she has concentrated on making it welcoming and approachable. She’s certainly succeeded and has built up a loyal base of regular clientele who sometimes spend hours in the shop in one visit.

“What’s important to me is providing a personal service,” says Carol, “I get to know my customers and what they like so that I can recommend things to them – that’s a big part of the whole experience of shopping here.”

Labels isn’t cheap, but if you’re into high-end, luxury brands you’ll know that they are inevitably a drain on the wallet, even if you restrict yourself to buying pre-loved items. What makes Labels a genuine ‘destination shop’ is the warm atmosphere that Carol has worked so hard to create, which feels both exclusive and laid-back, and which makes shopping here a real pleasure. If you’ve got the funds and you fancy splashing out on some top-class designer threads, make Labels your first stop and you won’t be disappointed.

Oxfam

I was hugely tempted by this seriously cute cropped jacket in green tweed by Californian brand Lux - a bargain at £5.99

Typical buy: I was hugely tempted by this seriously cute cropped jacket in green tweed by Californian brand Lux – a bargain at £5.99

Oxfam’s Queens Road shop is fairly small but it has a good range of clothes. It is typical charity shop fodder, with a mix of high-street brands, vintage pieces and the odd designer offering. Many of the staff are volunteers and they’re a friendly and enthusiastic bunch, which makes the shopping experience all the more enjoyable. This is another shop which has a quick turnover of stock so regular visits are a must to make sure you don’t miss any bargains.

It’s well worth following @OxfamQueensRoad on Twitter to keep up-to-date not just with noteworthy new clothes for sale, but with news of local events and campaigns being organised by the charity. The fashion show on 9 December at Olives Bar, which was organised by the Queens Road branch along with Leicester University Oxfam Society, was a hugely successful event raising funds which will be used to help those affected by the Ebola virus. There was some good stuff on offer, beautifully modeled by the University’s Burlesque Society, as well as two raffles, a quiz and a special mulled wine cocktail – all in all a fun evening for an important cause.

Favours and Fosse

One clothes shop I haven’t mentioned in this post is Noble and Wright, an exclusive wedding dress boutique near the junction of Queens Road and Clarendon Park Road. Wedding dresses seemed like a slightly niche thing to be covering in a general article about clothes, but I’m planning a wedding-themed post sometime next year which will cover everything from dresses and flowers to wedding favours and catering, so brides (and grooms) to-be will have plenty of inspiration as they prepare for their big day.

Speaking of inspiration, I hope this article has helped you plan your next shopping trip. When it comes to kitting out your wardrobe, it’s not just your wallet that will benefit from swapping Fosse Park for Clarendon Park once in a while. You’ll be supporting local independent businesses, finding unusual and one-of-a-kind items and in some cases helping to raise funds for important causes. All of which are great excuses to indulge in a bit of retail therapy – happy shopping!

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