Sunday, 13 January 2019

The hat and shoe shops of London

Between Christmas and New Year's, I had a weekend in London visiting friends with my husband.  We had a day to ourselves on the Saturday, to allow our hosts some rest from our Friday night of talking and drinking late into the night.  First stop was St James's Park, to meet another friend (not pictured, she's blog-shy!).  We had a long overdue catch-up over coffee and then headed out for a walk to send her toddler to sleep.  We passed Buckingham Palace and stopped for the obligatory photo opportunity, amongst the throngs of people doing the same.  I don't remember seeing the palace up close before.

Then began a high-end shoe and hat adventure, beginning on St. James's Street.  The street is home to shops with a distinguished history, including 200 year old cigar merchants, Britain's oldest wine and spirit merchants, and the oldest barbershop in the world.  A more recent addition is a 'Kingsman' line pop-up shop by Mr Porter, taking its name from the film.  We made a beeline for Locke and Co., the oldest hat shop in the world.  You might have seen their Andalusian Panama featured in fashion magazines in 2018 (I think it was in Harper's Bazaar or Vogue).  I was impressed by the ladies' collection, which included a very smart orange fur felt fedora.  My friend was more impressed with the steampunk style goggles, and the mini top hat Christmas tree decoration!  Chris had a good chat with the shop manager about hat manufacturing (who was incidentally, dressed in the sharpest, best-fitting suit I have ever seen on a man in real life), and we enjoyed seeing the small historical display at the back of the shop, featuring memorabilia from Winston Churchill and other notable heads that have been topped with a Locke and Co. hat.

I'm wearing: a natty little 1930s' hat by Crosskeys, a redingote (1939-1941 I reckon), Clarks boots, vintage Bally bag, and a 1970s' Carnegie dress.  All bought from charity shops or Ebay.
Chris is wearing: 1920s' v-cap boots, vintage (1930s?) Locke and Co. hat, 1940s' Sydney Heath coat.

Also on St James's Street is John Lobb.  The shop has a workshop, with a sort of mini museum.  John Lobb focus on bespoke shoes, with a small ready to wear collection.  (Think £1,250 upwards in terms of price-point!)  We had a good look through the 'museum', which as well as a sealed cabinet with the really rare/valuable/old stuff in, included other cabinets where you were allowed to handle the shoes.  There were some beautiful 1930s', Deco style ladies ones (not anywhere near my size alas), and a large range of mens' boots.  It was lovely to be able to handle the shoes, and look at the details close-up, something you can't do in an ordinary museum!  When we exited the shop, a group of Italian tourists were outside, taking photos.  The look they gave us was priceless, I think they might have been under the mistaken impression that we actually shop there...

The shoe and hat adventure continued up Jermyn Street and beyond.  Church's, Grenson, Barker, Crockett and Jones, Christy's...  Most of the older brands have vintage shoes on display in their stores, oh how I wish they still made some of those styles!  We had a pub lunch off Jermyn Street, and then decided it was high time for a cocktail, so we popped into the Bar Americain at Zedel's.  I had a Vesper martini.  A martini is my all-time favourite cocktail.

As the afternoon turned to evening, we got a chance to see the Christmas lights.  Beautiful angels swooping down the street were my favourites.

That was then the end of our day in London.  I think actually a day, maybe two, is my limit.  After all of that hustle and bustle, I was glad to return to the quiet mountains of South Wales!  We'll definitely return to London in 2019, but I am starting to line-up the other adventures too, and there is much excitement in store.  Where are you planning to go in the year ahead?

Linking up with: #iwillwearwhatilikeVisible Monday, Fancy Friday


  1. Aren't you two the most handsome couple? No doubt they thought you were regulars shopping there. You look the part.

    I've forwarded this post to my husband. I'm sure he will love it as much as I did.


  2. You're both looking fabulous, so of course those Italian tourist would have been impressed. I love your redingote - I've always wanted one - and your 1970s' Carnegie dress is such an unexpected pop of colour among all the black. Gorgeous! I would love to visit both shops. Maybe this year we'll pay London that long overdue visit. It's been far too long since I was last there. xxx

  3. London sounds like a fabulous place to be. I only been there once when i was about 15 or so. I'll bet you had a fabulous time. But I can imagine that the peacefulness of South Wales appeal more!

  4. This looks like so much fun! And I am absolutely in love with your outfit!!! That magenta is such a pop! The jacket is dreamy! And those boots are fantastic!!


  5. What a dashing couple P! and I have to say I would have loved to peek into that shoe store, what a treat.

  6. I'm so pleased you enjoyed our home town! I adore the old quaint shops we have. I love the cheese and other food ones especially. You both looked super dapper xx Maria

  7. Oh, that looks lovely! I think it was Lobb who was featured in a BBC4 documentary last year - the series was showing how some traditional British products were made, and the presenter was having a pair of shoes made. The work that goes into each pair is incredible, and showed why they cost so much.

    Your outfit is *chef kiss*

  8. You guys both look stylish enough to be shopping at any of those places. It's really great that they have those displays of their own history - such a lovely thing to be able to see.

    I'm hoping that this year's big trip for us will be to Wales, but we are also planning to move house so we'll have to see how it all works out!

  9. Love that the tourists took pictures of you - and why not, very dapper you both look too ;) Nice to see you out and about enjoying yourself in a fab outfit again! xx

  10. Ooh I love this classy and elegant outfit! You both look like you belong in those fancy stores :) Thanks for taking us all on a mini tour too!


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