Shopping with experts: The Dresser

The dresser

Tucked away in an (until recently) very unfashionable part of London just off the Edgware Road is a gem of a dress agency called The Dresser. It is really a posh second hand cothes shop that sits within easy reach of some very smart parts of London (Knightsbridge, Holland Park and Mayfair are all close) and I reckon that the ladies-who-lunch from these parts, who get tired of their lovely designer clothes drop them off with owner Sally Ormsby to make a bit of pocket money. Sally has great taste and only accepts good quality designers in mint condition and her prices are brilliant. Today, after a busy morning attending the Marks & Spencer press day I nipped across to see what she had.

Years ago Jane and I were based around the corner from The Dresser with our day jobs and lunch time trips to see what was new were a great treat. Over the years I have purchased a Moschino and a Jil Sander coat, a Lanvin skirt and a MaxMara cashmere sweater (long gone to moths) all of which were priced a little over what Topshop might charge. Today I found a (new as opposed to original) Biba cardigan dress for £68 and a Ronit Zilka brand new black knitted coat for £70. Both would have been well over double this at full price, the Biba dress I vaguely remember seeing in Liberty for about £350.

The joy of buying bargains like this is twofold, firstly, obviously you feel as if you've saved bucket loads of money but secondly there's something fascinating about selecting stuff you like from such a jumbled edit. This season's trends go out the window and you are forced to look at the item for what it is, I find myself appreciating colour and fabric a whole lot more and working a lot harder in thinking if I really like what I'm looking at. It strips away the security of a full price shop.

If you are passing this back water of London it is well worth a trip in, shoes and accessories are really good too, it's rumoured that lots of fashion editors get rid of their 'gift' handbags from designers here as it's easier than ebaying them. Next Thursday the Connaught Village area is having a Christmas Bazaar and late night shopping event, if you go be sure to also check out the wonderful CocoMaya chocolate shop and Susannah Hunter's lovely handbag shop.

The Dresser, 10 Pochester Place, Connaught Village, W2 2BS


Biba dress from The Dresser, £68, in plum sparkle knit.

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