The best fashion, shoe and accessory boutiques revealed

The best fashion, shoe and accessory boutiques have come to light thanks to the new Which? to research.

We’ve surveyed thousands of shoppers on buying everything from sweaters to jewelry to reveal the best stores for clothes, shoes and accessories – and which ones to avoid.

Here, we uncover how different stores compare on metrics like value for money and customer service. We also take a look at how the cost of living crisis is affecting how people shop for fashion.

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What are the best fashion, shoe and accessory stores?

The table below* lists the top three rated stores in our survey.

*Results are based on an online survey of 10,588 adults – members of Which? Connect the panel and members of the public – who told us about 14,415 experiences buying clothes, shoes and accessories from UK retailers. The survey was conducted in May and June 2022.

To find out how the 70 stores – including Amazon, Marks & Spencer and Next – rated, and to find out which are the best for value for money, product quality, customer service and returns – check out our guide to the best and the worst fashion, shoe and accessory shops.

The top of the table is Sea salt. It gets five stars for everything except value for money and range/availability of its products, where it still gets a very respectable four star. Buyers appreciate the quality of its products as well as its high standards of delivery and customer service.

One satisfied shopper said, “Great quality clothes. Gorgeous designs, good quality fabric and original colors and patterns. The quality and size are consistent.’ Another said: “They have great quality and durability, stylish and fit well. The store staff are always helpful without being pushy.

Sea salt is so good that we named it Which? Recommended supplier. This means that not only does it rate highly in our survey, but it also has clear and fair terms and conditions on its website to help customers return unwanted or faulty items.

john lewis and Selfridges come just behind and are tied for second in the table. John Lewis performs brilliantly on all counts, with five stars for everything but value for money, product range/availability and amount of packaging used. One customer said: ‘You can generally rely on the John Lewis brand and reputation. We usually check their website first for many products, but we always look for the best price as well.

Selfridges gets top marks for the quality and range of its products, as well as for its customer service. One customer described it as ‘a trusted iconic British store with a heritage that I am very happy to shop in’.

credit card at checkout

Which fashion stores have the best value for money?

Six in 10 shoppers buying clothes, shoes or accessories in the first six months of 2022 noticed prices rising – and one in five (20%) said prices had gone up “a lot”.

So what, if anything, have fashion shoppers done in the wake of the price hike?

The most common response was to buy fewer of these items (39%), followed by buying less expensive items or budget ranges (23%). Comparing prices before buying was also a popular tactic (21%).

Worryingly, 13% of fashion, shoe or accessory shoppers who noticed a price hike took out credit as a result; including borrowing from family and friends or using a credit card, payday loan, or buy-it-now, pay-later program.

Discover the stores offering the best value for money in our guide to the best and the worst fashion, shoe and accessory shops.

Which fashion boutiques have come downstairs?

Pile of clothes on store shelf

The table below* reveals the four retailers that received the lowest customer scores in our survey. For full results, check out our guide to the best and the worst fashion, shoe and accessory shops.

Lowest Rated Fashion Stores

*Results are based on an online survey of 10,588 adults – members of Which? Connect the panel and members of the public – who told us about 14,415 experiences buying clothes, shoes and accessories from UK retailers. The survey was conducted in May and June 2022.

At the bottom of the table is Sports Direct, which only gets two stars for after-sales service and returns, customer service and amount of packaging used. It gets a decent four stars for value for money though. One shopper said: ‘Stores are a bit trial and error, usually poorly laid out and have to search for everything. Very crowded. Another added: ‘Huge range of sportswear and shoes but shops are cramped and poorly lit and apart from the shoe section the layout was a mess.’

Also down is Claire’s, which gets a respectable four star for customer service but a mediocre three star for everything else. One buyer said: ‘I think it’s expensive for what it is but my five year old granddaughter loves it so had to! Another added: “Claire’s is Claire’s – you don’t need it and it’s the epitome of overconsumption, but I have a four year old.”

Accessorize and Tesco make up the rest of the bottom four. Both do reasonably well in terms of value for money, but Tesco in particular scores poorly for product range/availability.