Whatever your style or shopping ethos, if you are a fashion lover then Edinburgh is the place for you! I managed to wangle myself a solo overnighter in Scotland’s capital in February and spent a rather glorious day exploring the shops, boutiques and hidden gems of this beautiful city.
I shall get around to telling you all about my visit one of these days but in the meantime here are my top tips for some fashion fun in Edinburgh.
National Museum of Scotland
Before you do anything I highly recommend a visit to the National Museum of Scotland to indulge in some serious style inspiration. As well as amazing displays of the natural world, ancient Egypt, technology and so much more, the National Museum has the most fabulous fashion & style gallery. You’ll find exquisite century-old gowns, extravagant hats and eccentric modern-day suits. If you’re a fan of elegant tailoring then the Jean Muir display will provide the perfect inspiration but if you prefer more bustles than you can shake a stick at then this gallery has you covered, too! With over 400 years worth of fashion history in one place I defy you not to come out feeling inspired, educated and ready to strut your stylish stuff around the cobbled streets of Edinburgh.
As with all Scottish museums there is no entry fee but I’d encourage you to make a donation. It really is a great place and you could easily spend an entire day there. From 23rd May to 20th October you can also see their Body Beautiful exhibition which celebrates diversity on the catwalks and challenges body ideals. It sounds right up my street so that’s definitely going on the to-do list for next time!
If you’re a highstreet queen then you can’t do much better than Princes Street for all your flagship stores. With everything from Next, H&M and Zara to New Look, Doc Marten’s and the dreaded Primark <shudder> you’re guaranteed to find what you need all whilst enjoying views of Princes Street Gardens and Edinburgh Castle.
Disclaimer: please shop consciously! Do you really need it? Do you really love it? Okay, lecture over.
Harry Potter fans will be familiar with Victoria Street which is said to have inspired JK Rowling’s Diagon Alley. Having never seen Harry Potter (sorry) I couldn’t tell you but it is a gorgeous street and well worth a visit, Potter fan or not!
Historic buildings line the cobbled curve from Grassmarket up to George IV Bridge and are home to some fantastic independent shops. My favourite is Swish for it’s ethical brands such as Matt & Nat and Skunkfunk as well as my old favourite Sugarhill Boutique. Tweed, handbags, jewellery; whatever your thing, you’ll find it on Victoria Street.
Now we’re getting to the good stuff! I could happily spend the whole day wandering around the vintage heaven that is Grassmarket & West Port. First on your list has to be the wonder emporium of Armstrongs. Holy Moly, this place is a treasure trove of ball gowns, cowboy boots and 90’s jeans. Whether you collect bowler hats or like to refashion old army gear you have to check this place out!
As you head up towards West Port you’ll come across my favourite little boutique Godiva. The front of the shop is home to some beautiful ethical brands like Armed Angels and Brighton-based Emperor’s Old Clothes, while the back of Godiva is dedicated to all things vintage. I picked up a gorgeous 80’s beaded jumper when I was here in February and was really tempted by an old embellished jacket. The Godiva girls have a really good eye for vintage stock!
The South Bridge and Nicholson Street area is charity shop central! Marie Curie, PDSA, Cats Protection, British Heart Foundation, Oxfam, Salvation Army…the list goes on! If you’re a thrifty girl who loves nothing more than a rummage in a charity shop then head straight here.
Once you’ve had your fill of shopping why not find a quiet table in a cafe window and partake in a bit of people watching. As a country girl, one of the things I love about being in the city is that people have so much more fashion freedom and you can get some real inspiration from checking out the Edinburgh street style.
Writing this has made me want a day in Edinburgh! It’s such a beautiful city and really reminds me of York near my hometown. Have you been to Edinburgh? Are there any fashion gems I’ve missed? Let me know in the comments of come find me for a natter on Instagram!