Saturday, May 31, 2008

Bless You!

I was looking for skirts today. I just don't suit those floaty, summery skirts that look like great fun on a trampoline, but that make me resemble the lovechild of a lampshade and a teacosy. So, I wanted a slimcut skirt that wasn't an office pencil skirt. Surely not so hard to find, but you wouldn't believe the trouble I had! Expensive designer shops, cheap as chips ethically dubious shops, young fashion shops, middle-aged shops - not a skirt to be seen that didn't make me look absolutely ridiculous! I ended up buying everything but a skirt, so not all was lost, and on the way I stumbled upon a shop I'd never noticed before that I thought I'd tell you about.

It's called Echoo. Now, is it just me, or does that sound remarkably like a sneeze? I thought so, and I must admit it's the only reason I decided to go in - their marketing department deserves a great pat on the back for tempting me in purely through a probably unintentionally amusing name.

The shop ( immediately reminded me of Camden Market in London: a cross between quirky colourful t-shirts and ruffled and sequinned bohemian dresses. The sizes are quite weird; most of the skirts I looked at were labelled L or L/LL - I assumed this meant 'large' or 'extra large', but this definitely isn't a good way to attract women, especially considering the lack of 'S' sizes. Still, I braved one of the few M/Ls I could find, and it seemed like about a size 12. The till is in the middle of the shop and I kept walking into it by mistake as it's on a tiny table! The sales rack had lots of things on it, but bright cartoon-style Japanesey t-shirts just don't cut it for me anymore, and I wasn't looking for a floaty transparent dress.

The changing room was through a velvety curtain and at first I thought it was one of those awful communcal changing rooms full of either offputtingly attractive women to make you feel bad, or women that you really don't want to see starkers. Luckily, it wasn't, although the curtains around each cubicle caused lots of entanglement and elbows poking into the next one along! The shop assistant seemed to be offering advice to everyone on what suited them. Luckily, I manged to avoid her, as I knew my skirts didn't suit me. The shame spared, I left.

It's an enchanting shop with a great vintage feel and it's very different to other places in Oxford. It was a real surprise lurking in the chainstore Clarendon Centre and I'm surprised how many times I must have walked past it. If anywhere, it would fit in best in the Covered Market , but hey, it's here and what a refreshing change. If only something in there had suited me!

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