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One thing’s for sure, you don’t go to Lancaster University for its shopping scene because there simply isn’t much on offer. However, with Manchester only a £9 return train ticket away and Preston a mere 20 minute drive, there are still ways for you shopaholics to get a fix, not to mention the possibility of online shopping!
The first thing I invested in shortly after moving to Lancaster was a coat, preferably waterproof and thick enough to endure what feels like an arctic climate. I’m from London, where yes it rains and gets cold, but nothing like it does up North so protection from glacial winds on my way to lectures was more than necessary. Depending on budget, Zara usually do a chic style of winter coat. Team with a simple scarf, jeans and boots to create the perfect everyday casual look.
Every year, Topshop consistently offer a selection of anoraks, faux fur coats and wool mix jackets usually priced from £50. I am wary of Topshop though, as some of their pieces can be expensive but look cheap. I prefer to try their clothes on in store to avoid this issue. Lancaster’s local shop is good for stocking most sizes but a lot of the shop space is filled with their basics range (plain tees and crop tops) as well as their denim collection, so there isn’t usually much to browse. A sneaky tip for you: I often go to Topman for a ‘boyfriend’ fit jumper, a great way to keep warm and layer under coats and sometimes cheaper than the female version!
Next on your list should be a durable pair of shoes, sturdy enough to withstand the thin layer of dirt and whatever else is on the floor at Hustle while also keeping your feet dry in the rain and even the snow. Ultimately, as a student you won’t be able to keep your shoes immaculate, so avoid suede or white! River Island is a great High Street shop for good value shoes that are also comfortable and there is one in town.
Having a good collection of eveningwear is a must, especially if you like to party! The club vibe in Lancaster is a lot more chilled than you’d find in bigger cities so you could be wearing a t-shirt and shorts one day and a playsuit the next. Typically, Missguided is a safe bet and you can often get discounts with your NUS card if you have one. New Look is another High Street shop that has an endless supply of dresses and skirts and Lancaster is lucky enough to have a large store located in town.
As for any other essentials you may need, if you’re thinking of joining a sports team there is a brand new JD Sports. There is a Boots and a Superdrug for all your health and beauty needs, and construction is continuing on the Primark store due to open next year. You’ll soon be raiding Lancaster’s plethora of charity shops for cheap fancy dress costumes for many a social, and if you’re style is more retro, there are two or three hidden gems in the form of vintage shops.
Though at first Lancaster may seem like a city seriously lacking in the fashion stakes, there are High Street staples, unique boutiques and if you’re feeling really desperate, bigger shopping areas not too far. Make sure you have the essentials as mentioned above and between lectures and nights out, you won’t even have time to shop – not to mention the money!