6th October 2021

Freshers style o’clock – the best places to shop in Manchester

New to Manchester? Our deputy fashion editor, Zahra Mukadam, walks you through the best places to shop in city center.
Freshers style o’clock – the best places to shop in Manchester
PHOTO: ALEX BIKARD @ The Mancunion

After 18 months of online teaching, we’re finally back in person and while many of us are not freshers anymore, it kind of feels like it anyways. If you’re new to Manchester, you’re in luck: you’ve just come to the third best city in the world (and therefore the best city in the UK). That means one thing – it’s time to up your fashion game. It’s style o’clock for all you new freshers and we’re here to help. We did the research for you and created the ultimate guide to all the best places to buy clothes in Manchester to make sure you’ll look impeccable.

1.     Manchester Arndale

Manchester Arndale shopping for freshers
Photo: Zahra Mukadam @ The Mancunion

Starting off with an oldie but a goodie, Manchester Arndale is one of the largest shopping centres in the UK with over 200 stores. It’s mainly filled with well-known high street shops but also has a few independent places to discover. Located right in the centre of town, it’s very easy to access and there’s definitely a shop for everyone. Whether you’re into sportswear, the grandad aesthetic, or the standard plain top and jeans look, the Arndale has you covered.

Our favourite shop: Monki.

2.    Market Street

Manchester Urban Outfitters best places to shop
Photo: Zahra Mukadam @ The Mancunion

Leading up to the Arndale is Market Street. Among other shops you will find the big three: H&M, Primark, and Urban Outfitters. While you could spend a while in these 3 shops, the street also has a few shoe shops and also a Mango (the clothing shop, not the fruit) and a Uniqlo.

Our favourite shop: H&M.

Manchester Primark shopping for freshers
Photo: Zahra Mukadam @ The Mancunion

3.     Trafford Centre

A more boujee version of the Arndale but a bit of a trek to get to from campus. It’s definitely worth it though, for the architecture alone – it’s an iconic building that makes you feel like you’re in a different country altogether. A lot of naked statues too… definitely an interesting vibe. It’s also ready-made for a full day of shopping as it is the host of the largest food court in Europe. Shops include H&M, Selfridges, John Lewis, Zara and basically any other well-known brand you can think of.

 Our favourite shop: Pull&Bear.

Manchester Pull and Bear best places to shop
Photo: Zahra Mukadam @ The Mancunion

4.       Afflecks Palace 

Now we’re getting to the good bits. If you want to release your inner quirkiness, Afflecks is the place for you. Channelling 2016 Tumblr emo vibes combined with random cute fun-ness, it has 3 floors packed with independent shops selling all sorts of fun, unique items from painted denim jackets to 60s style fashion dresses.

Our favourite shop: Hook (everything in this shop is £10, it’s very fun).

5.       The Thrift Shop 

A less known place to shop in Manchester but a gem nonetheless. Filled with well-priced second-hand items this is the perfect place if you wish to stray away from fast fashion. Sustainable, cheap, trendy and with a wide variety of styles – what’s not to love? It’s quite big, with a lot of clothes to flick through to find that one unique buy that you’ll love more than anything.

6.       British Heart Foundation charity shop in town

Manchester has a lot of really good charity shops, and while this might seem like a random pick, this is (subjectively) the best charity shop you’ll visit here. A bit more pricey than your average charity shop, but my goodness is it worth it. The clothes in there are just so much cooler than anywhere else. As opposed to the classic old age pensioner charity shop (which are still 10/10 vibes), this is the Gen Z place to be.

7.       The Northern Quarter

Filled with cute boutiques and vintage shops, the northern quarter is THE place to go if you aim to have the best drips in the city. If you want interesting items that you just would not find on the high street, the Northern Quarter is for you.

Our favourite shop: Blue Rinse.

If you want to read more on thrifting in the northern quarter, make you sure to check out The best second hand shopping in the Northern Quarter.

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