Clothes Shopping in Downtown Prague
With its blend of popular chains, second-hand stores, and designer boutiques, the city center has more for the fashion-conscious shopper than you might expect
It's when you step outside of the necessity department, however, that your money begins to slip away exponentially, leaving you in the pub with tattered jeans and a belly full of greasy food.
That's not the worst thing in the world, but jobs and/or dates don't often find these to be the most charming qualities.
To the bemusement of many, the clothes in Prague are just as expensive, if not more so, than in most Western countries.
While shopping in Prague isn't always easy or cheap, it's possible to find some good deals, and stylish attire that's worth sacrificing a little pivo money for.
With trendy stores continuing to crop up on Wenceslas Square and in Prague's malls, you can't swing an H&M bag without hitting another popular chain -- or H&M. The major department stores are always easy to locate, and handy for finding the basic staples for your wardrobe.
The shopping area in Wenceslas Square is basically an over-sized outdoor mall, with all the shopping giants within arms reach -- Marks & Spencer, Zara, Diesel, Benetton...
The square is a nice way to go because not only are you right in the heart of the city but the stores are generally a bit larger than the stores in the malls; which means wider selections of new lines, and sale racks that aren't quite so picked over.
From Spain, Mango is a popular favorite. There are options for stylish garments if you want to spend some cash, but there are numerous rows of items on sale as well.
Located on Na Příkopě, Mango is a hip store for women, with an abundance of styles to choose from. The spacious interior is adorned with chandeliers, high ceilings, and patient boyfriends.
As mentioned above, a popular choice for many is the trusty and never-disappointing Swedish company H&M. Around Wenceslas Square alone, there are two. The first is located on the square itself and caters to a younger crowd.
Just down the street, on Na Příkopě, you'll find the sister store, which has clothes geared more toward the working crowd. Both stores provide for men and women, and the latter has children's clothes as well.
What H&M stores are good for are their sale racks and trendy styles. What it's not so good for is anonymity. Just as you were excited to find that striped tank top for 400 CZK, so were about 20 other shoppers, as you'll discover when you strut your new purchase.
INDEPENDENT STORES & BOUTIQUES
In Prague there's a plethora of malls where you'll find a lot of the same, which is why it's good to add a little vintage and/or local artists' designs to the mix.
Although I repeatedly found myself tricked into second-hand stores with a clever sign or window display, I was usually let down.
Ultimately, I discovered a couple of exceptional Prague 1 stores in the second-hand/vintage department.
I came upon Retro first, at Perlová 4, and immediately dove into the racks of vintage goodness. A small and smartly decorated shop, the selection is both fun and practical.
For the fun part, I found velvet pantaloons for 500 CZK. For the practical part, I found belts, jackets and dresses.
Not too far from Retro is their second store, Vintage, at Michalská 18.
What caught my eye when I walked in was a man's vintage marching band jacket. Blue and gold. If only I was taller, with broader shoulders, and a man.
I was tempted with a black-and-white tunic, but decided on a brown leather belt instead.
For the sake of originality -- and, well, fun -- these stores have a special variety and the prices are reasonable.
Over towards the river is Šatna (Konviktská 13). One of the finer second-hand stores I found, Šatna is kind to your wallet, with plenty for men and women.
A smaller store worthy of mention is Quasimodo Vintage Fashion (Vladislavova 17). Tucked inside a courtyard among a few restaurants, this is the store where I found my favorite summer dress (400 CZK). Quasimodo has both vintage and second-hand clothing at low prices, and impressive accessories.
It feels good to support local artists and designers; especially when the locals are producing some noteworthy collections.
Parazit Fashion Shop, at Karlova 25, is a collection of designs from Prague's fashion and art-student scene. The beauty of this store is that each and every garment is original. The pieces are either fresh off of the sewing machine, or re-worked second-hand threads, providing a unique addition to the said staples of your wardrobe.
Czech Fashion Centre is a collection of stores located in the Old Town. The clothes are well-tailored and made of lovely fabrics, which doesn't make for an inexpensive shopping trip, but well worth the spending. With a total of eight stores, in roughly the same area, you'll find exclusive couture made from the minds of Czech artists.
Another boutique to check out is the Incognito Designer's Room (Vězenská 6). Most of the garments are imported from Israel and are elegant yet inexpensive. The Old Town store is home to some beautiful pieces of jewelry as well.
While Prague isn't the epicenter of fashion, there are local artists with an eye trained on the latest styles around the world -- all the while incorporating their own concepts and influences.
Here, the latest trends don't always jump out at you, but between the independent stores and the imported chains, shopping in Prague can prove to be a successful endeavor.
July 25th, 2007
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