Amanda is a local Twickenham resident who is obsessed with cooking, crochet, all things vintage, and the “Twickenham Boutiques”. She writes the Vintage Savoir Faire website, where she learns to live healthier & more creatively through good food, kitchen remedies and handmade beauty products. In this feature she gives the twickerati the lowdown on boutique chic, Twickenham style…

Shop the Twickenham Boutiques
Feeling frazzled by the crowds in Kingston? Don’t want to make the long trek into London? Well, I’ll let you in on a little secret. Twickenham has some of the finest shopping in the borough – if you know where to look. Yes, Church Street is lovely – but it’s for amateurs. Serious Twickenham shoppers hit up the boutiques. The Twickenham Boutiques.

Not familiar with these exclusive retail establishments? That’s probably because they’re interspersed with regular shops on the High Street. The Boutiques like to keep a low profile. In fact, you probably walk right by them everyday. But The Boutiques are where all the best names of Twickenham do their shopping. From last season’s ladies clothing, to slightly scuffed shoes, to previously assembled jigsaw puzzles, to (slightly chipped) fine china and crystal – it’s all available at The Boutiques…

There are so many Boutiques, one hardly knows where to start. It can be a little overwhelming. Plus, one wouldn’t want to stumble into a Boutique unawares and risk making a faux pas, that would be simply dreadful. So to help you get started on your Boutique shopping experience, I’ll share four of my personal favourites.

Oxfam, Twickenham
Oxfam – This is the classic Boutique. If you’re not familiar with the customs and etiquette of proper Boutique shopping, start at Oxfam. Inside this spacious and brightly lit Boutique you’ll find a wide range of bespoke products as well as the traditional Boutique fare of clothing, housewares and heaps of books! Oxfam is so professional, you’ll even find real printed price tags and a loyalty scheme – you might think you’re in a High Street shop! You may also be fortunate enough to pick up some of my very own pre-owned items, as I make regular philanthropic donations here myself.

The Princess Alice Hospice – This exclusive Boutique is off the beaten path, tucked away on London Road. One of my favourite features is the frequently updated, seasonal window displays to tempt you inside. Once inside, you find an intimate, cozy setting with an ample supply of women’s fashion. A quirk of this Boutique is that each clothing display rack is topped with elegant glassware. This clever juxtaposition helps you visualize your complete “party look” with outfit and cocktail in hand! Often less busy than the other Boutiques, and conveniently located near Waitrose, it’s a highly recommended stop before your weekly shop.

Charity begins in store
The Romania Shop – Have you always wanted to be the cool kid who knew about the best locations before everyone else? Then this is the Boutique for you. The Romania Boutique is understated and discreet – like the trendy bar with no sign on the door. In fact, I’m not even sure of this Boutique’s exact name. But that’s part of its allure. You just stumble across it one day and then are glad you did. This is an independent Boutique for experienced shoppers. Rather than fancy displays and seasonal windowscapes, this Boutique focuses on quantity and variety. If you want glassware, puzzles, and vintage records, this is your Boutique. If you do spot the perfect crystal flute, there is one last hurdle – how to extricate it from the display without shattering the surrounding glasses. But for that challenge, what reward! One for the true lover of shabby chic style!

Paws: treasure trove
PAWS – Oh PAWS, how do I love thee? PAWS is my very favourite Twickenham Boutique. Besides the fact that I am an animal lover, shopping at PAWS is like a treasure hunt. It’s like stepping into the attic of a stately home, with a new discovery around every corner. While they do have a selection of clothing, PAWS is The Boutique for housewares, photo frames, costume jewellery and for everything animal-related. Even their windows are crammed full with unusual vintage crockery, artwork and figurines. I highly recommend their selection of old books and 1980s knitting patterns.

Although these are my four personal favourites, don’t stop here. There are so many more Twickenham Boutiques to explore!

In fact, I often wonder whether there are more coffee shops or boutiques in our fair town. But fortunately for us, fellow savvy shoppers, Twickenham is awash with both! So on your next ladies’ shopping afternoon don’t trek into London or suffer through the long bus ride to Kingston – impress your friends with a stop at the Twickenham Boutiques!

Amanda Cook
Vintage Savoir Faire
Twitter: @vintageamanda