Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Shopping for duty free tailoring

Flickr: Hakan Dahlstrom
OK, here's an idea. I've done some business travelling recently and as such been in a few airports. One thing that occurred to me whilst doing all this was that it would have been good to know where the best Duty Free shops are so I could plan a bit before leaving. So, here's a brief summary of my recent notes - anyone wanting to add their own destinations and comments would be more than welcome. I'm excluding spirits and tobacco because that's not what this blog is about - of course all the usual duty free stuff is available.

London City Airport: Tiny as you'd expect from a small airport but a good selection of Boss shirts (not to my taste), Mont Blanc pens and accessories for the rich and I bought a nice Dunhill tie for my meeting (at which nobody wore ties so it's unworn). This was £62 as I was travelling just outside the EU.

Gatwick North Terminal: Under modernisation, sports gear, Harrods, Kurt Geiger shoes, no doubt there will be more as works progress.

Gatwick South Terminal: Fat Face, Boss, Kurt Geiger, several others - remember to check the retail prices outside the airport as many people have a perpetual sale on.

Heathrow T5: Vast shopping experience if you have the time, dominated by Harrods which has most of the designer brands you'd want - Hilfiger, Polo, just about everything. Also several designer shops opposite.

Copenhagen: Actually bigger than Heathrow T5. We're talking Boss, Polo Ralph Lauren, Burberry and Hermes with their own shops and a couple of menswear shops with a selection including LaCoste and others.

Luxembourg: Small but perfectly formed - as long as you like Boss and Lacoste in the menswear department. I was thinking about Polo Ralph Lauren shorts, the shape of which seems to sit OK on my body - and there were none.

Istanbul: Less of the clothing, just one or two shops, but an extensive selection of scent (as most of them have) and a Mont Blanc shop to go and drool over (I do like Mont Blanc pens, why the hell I can't develop cheaper tastes I don't know).

Milan Lenate: Are you kidding, it's Milan! Superb shirt shop caught my eye, if only I'd needed some shirts. Sadly I didn't. Also good shoes and suits - does anyone really buy suits duty free, though? Not easy to return goods I'd have thought.

Newcastle: Believe it or not you can buy duty free in internal flights, look, don't stare, I didn't know. Mostly sports gear and the usual drinks and stuff, but some nice watches at a better price than average.

Zurich: Curiously little in the tailoring department unless I walked straight past it whilst looking for my wife's cosmetics, which is entirely possible.

Please note this is not intended as a definitive guide - I wasn't specifically looking to write this entry when visiting most of these over the last 12 months or so, and may well have overlooked items. I'll welcome corrections and of course additions as comments and will add to and update this entry - leaving a note and link to say it's updated as and when.

So, what have you found recently on any business or pleasure travels whilst in the duty free shop?


  1. Addition no. 1: Porto airport in Portugal. Some nice luxury type items; Montblanc pens and wallets with about 30% off, Boss and other shirts at a discount, a couple of watch shops. Pretty reasonable - bigger than Zurich, smaller than the biggies like Copenhagen.

  2. Well, but be careful. for cameras and electronics, at least, the duty free stuff seems to not be the latest models and you can often find it as cheap including duty via the usual "suplace stock" outlets. IME

  3. Accepted - that said I did OK on my new iPad. Nothing's a bargain if you weren't already planning to buy it of course, and one should always do a bit of homework first.

    1. (And of course the title of this entry does rather suggest it's not about cameras and electronics anyway...)

  4. Addition no. 2: Dublin Airport. Quite a good selection in the Boss shop but clearly that's only one brand; an Irish shop without the tacky souvenirs (and one with) and some nice watches. I was stuck there for four hours yesterday, just fancied browsing around some ties and cufflinks, not a great Boss fan so there wasn't much for me. A very good selection of Irish Whiskeys, which is a pity as I'm not short of the golden liquid at home and wouldn't have minded trying one or two!

  5. Guy, are women allowed to comment?
    Its really interesting that men don't have shop homing device in brain. If you were travelling with a female she could lead you straight to the duty free area without having to think about it.


I've now opened comments up to 'everybody' - but I'll be moderating, purely to avoid spam and blatantly commercial responses. Comment away - I'll look forward to hearing what you have to say!