Bargain-hunters scouting for great buys on designer labels, shoes, or cutting-edge fashions will be disappointed in Bermuda. The island carries such a limited and expensive range of clothing and footwear that even average Bermudians travel abroad a couple of times a year to load up their wardrobes in U.S. and Canadian malls — a longtime trend the Bermuda Chamber of Commerce tries to combat with its “Buy Bermuda” campaign.
Of course, if you’re simply in the mood for fashion shopping, and not too worried about comparative price tags, you will find plenty to spend on. The good news is that Hamilton’s once-stuffy, though beloved, department stores have either vanished or are being forced to compete — both by Bermudians’ foreign retail therapy and the advent of designer boutiques, which are springing up around town.
Mambo (12 Walker Arcade, tel. 441/296-9797) stocks racks of Dolce & Gabbana and Diesel; Atelerie (6 Dundonald St. at Cedar Ave., tel. 441/535-1361) brings in Rebecca Taylor, Joe’s Jeans, Velvet, Foley and Corinna, and Kenneth Jay Lane. Lusso (51 Front St., tel. 441/295-292) proffers Prada and Jimmy Choo. Benetton, Stefanel, Nine West, French Connection, Longchamp, and Max Mara all have stores, most opened in the last five years.
Truly good buys, however, are to be had in perfumes, European cosmetics, jewelry (mostly conservatively designed gold and silver), and fine china and crystal. Wedgwood, Kosta Boda, Orrefors, Hermès, Royal Doulton, and Limoges can be found at several Front Street retailers, at prices competitive with, or better than, those in the United States. Scottish woolens and hand-embroidered Irish linens, which are hard to find in North America or very expensive, are also worth stocking up on.
Although they used to be sold in Hamilton, duty-free items are now only available at Bermuda Duty Free (Departures Hall, tel. 441/293-2870), the retail outlet at Bermuda International Airport. Popular merchandise includes the island’s hallmark Gosling’s Black Seal Rum, rum cakes, Outerbridge’s sherry peppers, and perfumes.