House Of Fashions has moved to a new location on Baseline Road. See the new review here.
HoF (pronounced hoff) as it’s popularly known gets a bit of a bad rap. By a certain class of Colombar it used to be called the House of BO. An ugly and uppity reference to the fact that the bulk of its clientele aren't quite as privileged as regular patrons of ODEL, Colombo’s high-end clothing flagship. It must be admitted though that at a certain point HoF really did smell of er humanity. The fact that it no longer does might say something about the benefits of economic development, more Colombars its seems can now afford deodorant…
However pointless snobbery and olfactory observations aside the five story behemouth on the corner of De Fonseka Place is crammed full of clothes and on the scavenger hunt that is the quest for serviceable apparel in this city HoF is an undeniably useful stop.
To satisfy my male needs they have a really stand out selection of office shirts - Van Heusen, Hugo Boss for Rs 1200- 1800, all neatly packaged and piled at the back of the men's section. That's cheaper, I think, than anywhere else for good quality shirts and they seem authentic... I generally find their selection of trousers weaker and the casual wear is still a little on the shiny, Tamil movie extra side. If you're going for the Kollywood look though HoF is a great place to start.
Don’t overlook the bargain bins- perfectly wearable -shorts, swim trunks, T-shirts and socks can often be fished out of these bins for Rs100-300. Crucially this is also one the best places in Colombo for emergency shopping. When you really need an unstained shirt or the dog managed to leave paw prints on the pants you were going to wear to the wedding a mad dash through HoF will usually yield a serviceable substitute for a decent price.
In fact the store is useful for all sorts of random shopping and gifts, far beyond its basic clothing purview. You need to buy a cheap transformeresque toy for a not so loved younger cousin- HoF, a paddling pool (everyone in this country should have one) HoF, fake flowers in every color- HoF, and so it goes. All sorts of everything is piled into the enormous space and while it isn’t all of the highest quality there is plenty of good-to mediocre stashed away between the poor to crap.
Seriously it really pays not to overlook HoF - you often end up saving and well even if you came in looking for a pair of jeans and found only horrifying besequined specimens you might yet leave with the rs 700 pink snorkeling kit you’ve always wanted.
Tip; Go late 7-8 pm to beat the crowds. Their bargain, high volume premise means they don’t have fitting rooms so if you want your clothes to fit be prepared for moderate exhibitionism or wear something light over which you can slip on prospective purchases. There is constant robing and disrobing in the aisles of HoF- in a culturally appropriate manner of course.– it’s pretty amusing.