Posted by: Viviana M. Rueda Image | October 21, 2008

Travel Shopping Advisory

I’ve been mourning the loss of a pair of fantabulous deep-v neck, chocolate brown ankle boots for the last three weeks. Porque you ask (for those of you non-Los Angelinos that’s “why” in Spanish)? Because I was daft enough to pass up a killer deal at this amazing shoe store (Carla F) in Aalborg! I had told myself that I’d invest in at least a few Danish designers and I was feeling…well a tad guilty and lighter of pocket and I second-guessed myself. As with most things in life, second-guessing yourself is no bueno!   Now I’m going to have to invest in some Via Spigas or Steve Maddens.

Which leads me to my shopping travel advisory. Do shop. Do not second guess yourself. Do look for unique pieces that you won’t find back home.

There’s something so cool about a piece of clothing or an accessory that comes with a story. Like the one-of-a-kind handbag that I found in the back of a 100-year old shop in Barbastro. I randomly found this antiques shop as I was walking back to my cousin’s home down the most ridiculously narrow medieval street. I hadn’t planned on shopping but I did need a great brown purse for going out at night!

Do research the local shopping areas and designers. Utilize your concierge, Lonely Planet, travel magazine (Conde Nast and Town & Country Travel are awesome resources), etc, etc, to find out where you should go to find local shopping meccas. Another fun way to do this – find the general vicinity of the type of shopping that you’d like to do. Typically it’s a street, district or mall/bazaar. Grab yourself an espresso (or whatever local brew appeals to you) and sit down to watch the foot traffic. When you see a Fashionista tail her/him (try to avoid doing the weird stalker dude thing though) to a cool store. Generally speaking if you land yourself in the right district finding the stores that you’ll like won’t be hard, merchandising in most parts of the world tends to be the same (with exceptions, if you go shopping in Kabul I don’t know what to tell you) so window displays and signage will prompt you as to whether you’ll like the brand or not.

Prior to your trip, go through your closet (say hello to the travel wardrobe audit) and see if you are missing any signature/basic pieces. For instance, if you are missing long brown boots and you are going to Paris during the winter, odds are that you’ll find an awesome pair there. Especially if you hit up Christian Louboutin. Bring a list of the wardrobe items that you need and it will be much easier for you to spot good deals. I’m not saying that going “off the cuff” isn’t fine as well, but the list helps to ensure that your new wardrobe investment will be easier to style with the remainder of your wardrobe AND you won’t end up with another pink cashmere sweater to add to your existing collection of 20 pink sweaters.

And when you do find a piece that is within your budget, and perfect for you…don’t let your friend talk you out of finishing your shopping just because she’s antsy (move it along back to hotel by yourself sistah!). I missed out on the most awesome orange patent-leather clutch because of this. My bad, I should have kindly suggested that she go back to the hotel and take a nap while I haggled over the clutch. As with local shopping make sure that the person accompanying you on the shopping trip is appreciative of the process.

Last but not least, and wrapping up to my first shopping travel advisory point – Don’t second guess your purchase (unless it means emptying your checking account, which I really don’t recommend). If it’s right, buy it.

And now I’m off to dream of the silk chiffon emerald-green creation by Catherine Malandrino that is my new obsession. Given that I just came from the opening of Catherine Malandrino Maison on La Cienega, it’s a small wonder I’m not obsessing about the entire store. For any woman with a discriminating image to portray and who appreciates stunningly feminine clothing, this store is a MUST on your future shopping circuit.  Plus, unless the champagne was playing tricks on me, I seem to recall walking through a little French Bistro as I tried to get away from the photogs shooting madly at Dita Von Teese.  Danger Will Robinson!  Couture, Champagne & French Pastries, Oh My!

Viviana M. Rueda

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