Sunday, December 11, 2011

Shopping in Europe

Yeah, yeah, I had a fabulous time spending a week in Europe with my husband.  But let's get to the important stuff.  What did I buy?

Who cares about scenery?
Actually, I didn't do as much shopping as I thought I would.  We were just having too much fun relaxing, first of all.  And second of all, I was a little worried about fitting stuff in our suitcases on the way home - which was probably a good thing because I think our big suitcase was technically overweight and the very nice airline check in people looked to other way.

So we did shop at a little store in Amsterdam that had lots of quirky home stuff, stationery, baby things, and tons of other stuff.  We liked a lot in there, but what we ended up bringing home was our real souvenir from the trip, a small white ceramic canal house that we can put a votive in.  It's really cute, and it will remind us of what we thought was so beautiful about this city.

We want to live in one of these houses

We weren't able to find any art that we thought we could get home or that we wanted to ship.  But we took tons of photos and we'll definitely be having some printed.  I'll be doing a shadowbox as well, and I'm going to do some coins in very small frames to arrange somewhere (we got a London Eye coin to mix in, plus we have leftovers).

This horse is all like "What's up?"

Now, for clothes, I went to the huge H&M in Amsterdam, and just didn't find much.  I was so disappointed, honestly.  There was so little I could see myself wearing, and even their basics just felt so low quality.  There were some things that I loved, and would have bought if they were just a bit tweaked.  Like a red fair isle hooded sweater vest with a hood.  If it had sleeves, I would have gotten it.

As it was, all I got was an orange leather braided bracelet for 2 euro.  I thought the orange would be a good reminder of Amsterdam, and honestly it seems to be really good quality for the price.  I did like the look of some of their bags and almost bought a faux fur collar, but my H convinced me I wouldn't wear it.  I think he was probably right.  Since we went to one of the flagship stores, we got a look at the home line.  I can't find pics online, but I really liked a lot about it.  It was really focused on white, casual fabrics, which I loved.  I think it will be really successful!

In London, we found ourselves arriving at the Tower of London a few minutes after the last guided tower had started, so we decided to come back the next day (totally worth it, the tours guided by the Yeoman Warders are fantastic.  And free!), and we trekked over to the west side of town to a big shopping center to visit the Lego Store (we got a wizard keychain for Brett and a set of three build your own minifigs - one toy soldier to honor our locale and two that we just picked to match some of our collection).

At the same shopping center, I stopped in the French Connection when I noticed they were having a big sale.  They're supposedly having the same sale online, but all I got was this bird skull necklace, which I paid 15 pounds for (roughly $23).  So why it's on "sale" for $49 online, I'm not sure.  That's even more than the original price on my tag of 30 pounds.  I've noticed some big discrepancies between UK prices and online US prices at Topshop as well.

Cute, yes.  Worth $50, no.

Ahhh, Topshop.  Brett found a little info guide and let me know this shopping center contained a Topshop, so we hotfooted it right over.  I LOVED it.  Such a great store, and I loved that there was a wide variety of prices.  The wall of tights was incredible - so many colors and patterns.  Honestly, I would have bought way more if I'd had room for it, but I was worrying about packing space at this point.

So here's what I bought.  This cream sweater with a black beaded motif, for 50 pounds.  Sorry for the crappy picture.  I loved this when I saw it, plus it's insanely soft and not too heavy.  I think it will look great layered with another shirt underneath.

These sleeves look super long, but it's just kind of short, not belly baring, but not the long shirts I'm used to.
I also got a tee shirt that's knit on the back and a silk type material on the front (although I seriously doubt it was silk for the price I paid, I think 18 pounds).  It's hot pink and orange, with a little pocket on the chest, and a great sillhouette.

I also got this pig cuff bracelet.  Again, I didn't pay this much but I don't remember exactly what I did pay, closer to 15 pounds/20 bucks.  I also got a snake wrap bracelet for around the same price point that I can't find online.  And I got a pair of opaque tights in a gorgeous mustard color.  I'll take pics of all the items when I wear them.

Now, here's what I strongly considered but didn't buy.  This t-rex print sweatshirt in gray was so adorable, and a great price, but they didn't have it in my size.  I also seriously considered this fox sweater, and part of me still really loves it, but the other part is happy that I left it on another continent.  I also loved their jeans, they offered them in fabulous colors.  But I wasn't sure about the sizing and I had a husband waiting for me so I knew it wasn't the time for jean shopping.

What I loved, wanted, would have bought if I'd had unlimited suitcase space of course included a pair of shoes.  I saw so many girls wearing brogues or ankle boots with slouchy socks over tights, leggings, or skinny jeans.  It was so cute.  Now this is a look that I'm unsure about on myself.  I'm very happy with my feet and ankles, okay with my calves.  But I'm afraid this could take away a lot of the shape in my legs.  Honestly though, jeans do that anyway.  So it's something I want to try.

These (I think they're the ones I was looking at) were exactly what I was looking for, but the pic online doesn't show how great they looked in person.  They were slightly distressed and the leather looked great.  They're about $20 higher on the US website, so I'll have to decide if that's worth it.

I also loved, loved, loved this navy leather satchel, but I know it didn't cost nearly that much at the store.  I remember doing a quick conversion and thinking it was just over $100.  I also loved this navy and cream leather bag at a little lower price point (roughly $60 in store, 38 pounds).  I would have bought one of them if I thought I had room.  And in hindsight, I could have moved things around, worn my heavier shoes on the plane and made it work.  But I just didn't want to deal with it at that moment.

I wish the price discrepancy wasn't so big, but I'm sure there are costs for them associated with selling in the US.  There are definitely some things I think are worth it.  I think soon enough I'll be making an order for a bag (not sure which one yet), the brogues, a pair of jeans, and a pair of velvet slippers, among other items.  I'm really glad I got to try it out, get an idea of sizing, and have a great time shopping!