Well, 'We ALL, could look good in some Italian fashions' if - you are a savvy shopper. I quote this line from Chevy Chase in the classic eighties comedy, National Lampoons European Vacation, because last week I was lucky enough to have a little shopping trip to The Mall, just south of Florence in Italy. For those of you who are not aware of this gem of a shopping location, set in the backdrop of the stunning Tuscan countryside, I shall inform you that it is a chic shopping mall, full of designer boutiques selling last seasons collections at a heavily reduced price ( between 50-70% off to be precise). And for those of you who are not familiar with the 'shopping in Italy' scene from the aforesaid movie then click the link below to see what I mean! A quick synopsis of this scene is that the Griswald family take a detour to an Italian fashion boutique and leave looking rather over the top, in medieval meets the eighties garb. Fine, when in Rome and all that, but how did those costly outfits look, I wonder, once back home in middle America?
So this week's post is my top tips for getting some fashionable bargains at a fraction that will get an airing and wearing in Rome or at home.
Tip 1 - Make A List
Obv, yes I know but it does help, trust me.
Think about maybe what you need to get you through the coming season or, what you really could have done with last season. Perhaps it's an outfit that will go nice with those boxed shoes you bought because you loved them, had to have them, yet still haven't worn as you had nothing to wear with them?
Or it could be an indulgent accessory (Prada key ring anyone? or maybe a piece of Marni costume jewellery) or a more daily usable piece like a Bottega Veneta real Croc hip belt (yes, I said real, no mocking) reduced from 800 euros to a mere 90 euros. Classics like that never date or age.
Tip 2 - Have a Budget
Give yourself an affordable figure in your head and stick to it. This saves on purchases that give you guilt trips if you realise it probably was too expensive. You can't easily return these items once the 'Griswald Effect' kicks in. You could always Ebay-It but I think the pleasure is in the purchase - so enjoy it guilt free and get excited about bagging a bargain that you really love.
Tip 3 - Know The Sizes
It can be quite confusing in Italy coming from the UK or the US when selecting sizes. As it is an outlet centre - albeit a very flashy one, do remember there are limited stock sizes available. The sales people can be very pushy and tell you whatever they think you want to hear to make a sale. Italy has just been declared officially in recession so they are even more eager to make you buy it (more of this subject later).
French and Italian sizes are not the same either but very close in number so this can also cause confusion - check with the Pushy Parade i.e. the sales assistants, if the sizes are in French or Italian and do your own fashion maths. Here, I have listed how it works on a women's UK size 8 - move up accordingly in increments of 2 on each size to work out yours- so
An American size 6 is the same as UK 8, which is comparable to a French 36 which equates to an Italian 40. Yes confusing - do keep a note of this while shopping.
Tip 4 - Don't be Suede
Do not be - as in ' Love those suede thigh-high Sergio Rossi boots but they are a little too small' If something doesn't quite fit or not quite right don't buy it. You'll regret it even if they were reduced from 900 euros to 200 euros. You'll never wear them if they are a killer to walk in. Also in this paragraph, ignore the coos of 'Bellissima..Stupenda...Molto Carino' etc,etc from the Pushy Parade as they discuss between themselves, but in your direction when you exit the fitting room. A Miu Miu dress that, even without a bra flattened my chest, did not sit on my shoulders properly and was baggy on the hips was quite frankly not 'Bellissima' Mrs Prada shop lady!
So there you have it - go and enjoy yourselves for a day at The Mall and the nearby, recently added Fashion Valley outlet boutiques - but do keep in mind Chevy Chase in that movie - always brings a smile to my face! Click below to see what I mean.