As some of you know, I love to shop. The huge misunderstanding is – that I have tons of money. I was born with a cheap bone- I think its an inherited medical condition. I noticed that some members of my family have this same medical condition. We share shopping conquests, like men share sport stories of glory..to be discussed among good food & friends. It usually starts out, with wearing a piece of clothing ..and when a complement comes – then the conquest of that piece is shared ..ohh the glory of walking up to the store cash register, and feeling you got a great deal!
I also think, shopping should be considered a sport! And it should be considered, in my book , a workout. There is nothing like the adrenaline rush, that you get, waking up at 4am, on Black Friday- rushing to the store. Finding that dress or pants that are perfect for that special party, at a huge discount. The pushing of crowds ( yoga tree stand) is needed to hold your place. The huge amount of clothes on your arm, that you must carry around (arm weights) because if you put the clothes down, someone else may pick it up. The running to your favorite section in the store (aerobic jog) .The needed stored energy for trying on clothes for hours ( low impact aerobics- arms over your head- high stepping for dress entry)
This is one sport that men can’t compete in- they have giving up. Can you image a man, on Black Friday- with the pushing crowds, trying to figure out if 50% off original tag, is a better deal than, “take an additional 40% off” ! This is why, stores do not even try to entice men in anymore. They know the men will shop for replacement clothes, or events. Not many will shop for (reserve clothes – just in case I receive an invitation to a classy party ) Nope, and this is also why men do not get “ shopping”. Its beyond them mentally and physically . Really – keep in mind they call a game a sport – that includes a golf car, to drive you around to follow – to a small ball, (not going Fraud here)and try to get this ball in a small hole ! no aerobic heart needed- no lifting needed ( this is what a Caddy does ) and you are allowed to take breaks and have a cold drink while doing this “sport”. Some come with small umbrellas too !
So staying true to my cheap shopping self- I have created a short list of the best places to buy “ knock offs’ or inexpensive clothes – what ever title you want to use. One thing, that you will not find in any tourist book, are these stores listed- for obvious reasons..its called euros ! And this list is every changing and growing. Some ground rules need to be shared first;
1- the French govt. oversees all business, and controls when stores are allowed to have “clearance sales” . this was shocking to me, because it goes against our capitalism principles. But when in Paris, you must follow the rules..and the govt allow stores to have 2 “Soldes” seasons a year. I caught the summer one- which takes place end of July until the middle of Aug. (give or take some days) . By august 20th, its over. Its very similar to our clearance times back in America, end of summer sales, usually take place around the end of July. (if I recall my JCP days)
2- Watch the sizing !! just like America – one size 40 , will not fit like another size 40. you have to try them on , and one of the biggest problems I have found , is French women have little “puberty” like breasts. The normal cup size is A & B , (like in Victoria’s Secret world)and they design for these little cups. So I have to try on everything , to ensure I can get my C girls in the top part.
3 – return polices are very strict here. And they do not bend on this at all. Most stores will give you a store credit- no money back , no credit card refund ..and the item must have the tags still on. Also watch the time frame- one store I went to has a 5 day policy ..another had a 30 day policy. No amount of complaining will change their minds to bend the rules. The French LOVE to talk, and talk..that is their national defense strategy ..to talk you to death. So you can stand there for an hour and argue, and nothing will change.
4-all stores are not created equal ! this one was strange for me – just because it’s a “retail chain” does not mean, you can buy in one store and return in the sister store. I found this out , with Yves Rocher.. chains stores everywhere- but all act independent of each other. I understand the logic, because this way, you know for certain which store is profitable and which are not. But it’s a strange thing, to see no disclouse as to this listed above the cash register..(I am sure its written some where in very small French print)
Here is the start of my little list – and its actually the the 18th arrodesmont of Paris. Think of NYC, in the village area. Its kinda rough, buildings are old, and not all that pretty at first glance- but the deals are here !
My favorite store is TATI – it has a big pink & blue sign, and they have a store for everything..homegoods, children , men and women. As I shopped, I tried to take pics of the inside, but they get funny about this – and I got yelled at ..so I had to go “ James Bond” , and hid the camera. Here is a great place to get the season’s look, with out taking out a loan. Price points are like JCP, but the quanity is not as large. Also get ready for the crowd. You know it’s a good shopping place, when all the Parisians shop there, and they do. There was a small line to try on clothes, and a 15 min line to cash out.
Also, the clothes change all the time- so if you see something you like, its better to try it on, and buy it, because if you wait a week, its gone. ( trust me on this one) So what is the trend for winter for Tati ??
The same as the large fashion houses – animal prints – everywhere – AND checks a plaids.
So for the die hard shoppers – try to blend in, when you go here , don’t look too “American” . wear jeans or leggings with ballet flats,or sandels and a shirt – no t-shirts (they don’t wear them here)
Take the metro to stop BABARST on line 9. walk down the street – and find tons of great formal wear shops !! this is where my “bling sisters” will love- a great selection of formal wear and party wear! This is a skirt with lycra !!
Here is a weird thing, I have noticed – the french will sell shirts with english written on them – but make very little sense to me ..here is an example; I found this shirt very strange. Love is like the sun ?? really ? what about sunburn ? ha
Another trend in Tati – is ” Heavy metal ” , this is a trend, that is really 1980s’ punk days ..it looks painful to me to wear ..what happens if i sneeze looking the wrong way ?? I may lose an eye !! But it popular here – and the price is very do able .