Hi ladies, I'm not much of a clothes horse, but I want to buy something in Paris that is classic and will last. I'm thinking along the lines of a piece of clothing (blouse, skirt, dress). I don't wear scarves and limited jewelry. I recently hit my goal weight (lost 130 LBS) and would like to celebrate my achievement when I go to Paris in the fall by buying something I can wear as a milestone. Any help on what to buy and where to buy it would be appreciated.
Congratulations! That is a remarkable achievement, well worth celebrating. I have long admired French skirts-cute, well-made, and distinctively "French". That would be my choice. As for where to shop, I can't help much as the only place I have shopped in Paris was at Le Bon Marché, which is very nice. There are two other good department stores, Printemps and Galeries Lafaette, as well. But maybe you are thinking of a smaller boutique shop?
Terrific for you! Depending on your final goal weight, I must warn you that I am a size 12 and have great difficulty finding smart clothes in Europe. Often the sizes seem to end about North American 8, or 10. What about an awesome designer bag? Bags last forever and always fit!
Actually you can get large sizes at Galleries Lafayette and Au Printemps. But you don't need large sizes anymore Kelly, Congratulations!!
I thought Monoprix was a grocery store? Next somebody's going to tell me that Carrefour sells girdles or something. No wonder I'm not allowed offa the vegetable and cheese aisles.
How about a pretty sweater, especially since you're going in the fall. Something with a little pizazz, pretty neckline, pretty color, dressy.... You can wear it with skirts or pants.
Monoprix sells lots of clothes, costume jewelry, accessories as well as food. I shop there all the time and get clothes there (slightly larger than 12). Be sure to bring a european to US size chart, for clothes and shoes! But Monoprix clothes are inexpensive - though very stylish. If you want something a bit more substantial, I would go for a nice purse, perhaps some jewelry, shoes, you will find clothes that fit I'm sure though perhaps not in every store. I like to buy a small art object as a rememberance of Paris also, and of course the perfume choices there are great. In addition to all the department stores already mentioned, the Rue de Rivoli has BHV dept. store and a lot of inexpensive/trendy clothing stores, that have a good range of sizes. Walk from BHV down towards the Place de Concorde to hit most of them. I've been to Paris 8 times and I alway hit this area. The Marais also has interesting boutiques, as does the St. Germain area. You will find wonderful things virtually everywhere. And you may change your mind about scarves when you see how Parisian women wear them.
I know you are not a scarf person, and I wasn't either. But, I bought two scarves on a trip to Paris 3 years ago and it converted me. Now I love scarves and they are small, inexpensive reminders of my trips that I use all the time. Congratulations on the weight loss, Kelly! I applaud your celebration.
"I thought Monoprix was a grocery store? Next somebody's going to tell me that Carrefour sells girdles or something." Er.... actually, they DO! Roger
Thanks for all the support (and encouragement). I look forward to the experience. And I LOVE going to the grocery stores in Europe! Which aisles have the girdles?
I recommend H&M, Zara, Esprit and the others you'll find at a typical mall in Europe. They have on-trend clothing at great prices. Les Halles is a mall with various cheap shops, but it's not the best of Paris atmosphere-wise (as in there's Army people with rifles walking the mall). The stores at and around Galerie Lafayette have a better atmosphere. I also suggest going the handbag route.
You might also want to try the "fast fashion" stores along Rue de Rivoli. Within a very few blocks you will find Promod, C&A, H&M, Etam, Zara, IKKS and many others. All of these places are great! They stock up-to-the-minute designer looks at a fraction of the price you'd spend in a fancy boutique or one of the gorgeous department stores like Au Printemps or Galeries Lafayette. I am a slightly larger American woman, and they stock my size at C&A! Last visit to the store at 126 rue de Rivoli, I bought a very cool skirt (eggplant watered satin trumpet skirt - sort of a sexy secretary look) for about 25 Euros, and a nifty matching necklace with chunky lavendar and violet crystals for 10 Euros. Another trick I've discovered is to go to the pricier places first, then buy an identical look at one of the fast fashion places. In fact, if you hit the flagship Au Printemps (64 Blvd. Haussmann) you can suss out what's current, and then cross the street to C&A at 49 Boulevard Haussmann - where they sell great knock-offs (a proud French tradition!) for a fraction of the price you'd spend just steps away.
I bought dresses from these two locations and I have received tons of compliments from even strangers. You cannot buy online or find locally in the states. Naf Naf 143 Rue de Rennes 6th arrondissement 75006 Paris (Very fashionable and current, more youthful) Mary Kimberly 19 Rue Saint-Placide 6th arrondissement 75006 Paris
(Great classic dresses, blouses and skirts) Good luck and have a great time shopping for that perfect item.
All due respect, but losing 130lbs is a spectacular achievement and deserves a true splurge. I would not consider places like Monoprix, H&M or Zara worthy of treating yourself for that kind of achievement. You definitely deserve something really, really special and not some off the rack crap that thousands of Europeans will also be wearing. Sure, those stores have cute & trendy clothes, but it's a real stretch to call them well made or "classic". I still am annoyed that I didn't splurge once & get this amazing pair of heels I saw in Paris. I had never seen a shoe like that in the US, even in the high end shoe stores in Manhattan and Chicago. They were one of a kind. That's what you deserve... Something one of a kind. If you don't want to get clothing or shoes and you like wearing fragrance, there are some artisan perfume stores around Paris that can create a custom scent for you. You tell them the kind of scents you love and they will mix different formulas and let you test them until you decide it smells perfect on you.
Kelly, honestly, I'm in agreement with Ceidleh. Start a fund today for your Paris memento. You deserve a treasure after that dedication and hard work! Why not consider a really special splurge, like a bit of Louis Vuitton or Dior - truly Parisian. Yes, it is an investment, but something you will treasure always.
If you want something that is Parisian, then shopping in H&M, Zara, C&A, etc. will give you clothing that is made in China or India sold by companies that aren't even French. I will bet that Paris, like many other cities in Europe has lots of stores in various neighborhoods that sell clothing made by small designers. Even Frankfurt, which isn't particularly known for high fashion has a decent selection of these type of designer stores, so I would guess that Paris has many, many more. The prices are going to be higher than in the chain stores, but you get something very unique.
Ed, what a classic call. Such a bloke!!!!
I truly agree with the perfume. I always buy my perfume overseas....it is formulated with more essential oils than the same perfume here. My other splurge is ALWAYS the lingerie.
I don't buy that much perfume. Is there a way to know I'm buying something I can only get in Paris or France and can't order online or get here?
Hi Kelly, Congratulations, you deserve to celebrate! A fabulous pair of designer sunglasses might be a good reward tho less expensive, or a simply wonderful winter coat. You'd be able to wear and enjoy those for several years. Although you said "limited jewelry", you might consider a piece from the Louvre museum store, or any museum you visit. Just take a look around museum stores while there- you might see something else you love, and the quality ought to be good.
I have a couple of pins ( brooches) from the Orsay from '89 that are classic art nouveau style, yet were not terribly expensive. They won't go out of style like clothing. I also have a gorgeous scarf from Versailles ( and wanted some linens and an umbrella). You'll know what to buy when you see it!
Me again! I agree that losing 130 pounds is AMAZING. BUT... I suggested "fast fashion" because... well, here is my gory story. About 5 years ago, I reached a HUGE weight loss goal. Lost maybe 70 pounds. About 6 months after doing that, I went to Paris. I am a famous tightwad, and even though my husband was practically begging me to splurge on something fancy and sexy, I didn't buy any clothes. Now? I am glad that I didn't splash out and spend a lot, because I (drum roll) gained all of the weight back! Gah!!!!!! Which is why I suggested the "fast fashion" route. Sadly, diets fail 98% of the time. (Wry grin emoticon.) Spending a huge amount on a piece of clothing initially sounds like a cool way to celebrate... but I just can't personally recommend it. Jewelry - museum stores are an awesome idea - or shoes, or an amazing bag - those might be more practical. SORRY! I know this is a weird post, but I couldn't leave it unsaid!
Gee, what a downer post.
Great you lost weight but at least ONE poster is sure that since she gained her's back so will you. Please try not to assume the "I am doomed to fail" attitude that was just passed on! Now as for me I do purses in Pairs, but.... I have a friend who went to one of the 'resale stores' and bought "last season's" suit. Can't recall the brand but it was VERY nice, still looked great (it was classic enough that "last season" could be worn for several years if you weren't a NY Fashionista :) ) She loved it and has been wearing it for years! It's a way to get "designer" for a little less. Still not "cheap" but more realistic!
@Kira: Not a strange post at all. I only rained on your "fast fashion" parade because if you look at Kelly's original post, she clearly states "I want to buy something in Paris that is classic and will last". There is a distinct difference between an investment piece that is classic, well made and can be worn for decades, and fast fashion which is trendy and only meant to be worn for 1-2 seasons. Fast fashion definitely has it's place - it's certainly fun to try out different looks and fads and to do it cheaply. And I definitely recommend that Kelly go out and pick up something cute and trendy - but at an American fast fashion store (we already have H&M and Zara here in the U.S.) so she isn't needlessly paying more money for her trendy stuff after factoring in a bad Euro-Dollar exchange rate. I've got a Chanel suit that was worn by my mom in the 70s, a Fendi handbag given to me as a gift when I was a teen 20 years ago, Gucci sunglasses I bought for myself 10 years ago. All of them still current and still being used today because they were well made and have a timeless style. I have a 50/50 mix of trendy and classic in my closet, and the fast fashion is always the stuff that ends up in the box headed to Goodwill. And anyone who has ever lost weight knows it's a constant struggle to keep it off, so although it might seem like a risky gamble to you, sometimes an expensive investment piece (like the perfect little black dress from Dior) may serve as a great incentive to Kelly to maintain her goal weight so she always fits in that "milestone" outfit.
Yeah, wow, the post from Kira is a complete downer. I can't imagine saying anything less helpful or less hopeful. Congrats on your weight loss Kelly and I hope you find something beautiful and classic that will commemorate all the hard work you have put into yourself. Do come back after your trip and let us know what you purchased.
Sorry everyone! I don't mean to be a downer. But trust me on this, I am not the only one who has lost weight only to gain it back. And yes, Kelly DID say she wanted to spluge on something nice, so I didn't answer the question correctly in the first place. Of course you do know you should ALL fele free to ignore me. :o)
My wife is a professional shopper for film and television shows. She said everything in the stores was the same stuff she could get at most malls here in L.A. She did spot some cheap shoes she liked in Sarlat (Dordogne) and it tuns out they were actually made in France, she bought two pair. That was the only thing she bought although, I did take her picture in front of H&M in every city we went.
Kelly, want items do you like to shop for? Some people are shoe people, some people are handbags, some are clothes, etc..I would suggest that you look for the kind of thing you gravitate towards already. From your post address, it looks like you live in a climate with all the seasons. A good pair of leather gloves might be a suggestion.
I think Kira came out and said what a few others were thinking. It's not that gaining weight back WILL happen, but it COULD, and that possibility should be kept in mind. Kira said she has personal experience in that, so I don't blame her for bringing that up. Whatever you buy, make sure to wear it a few times in Paris to make it even more special.
Kelly, go ahead and get something FABULOUS!!! I vote for a classic piece of jewelry, a designer handbag, or a small work of art. Have someone photograph you making the purchase if the shopkeeper doesn't mind. Post that photo on the fridge when you return home to celebrate your achievement and to remind yourself that nothing in that fridge tastes as good as fit and healthy feels! That way, when you return to Paris in the future, you'll still look and feel as great as you do now!
From a fellow Missourian, I think about sunglasses and hats when i think "France." Great going on the weight!
Kelly, Seveal times I have bought earrings or a bracelet. I also have purchased a number of logo plates. When hubbie and I have a memorable meal (in the small family owned places) that we want to remember for the food.ambience and romance I always take a look at the plates. If the plate has a logo on it I have asked if they would sell one to me. I have never been told no. Twice the owner has come out and initiated a.very nice conversation. The plates are all on plate stands and bring me much joy when I look at them. They are topics of conversation around here often. We are headed to the Villages & vineyards of E. France on Oct 3rd and I hope to have many memorable meals and come home with more plates. Have a great trip and buy something that will make you smile!
1. A red trench coat. Ever since I saw Paris J'taime I associate that clothing item with Paris. 2. A Hermes scarf. ( I bet you will change your mind about scarves if you have one of those!)
Well, I know you said you don't wear scarves, but scarves are all the rage right now in France.
Hi Kelly Congradulations on reaching your goal. Hope you have fun shopping for that something special. I am planning a trip to Paris with a cousin who loves to shop. I am looking at a Paris shopping tour. Who other then someone in Paris knows all the great Paris shops and boutiques them someone that lives there. http://www.viator.com/tours/Paris/Paris-Shopping-Tour-Discount-Couture/d479-3151COU I know you want that one nice peice but don't forget to get something you can use all the time. Each time you pull it out you will remember you got it for your milestone, and on your visit to Paris. I have a couple of scarf from Paris and love them on cool summer evenings. I end up using them as a shoulder wrap more then scarf. My cousin got some earings and I still hear about how happy she is I talked her into them. Once you have that great outfit make sure you plan a special outing to wear it while you are there. Maybe a resaurant you might not normally go to. Dinner on the Eiffel Tower at Le jules Verne, Tea at the Ritz, a special concert going on at one of the palaces. Enjoy your trip and shopping. Wendy