October 1, 2014
I did not shop the first four days I was in Europe, because I was escorting my two photographer friends, and we were BUSY finding great locations and walking, walking, walking! (there will soon be a new header for The Vivienne Files!)
But once B and I got to Amsterdam, I began to look about. I didn’t throw myself madly into the process; I waited until I saw things that had whappage; if I hadn’t found anything at all that really had appeal, then I wouldn’t have wasted my very hard-earned money. It’s important to remember how long it takes to earn money when you go to spend it – is object “X” worth 3, 5, or 14 hours of your effort? Sometimes, you just have to conclude that the answer is NO. (screamed loudly, while running out of the store waving your hands about like a crazy person)
The first thing I found was in Amsterdam, walking toward the Rijksmuseum. Tamago isn’t very big, and it doesn’t scream out at you, but once you’re inside, it’s fully of lovely items. Draped beautifully in a display case I saw the “twilly” – those odd little Hermes scarves that look like a hair ribbon or a belt for someone more svelte than I. I liked the simplicity of this design – nothing but letters! – and the taupe/grey color looks really cool in my hair. Whappage? Yes!
Amsterdam is absolutely chock full of vintage, and also of amazing little stores with clearly defined points of view. I’ve been looking at Maison Scotch clothes online for a while, so when we found one of their stores very near us, we had to stop in. While much of their clothing is… young… in viewpoint, the sweatshirt in black with white stars (faux leather, meticulously satin stitched in place) was irresistible.
And bizarrely enough, we were staying upstairs from a store – Rika! (I’ll tell you about it tomorrow – it was amazing…) I adored the owners and staff; they seemed like instant friends. All of Amsterdam was warm and friendly, but these people topped everyone. So when Rika herself was wandering around wearing a star cardigan, I was attracted to it. She pointed out that if I remove all of the tags, it is, in fact, completely reversible! Sold…
Back to Paris on the train, and into COS to look at dresses that I’ve been admiring online for weeks. The tweed one was on my shopping list for sure, and the color-blocked one convinced me on the basis of it’s excellent styling, great heavy fabric, and high-quality construction. I could pretty much live in dresses, and these two are going to go into heavy rotation immediately.
At this point, I’m thinking I’m pretty much finished, but while we were doing an in-depth wander of the Saint Germain neighborhood, we happened upon Adrenaline. The owner is lovely, friendly and helpful (unlike some very famous resale shop owners, who seem to feel that they’re doing you a favor). I asked if she had any Hermes in black, and she did indeed have the Soleil de Soie, in immaculate condition and at a very competitive price. Sigh…
Bear in mind that through all of this, I had been spending money that I’d been saving for months for this trip. So I was pretty happy with my finds, except for one thing.
Remember that I mentioned the mayhem and chaos of our cab ride from the Amsterdam train station to our room at Rika? Well, in the midst of near-death experiences at the hands of our cabby, and trying to text the owners of Rika to let them know we were on our way, we managed to mislay my cell phone. My really nice, invaluable, I live with it in my hand phone. So I went through the entire week thinking that I needed to come back to Chicago and replace my phone.
But getting ready to go through the scanners at the Charles de Gaulle airport, my phone appeared. In a hidden pocket of Belovedest’s briefcase! How this happened defies our best efforts searching in the memory palace, but I ended up going through security feeling that I had a little bit of free cash.
And Hermes duty free is STRAIGHT AHEAD.
Thus, the really nifty black and white silk bandana. It’s 55 cm square – just a nice size to go around my hair, or as a wee sprightly touch around my neck. I consider it a celebration of finding my phone!
I know, it’s hard to imagine that I saw any museums, monuments, or restaurants… but I have found that my Paris purchases almost always become my wardrobe staples for years to come, so I’ve started to plan for some shopping when I’m there. Does anybody else have this much luck shopping 4,000 miles from home?love,
What wonderful shopping adventures you had!
Since I sew my wardrobe, I generally come home toting several yards of fabric. Seems the nicest stuff lives in a different place than I do ~grin~
I love the dresses! And like you, I'm always looking/asking for an Hermes scarf with some black in it.
cheryl :) says
Beautiful additions! I am crazy over your two new star additions. Must add something with stars to my want list, lol.
Lovely dresses, but you didn't find the lovely Cos stores in Amsterdam? I live in Amsterdam and love to shop there.
Janice Riggs says
I did, but I decided to hold off that shopping until Paris, so I wouldn't have SO MUCH to carry on the train! I loved Amsterdam…
hostess of the humble bungalow says
Love your new pieces and that vintage Hermes scarf with the splash of Orange is simply gorgeous!
Hermes duty free at CDG airport? Now that is going to be a great reason to get to the airport early!
Hostess–Just to help you with planning….the duty free is @ 10% under the regular price.
Next time let me know and I'll show you our hidden gems!
Stars for the Star of Bloggers! Wonderful finds, Janice. I'm so glad you had such a good time.
Jean S says
Congrats on all your shopping (and the "duty free straight ahead" comment made me laugh!). When I lived in San Francisco, a friend of mine (who lived in New York at the time) would shop when she visited. Something about being on vacation….
But I have a question about Hermes scarves–you can't get them wet, correct? (As in, rain….) I live in Oregon, and I just can't see trying to protect a scarf every time I turn around. Ain't got the mental bandwidth for that at this time in my life!
Janice Riggs says
Well, some of them will run like the wind if you get them wet, but I generally just tuck mine down under my coat or jacket if it starts to rain. Don't tell the Hermes people, but I also WASH my scarves, which probably drives them crazy. You just have to move fast and not give the colors time to bleed into each other.
I think I'm just lucky with things like this!
How fun to see the results of your shopping adventures. Love the tweed dress.
Gosh, that sounds like a lovely trip and a lovely lot of shopping. It's so nice when you find special pieces overseas – they're momentos that keep giving as you regularly wear them. Still, I have been seduced into items that work beautifully in the local environment but not when you get them home. We live and learn…
Janice, these choices are, as one might expect, so very you! When I get back to doing any buying again, I hope I can zero in on my own-ness, as you have. I'm finding it difficult to buy my "everyday" (retirement in rural village) clothes. I need practical things and somehow they all seem just too basic to get excited about, even though they are well-coordinated. Any thoughts? Hugs from
I'm replying because I too am retired- though not rural. Depends on your climate but if you have any cool to cold weather, I suggest you consider cashmere from Eric Bompard, which you can order online (in English). It comes in gorgeous non-standard-issue colours and both classic and innovative styles. Wait for post-holiday sale. The web site gives garment measurements. And you can wash nearly all styles yourself! Really boosts the style quotient of your denim or cords.
Love your choices. I find shopping "on the road" very stressful. I wish I had your confidence and decisiveness.
Love your new "shop" also.
Lori @ In My Kitchen, In My Life says
It looks like you did very well. The trip sounds lovely and mad-dash and "duty-free straight ahead"!
I love shopping in London as they have Cos, Toast etc that I really like. Added bonus is that I can go into the Eileen Fisher stores in London. In Australia we do not have anything similar. In Paris I like Metal Pointus for jewellery. I will be in in both cities later this month and can't wait. Thanks Maryann
the happy forgiver says
Welcome home! Love what you bought. One of the nice things about buying special clothing pieces on a wonderful vacation is that when you get dressed in the morning, you enjoy the beautiful clothes and you also get to enjoy the memory of the trip.
Sabrina Zeddies says
Beautiful pieces, especially the color-blocked dress. Cos has such nice clothes, simple yet stunning.
And I can so relate to your experience. I just bought my entire fall/winter capsule wardrobe on a recent trip to Germany. Not as impressive as the distance you traveled, we are talking a couple of hundred kilometers. But still, I find it easier to go shopping there because I know the stores I have to go to to get my tops or bottoms, its like shopping on autopilot. I could almost buy without trying things on whereas in the Netherlands, most of the garments -especially bottoms- are too long or just do not fit me right.
Love your travel blog. I do shop in Germany during my annual trips. There are still many high quality labels to be found for women at our age. So glad you had a wonderful time.
Seeing all the ladies coming to shop in Germany makes me smile – I live here and shop everywhere else but!
I'm too short, have a backside (German cuts are straight…), Italian & Spanish brands plus some UK and US suit me better. Thank heavens for international shipping!
When I look at each item, see how your choices work with your wardrobe. Sometimes I do what you did with buying two starred pieces of similar scale- usually one ends up not being worn much…have to be on guard for what I call "I'm Here, It's Here (And I Will Not Be Here Again for a Good While"). But you seem far less prone to such errors. Interested in your review of COS quality as they are same corp. as H&M, but higher price point.
Love the dresses…the sweaters…a little too memorable? But, a great reminder of Europe.
Many several-year old items I purchased when we lived there were just coming into style when we returned to the states…making them excellent buys…I got much more mileage from them.
Janice Riggs says
The sweaters are certainly memorable, but I don't mind that! For some people they would certainly not work out… that's part of the fun of it all!
The dresses are going to be workhorses – I wore the tweed one the day after I bought it! I'm eager to see how they hold up to serious usage.
are you still doing P333? I was wondering how you'd wiggle in your new purchases… I'm in this fall/winter! actually, I figure that NE Ohio weather is about the same from October 1 until April 1, so I am doing this for 6 months and also doing a shopping fast during this time (unless I find a *huge* need, like the fact that I am freezing or if something wears out). Have you any advice for a first timer?
Hi- I'm new to your blog and have been reading all of your posts but haven't seen the answer to my problem yet. I have been trying to edit/simplify my closet for a while and have chosen black and greys as neutrals with pink/mauve/purple as accents with white. However, I also have some tobacco/dark brown bottoms and shoes that I'm not ready to give up yet. The accents work but the browns, creams, etc. don't go well with my face. Any ideas? Would love to see a combo with these colors. Thanks and I really enjoy your blog- you have a new fan!