02.15.2009 86 °F
I am hoping that if I make this announcement official (with all of you as my witnesses), I will stick to my word. As of tonight, I am putting my credit card away. That means no more clothing purchases for me, even if they will be perfectly fitting and reasonably priced pieces. It is just so hard to say no to it all, but I know I must!!
I wouldn't say I am a huge shopper in comparison to most girls. There are definitely things that I love (shoes!) and have a weakness for (skirts!), but most of the stuff I buy in the States serves a purpose (sadly, for work...). This city, however, just makes you want to buy stuff. The streets are lined with tailor shops. They have hundreds of fabrics to choose from, tons of catalogs to peruse, and of course all of the mannequins with adorable jackets, skirts, dresses, pants, suits, etc etc etc. I came here looking for a few cute dresses for the several weddings we have in the next few months. I figured I may also have a few skirts made because why not. It's very reasonable to shop here, and it's just really hard to resist the temptation. You can walk into any shop, point at a picture or sketch something on paper, and they will make it for you. You pick the colors, fabric, length, style. They take a billion measurements, and a half a day later you come back to try it on. They mark it up if they want to take it in/out anywhere, and then a few hours later - TA DA, beautiful clothing that you picked out. It's all made at a very afforable price. You can get dirt cheap stuff (shirts made for $10) but you pay for the quality of the material and work. We obviously opted for better quality and for the most part paid comparable to what we may pay in the States (or a few bucks cheaper), but seriously got it to fit perfectly for our bodies. We went to three places that were highly recommended by people we knew (our Canadian friends, our bike tour guide, and our hotel's clothing shop which was high end but we got a 20% discount to make it more affordable).
Conrad turned out to be quite the shopper. I think it was a bit of peer pressure from our Canadian friends who spent all week here and spent $800 each on suits, tuxedos, pants and shirts. Conrad had 4 pair of pants made (2 really nice dress pants, 2 more everyday work pants of great material) and a classic tux. I think he maybe spent $380 on all of that.
I think I am leaving with 6 dresses (all about knee length, 3 are fancy, 1 is casual, and the rest somewhere in between), 3 pair of pants (2 pair of dress pants, 1 pair of linen pants), 5 nice tops/blouses, 1 going out shirt, and 3 skirts (2 more professional tweed ones, 1 casual and fun), and 1 adorable jacket. NO SHOES, although they are also custom made and all over the city. I just resisted the urge! I think I spent just under $300 in total.
My advice for y'all, if you come to Vietnam:
1. Go to Hoi An for a relaxing, fun time and bring an EXTRA bag for all of the stuff you will buy (no idea how we are gonna get it all on the train tomorrow...)
2. Don't go to the tailor shops too tipsy because you will likely buy 2-3x more than you planned on...it's just too easy!