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Tag Archives: John Lewis

Retail Therapy

6 Apr
I hate shopping for clothes in Italy. No such thing as “petite” sizes for those of us who are height-challenged, and most stores are tiny boutiques, so it is a drag going in-and-out to find what you might want. There is little in the way of moderately priced clothing: it is either too cheap (and probably flammable) or ridiculously expensive. A 22% VAT doesn’t help. Shopping the bancarelle (outdoor street market stalls) is not something I care to do. Imagine trying on your clothes in a Fototessera booth.
Typical bancarella in Viale Parioli, near our flat. Seasonal clothing, very inexpensive. Probably made by Chinese immigrants in sweat shops in Prato, IT.

Typical bancarella in Viale Parioli, near our flat. Seasonal clothing, very inexpensive. Probably made by Chinese immigrants in sweatshops in Prato, IT.

 

The fototessera booth, where we go for ID pictures, and where shoppers can slip in to try on clothes. Note the handy location next to overflowing trash bins.

The fototessera booth, where we go for ID pictures, and where shoppers can slip in to try on clothes. Note the handy location next to overflowing trash bins.

With summer approaching, I was really missing the days when we had the ability to shop online in the U.S. (Nordstrom! Amazon! Talbot’s!) and receive our purchases duty-free thanks to the Diplomatic Post Office. Lo and behold, we found out Lands’ End has a U.K. web presence and I was able to order jeans that fit.
If the U.K. decides to leave the EU, this will no longer be possible as we’ll have to pay customs fees, which are very high. <Sniff> I also like U.K. retailer John Lewis. Great stuff at not-bad prices. We also shop (and have for a year now) at Amazon.IT, where eerily our login info, address book, and credit cards ported over from Amazon.com.
Online shopping is not nearly as developed as in the U.S., but it’s a start. Now, off to ECCO’s EU site to browse sandals. The warm weather has arrived!

NB: For info on the Chinese garment industry in Prato, see this article from the New York Times

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