The Budget Babe | Affordable Fashion & Style Blog

10 Reasons To Shop Here, Not There

Before you turn green with envy because your fashion-intern friend is working in Paris, your art-school friend is studying in Milan and your filmmaker-friend is summering in Spain, consider the following: According to Fifi LaMode, The Budget Babe's International Shopping Advisor, shopping is just plain better in the good ol' U.S.A. Read on to find out why... —TBB

by Fifi LaMode
Fifi LaMode's 10 Reasons we prefer shopping in the US to EUROPE:

1. Exchange rate: EU 1 = $1.40. Stinky any way you look at it.

2. Their idea of a sale is 10% off. Smart Americans don't even consider a sale unless it's 50% off.

3. Their clothes are made in the same factories in China as ours are. For example, prices at H&M are the same here (in the case of Denmark, they're around 40% cheaper here!) even though it's a Scandinavian company.

4. VAT - People who complain about local sales taxes hear should bear in mind that in Europe there's an average of 17% Value Added Tax added on to the price of clothing (with the exception of kids' clothes which are considered a necessity whereas women's and men's clothes are a luxury! ...ok). You can claim part of it back at the airport but usually you have to spend over a certain amount (usually around $200) to get back around 9%—there's a whole industry in "processing" VAT claims and everybody gets a cut.

5. If it's no good, you can't return it! That impulse to get the Armani jacket that's just a tad too tight but looks great when you hold your breath will cost plenty when you see it in the cold light of your mirror back home and realize you paid a lot of money for something you're not going to wear.
6. Their sizes are out of whack. Depending on which country you're in, remember the clothes are tailored for the women in that country. French women tend to have small frames and small breasts so their sizes tend to run on the small side. German and Scandinavian women have larger frames, are taller, and are broader on top so their sizes are larger. Their jeans fit totally weird. Italian sizes are just unrealistic—if you are larger than, say, a 4, you have to shop in the upholstery section. Of course this bears no resemblance to the reality on the street where you
see all shapes and sizes.

7. Their styles are different from ours. On recent trips to France and Holland we noticed a lot of pointed shoes with curled-up toes. This style began in Italy in 2003, made a brief appearance in the US in 2003 and 2004, and went the way of all dumb fads. It's still going strong in Europe.

8. Our knock-offs are better than theirs. We refer of course to the "Pradas," "Guccis," "Louis Vuittons" which we have all succumbed to over the years. We wear them with a sense of humor, Italians take them seriously. (Because seriously, who wants to spend $1500 on a handbag?)

9. If you try something on in their stores and don't buy it, they act as if you have wasted their time and don't know anything about style. This is especially true in parts of Italy. On one trip to a shoe store in Venice, I tried on a pair of what looked like comfortable walking shoes. When i noticed that not only could I not walk in them but they just fit all wrong, the saleswoman told me there's nothing wrong with the shoes, I should get my feet checked because they are deformed! That's a new one.This mainly applies to chi-chi shops with attitude. A lot of sales staff is quite nice actually, especially in northern Europe, where they are quite easy going and don't really care whether you buy or not.

10. Language barrier. Make sure you know exactly what you are buying and that it is exactly what you want. I once mistakenly almost bought a dress in Hong Kong because I thought it was $200 when it was actually $2000! A local shopper caught the fact that I got it wrong and saved me from making a HUGE mistake.

—Fifi LaMode
I agree 100% percent! I just got back from Milan "fashion capital of the world" and didn't buy a single thing! No budget babe could survive out there!!!! Even the thing about H&M is true, over there I walk in and lets say, a pair of shorts, would cost be about $30 U.S.- Last night I just went to H&M here and got two pairs for $10 bucks! And thats just H&M! And their forever21-ish store, Zara, is wack! I'm talking 150 bucks for a jacket, 100 for a dress, when here at forever21 we can get the same stuff for NEVER more then 20-40 bucks! Yay American Shopping! Oh, and even here at Bloomingdales I get better sales! So its not just "cheaper" stores!
#1 Chantal on 2007-07-11 10:49 (Reply)
unfortunately americans still tend to have an inferiority complex about fashion when compared to the europeans. let's not be afraid to say the emperor has no clothes on.
we are not slaves to fashion and we should be proud of that fact. for the most part we want value for the buck and we are not intimidated by labels or trends - even new yorkers are stubborn about their black wardrobes - they match with everything and they don't care what milan or london comes out with, they wear what works for them!
#1.1 maggie z on 2007-07-11 11:21 (Reply)
the US has the best fashion sense in the world, bar none.
As well, styles, materials and prices are also the best.
I should know at my age.
#1.1.1 Pat Jones on 2007-07-11 18:12 (Reply)
Bravo! Here's hoping more American women embrace this fact :-)
# The Budget Babe on 2007-07-11 21:18 (Reply)
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