Hello, my name is Anne and I am a compulsive shopper! I always come home from my travels with something new – whether it be clothes, jewellery, shoes or handbags. The latter is my absolute weakness. I write about travel, clothes and style with my oldest friend on our blog.
Fabulous Clothes from Greece
Since I have been holidaying on the Greek island of Santorini every year for the past 15 years, many of my summer purchases have come from there – including those featured last year. I have discovered a cute Greek brand of casual clothes that feature lightweight summer items in wonderfully bright colours.
This is exactly what I go for. The best thing is that you won’t bump into anyone else wearing the same outfit. Since I usually travel to Santorini towards the end of the summer season, I have managed to get quite a few of their garments at half price, which is always a bonus.
Santorini also has a great selection of linen dresses and tops. Though linen isn’t particularly cheap, even in Greece, it is always so cool, comfortable and easy to wear. For holiday visits to steamier climates, it is a must. One of the drawbacks is that linen creases so badly, so it is probably not too good for travelling on long haul trips.
Far East Bargains
If you’re lucky enough to visit the Far East, which we did three years ago, there are some fabulous shops and markets offering fantastic bargains – and I don’t mean fake goods! I have a lovely cool white Chinese-style cotton blouse bought in Chatuchak market in Bangkok for less than five pounds.
Look out for great deals in Thailand, Hong Kong and Singapore – you can get made to measure clothes at a fraction of what they cost at home – and they don’t even need a pattern. A made-to-measure suit in silk and cashmere cost around the same price as an off the peg polyester one back home – and it was ready within a day. My “dressmaker” copied the design from a photograph and it was completed within 24 hours!
Love Italian Style
I love Italian style. In fact, many of the clothes bought in the UK are Italian. But one purchase I made on a visit to Tropea, Calabria, is a silk blouse. It is in pink of course, one of my favourite colours. Again, this was bought at the end of the season, so another great bargain (see picture). I have accessorised this with a white bead necklace from Santorini.
Watch Margaret Talk About Her Finds from Around the World
Tips for Finding Style Treasures
If you’re travelling to tourist destinations, always look for bargains at the end of the season, and if you’re visiting hot climates, seek out clothes in lovely cottons, luxurious silks and natural linen fabrics to keep you cool.
However, if you prefer city breaks to beach holidays, clothing purchases bought in independent fashion boutiques tend to be slightly more formal. Look for tailored trousers, jackets and fitted shirts, though probably not items I wear now since I am no longer in corporate life.
For city break travellers, seek out independent boutiques if you want unusual finds, and steer away from global high street brands – though do be aware that different countries do offer different styles from home.
Thira, which is the main town in Santorini, has a stunning choice of jewellery shops with the most fabulous diamonds, sapphires, emeralds, rubies and designer watches at ridiculously high prices – aimed at the hundreds of cruise ships which dock there.
I would avoid those shops unless you are extremely wealthy, are specifically looking for something unusual and have found either something completely different or much cheaper than home.
However, if you want fabulous costume jewellery, Bizermani has the most unusual and limited pieces. From beautiful pearls to a peacock style gold-tone and thread necklace to a rhodium plated and coral long necklace, these are definitely one of a kind. The tourist resorts too will often have ranges of inexpensive jewellery in leathers, unusual beads or turquoise stones, which are great for gifts. You can always save them until Christmas!
We have visited both Dubai and Bangkok over the years and have come home with some fabulous jewellery. Dubai is a wonderful place to buy gold at reasonable prices. Try the gold souk in Deira, but do your research before you go and be prepared to haggle and walk away if the price isn’t right.
Top tip when buying jewellery abroad – do your research! You can actually find some real bargains in certain parts of the world if you’re prepared to haggle, but you can also end up paying a fortune when you don’t need to if you’re taken in by the glitz of glamourous foreign high streets!
Shoes and Handbags
I have a particular weakness for handbags and shoes and my go-to leather shop is Transit in Perissa, Santorini. My lovely Greek friend offers comfy leather thong sandals and a good selection of soft leather handbags and traditional old-style suitcases.
I always need a larger shoe size in hot countries. Apparently British and Scandinavian women tend to have problems with swollen legs and feet in the sun. So, when I go abroad I always take shoes or sandals that are too big at home. Here are two more tips.
First, don’t go away on holiday with brand new shoes. I made that mistake with a pair of sensible flats that I thought would be comfortable for walking in Singapore. They weren’t and I had blisters for three days!
Second, don’t fill up your suitcase before you get there. You can find fabulous shoes and sandals to buy once you get there, usually at great value for the money.
Finally, look out for unusual pieces for your home. Glass and pottery is often gorgeous but probably not a good idea to pack in your already bulging suitcase! However, most good businesses can arrange shipping to your home address, and with proper packing and careful padding, will eventually arrive safely. I know someone who once bought a huge dining table and six dining chairs to be shipped home – but that was brave of them!
Do you love to shop when you are on holiday? What style finds have you made while on your travels? Do you have a favorite outfit or item of jewellery that you purchased while on vacation? Please share your shopping stories in the comments.