Which unfortunately was rather unsuccessful. But fun nonetheless.
Books had proposed a weekend of shopping to me last week and I heartily agreed. Part of the problem of letting go of most of your closet over the last year and a half is...well, you have little left in your closet. Though this is not strictly the case, since I still have more than enough clothes, I have started to realize that most of my clothes remaining are quite...well...old.
I won't say outdated because I think people can wear whatever they want whenever they want, generally speaking, but as I was going to more Internations events trying to meet people (and they have the "dress to impress" dress code), I was noticing that I only had limited choices in this department and not all of them were very good. Or modern. Or...even remotely appropriate.
I guess one thing about being a girl in her late 20's who has the body and face of someone who is younger is that you don't have a department that covers your needs. I've tried shopping in the women's department but things seem very old-styled and most of the time they never fit. The opposite problem to that is going to the teen department and fitting into everything but everything available is just a little too "young." Hence my problem. I've started to find things that work though...just...slowly.
So we went out on the town to Shepherd's Bush and had a full girls day. Abs joined us and we did the full girls day out.
Which started out with...
...getting our nails done.
Yes, this is a time and again girls practice that I do kind of love. You're forced to sit still and you can't check your phone so you...either sit and stare off into space (this happens more often that most people would probably realize) or you talk and gossip. Much catching up was necessary as Abs had just come back from a splendid holiday in New York and Books was having various issues of her own. I...well, I have stuff going on but you already know about most of it.
The place we got our nails done was inside the mall itself at a small stand in the middle of all the stores. I'd never been to it before (because I've never gotten my nails done outside of the US) but it was being run by a bunch of Asians so, admittedly, I trusted it. To be honest though it was just alright. They slightly overcharged and the result was very so-so. I think we've all silently agreed to not go there unless under dire constraints.
But we did all love the colors we chose. I went with a fall-forward OPI shade of maroon-brown, while Books went with a deep ox-blood and Abs went with a straight forward French manicure, her nails certainly being the longest.
After waiting for our nails to dry (not without some hiccups, as this is a lengthy process, even professionally), we sat down to lunch. There is a bevy of nice eateries right outside the mall so that is where we headed. Abs had a craving for Bill's, so that's where we went.
This place is adorable. I have no other word for it. Farmhouse chic:
Interesting selection of food as well - things ranged from breakfast (only served until 1pm, which due to our nail fiascoes, we unfortunately missed) to lunch and some pretty good choices inbetween.
Books and Abs both went for the risotto and I instead went for the chargrilled tuna with fennel and orange salad:
Pretty blissful stuff. The tuna was not at all overcooked and had a nice smokey flavor that complemented the juicy orange slices quite well. The rocket salad with quinoa and pesto and cherry tomatoes was to die for. I've not had pesto that tasty (with little bits of cheese of course) in a long time. Mostly pestos are very meh to me. This is making me change my mind about the entire thing.
Still love rocket more than I should.
We all ate our entire dishes up, having waited for food for so long. No one had bothered eating breakfast, assuming that meeting at 11:30am meant eating fairly soon after. We were wrong.
After that, shopping commenced. Strangely no one really bought that much, despite all of us having our separate shopping goals. I was looking for black ankle boots, black pumps, and business casual/glam casual dresses to wear for various nights out around town, Books was looking for a business dress for an upcoming book fair she will be selling at, and Abs was looking for a thin black scarf and ankle boots as well.
I think the only things purchased were a sweater each for Books and Abs. We're such shopping failures.
When I expressed our failure to Churches a few days later, she said that London had also made her a picky shopper. She explained it as a problem of "too much variety." Because we're surrounded by so many things, we end up thinking we can always find something better, and in the end...choosing nothing. I do wonder if that is the case. I didn't used to have this problem. I still buy things like crazy in the US and sometimes Sweden.
I shrugged it off though and decided after my day of shopping with Books and Abs that maybe it was just our location. It'd been a few times now that I'd gone to the Shepherd's Bush Westfield and not found what I was looking for. Maybe it's just that the lines of clothing I'm looking for don't go there. I've definitely noticed before that even large stores (like H&M and Zara), don't carry the same lines of fashion at every store and instead tailor it according to demographics by location.
So the next day, on my own, I took the initiative and went to Oxford Street/Bond Street for some proper shopping. I also figured that on my own I would take proper care with my shopping needs and focus on the problem. I didn't even stop for food.
The result? Mild success. I did buy one dress that counts as business casual. But still no dice on the shoes, despite trying on quite a few. I figure this might be a problem that is not solved until I am back in the US. European sizes really are just different. Same with brands.
The other things I bought that day? Some gifts for German K and Hong Kong P for when we meet up in Austria in another month and a half, and a can of aerosol waterproofing spray so I can re-winterize my fall/winter shoes. Wow, I am the best shopper in the world.
Well, I guess one thing to say is that at least I'm not wasting my money. And I still have plenty of closet space. The journey continues.