Thursday, January 29, 2009

Vacation Shopping

Yes, it has been a long holiday break here. Speaking of which, my latest entry is somewhat inspired by my recent vacation in India.

India, first of all, is probably one of the most colorful, fabulous and flashy fashion cultures that I’ve come across yet. Though one of the leading fashion capital in Asia, the locals especially women, still favor their traditional wear over contemporary fashion. A local paper featured the launch of an international fashion house that has just opened their first men’s wear flagship store in India. Apparently, it was too competitive and not as lucrative to cater to women customers – who favor their saris and salwar kameez more than anything else.

A beautiful bride laden with precious stones and a heavily embellished sari.

Anyhow, back to my point. While I was thoroughly enthralled and fascinated by the blaze of colors and blings (read: infinite sparkling embellishments on saris and heavy layering of blinding jewellery), it occurred to me that this fashion style works wonderfully on Indian soil – but not outside.

And this is where many of us make a hideous mistake – shopping for clothes and accessories while vacationing. (Most) women have a weakness for shopping and buying things that catches their eyes and things that normally catch the eyes are usually colorful, dazzling and uncommon e.g. things that you see while vacationing in some exotic place. India for example is a good illustration.

Splendid color combination on a stylish gentleman no less.

It is absolutely fine to shop for exotic interior deco and furniture while on vacation – as long as you can get them home. However, shopping for your wardrobe is extremely risky. First of all, unless you’re shopping from an international brand, you’re most likely buying locally influenced styles, traditionally exotic clothing and accessories. Chunky bracelet, dangling earrings and the omnipresent sarongs are among the few common crimes. We are carried away by how gorgeous the locals look and get so inspired that we forget that their beautiful open toe sandals will probably not work well with the winter fashion back home. Layering yourself with tons of diamonds and precious stones may be a show of wealth in India, but doing the same thing in some other countries places you in gangsta categories or worst – gaudy.

It is fine to purchase a few pieces of item that you have thought through thoroughly that it definitely goes with several of your clothes back home and most importantly, go well with your personal style. Heck, you need to be able to carry off the look for quite a while.

The only exception is if you’re vacationing in a place where their local fashion flavors are currently delectable to the palates of fashion designers worldwide.