One of the things I look forward to most when I return to Paris is visiting my favourite stores for a little retail therapy.
I know, I know, it isn’t French, but in my mind, there’s nowhere better to shop for well-cut basics and fun on-trend pieces. And the best part is, whether your purchase makes it into your weekly wardrobe rotation (like the made-for-me black jeans I bought last January), or comes out to play only when one is in a particularly frivolous mood (like that fluoro yellow blazer, for example) – the price is low enough that you never encounter post-shopping spree guilt.
And there’s just something so appealing about the navy blue and tan paper carrier bags. Zara recently opened a store on Bourke Street, but the strength of the Australian dollar seems to have elevated the prices without a corresponding change in quality, and for me, the magic just isn’t there as it is in Paris.
Kookai in Australia has long been a favourite haunt of mine, because of their forgiving fabrics, range of staples in every colour under the sun and regular heavy discounting. But I was unprepared for just how much I was going to love the French version. Whilst the layout and overall feel of the store was familiar, the fabrics and style leans decidedly more towards pleasing a French audience than an Australian one, which is fine by me.
On my first trip to Paris I fell instantly in love – with a gorgeous taupe leather jacket. At full price it was sadly, a little outside of my holiday shopping budget but the mercy of summer sales prevailed and by week three of my Parisian stay it was mine. To this day, I never manage to wear it a full day without someone commenting on it, and asking where I bought it.
Comptoir des Cotonniers
When I’m in the mood for something a little more special, like a new dress, this is my first stop. Their use of quirky fabrics and a variety of silhouettes means there’s a look to suit just about any body. Their mid-season trench coats always rank high on my wish list, and on my most recent trip to Paris I picked up a gorgeous mad-men-esque cinched-waist patterned dress, that never fails to lift my mood on a dreary day. And isn’t the name just super fun to say?
Where do you head to first when you’re in the mood for some retail therapy in Paris?