Tuesday, June 3, 2008

International Ballin!

Hi bougies, today we have a guest blogger -
Megan - who is amazing at international travel and style... just in time for the Summer trips ... enjoy! -bb
Bougie Ballers,

It is my pleasure to guest write this blog entry on how to ball out of control when you are overseas. I am hoping this will help you in your summer travels!

So I do a fair amount of international travel…ok…ok…perhaps too much but my favorite part is finding shopping bargains in other countries. I have plenty of ‘expensive’ items (Gucci bags, handmade silk garments, YSL and Dior sunglasses, Burberry coat, etc.) but NEVER pay full price...its against all my bougie ballin principles. So how do I do it? I’m going to let you in on a few key places you MUST visit if you like the crème de la crème of fashion. It is important to understand this information is not easy to come by…few insiders know…so be discerning in who to share this information with.

I’m still working on my travel portfolio but are few key places in ascending order of greatness:


By leaps and bounds Italy wins hands down for the deals you will find in this country if you travel off the beaten path. Warning: DO NOT expect to find deals in Milan, Venice, Rome, Florence (I’ve been to them all)!!! About an hour outside of Florence is The Outlet Mall which has outlets for Gucci, YSL, Valentino, Armani, La Perla, Ferragamao, Alexander McQueen, Emilo Pucci, and many more. It’s the first Gucci outlet and was not even advertised by Gucci. Even my boyfriend who abhors shopping found a bangin' pair of Gucci loafers for over 75% off the regular price.

Not too far from The Outlet Mall are other smaller outlet malls for Prada (called Space) and Dolce & Gabbana. More amazing deals to be had! Make sure you spend AT LEAST a day looking around. To get to the outlet malls…either rent a car (this is what I did) or join one of the shopping tour groups that leave from Florence.


To my ballers that are homeowners or that like to decorate their homes: Get to Turkey!! The Turkish rugs are amazing and significantly cheaper than the ones they sell in the US and all the carpet dealers ship worldwide. No need to spend money on to look like you have high end carpets such as this one from Neiman’s (I swear I saw a similar rug for $400).
Instead of spend thousands, head to Istanbul for some amazing sightseeing and pick up a rug for cheaper than it would cost for a flight and one rug in the states.


Right smack dab in the middle of London is the Burberry outlet. A short ride on the Tube and a lil walk will take you to a big building of everything that is Burberry. If this is your brand…you must make the visit! With the conversation rate of pound for dollar—it is the only shopping you should do in London. Well…its also necessary to stop by Topshop!


I don’t care if you spend 2 hours in the Madrid airport or if you actually spend some time in Madrid or Barcelona but make sure you bring an extra suitcase and stop by Zara and Mango (Penelope Cruz currently has a collection for them). They are two Spanish-based fashion chains whose prices in their home country are SIGNIFICANTLY cheaper than in the United States.


I would be remiss if I did not include the island of Jamaica on this list. For everyone that has friends and co-workers that are coffee lovers (who is not these days?)—buy packets of Blue Mountain Coffee. To the coffee connoisseur, Blue Mountain is simply divine! And its super expensive outside of Jamaica. Just head to any supermarket…please steer clear of tourist traps/shops…and stock up and then give them as gifts!

Well…that’s it for now. HAPPY SHOPPING!!! The next installment from Bougie Ballin Megan will be about how to do international travel on the cheap…trust me its possible!!!


Gucci Outlet Mall
Italy - Outlet Mall
Burberry Outlet
Blue Mountain Coffee


The Bougie Baller said...

Thanks Megan, this was fabulous!

And to the rest of you... :) What steals and deals have you found overseas? When I went to South Africa, I was overwhelmed by the sales and the goodies available at low prices... my favorite find? A pair of stiletto prada sandals with a metal spike heel... for $99!!

Lemu said...

I've heard Osaka and Vancouver were slept on hotspots also.

The Bougie Baller said...

Lemu - heard the same thing about Osaka... no idea about Vancouver!

But I want to go to Hong Kong... anyone ever been? I've heard it's bananas!

Bingpoppa said...

I second Zara's in Barcelona. Without the shipping costs onto the price, it is as cheap as Target...with Euros, of course :-)

I would also vote on smaller cities in Italy, like Treviso where the fellas can get non-name brand suits, but just as high, if not higher quality designs on the cheap....that will last a lifetime!

RCFalls said...

Hong Kong is great for seeing stuff but its honestly like most major city shopping - a lot of the same stuff. Tokyo and Osaka can be sick for local designer finds too, but neither HK or JP are cheap.

The owners of Zara also run a very nice higher end line called Mossimo Dutti. I consider it the Spanish Ralph Lauren. Keep an eye out for them when Zara shopping - they are great on detail on mens suits from extra waist buttons, to pocket flaps inside of jackets/blazers and even multiple buttons on men's boxers.

No comment on Italy. If you can't get your shop on there, its just not meant to be.

Now can someone get the inside scoop on how to get that Ermenegildo Zegna or Brioni on the low? Zegna quietly manufactures the mens suits for Tom Ford, Gucci, and YSL and they even actually produce thier own fabrics.

mboogie said...

omigosh...I second RCF's plug for Mossimo Dutti...I LOVE THAT STORE!!! Amazing mens wear and their womens line is slept on...my favorite blazer is from there... a step above Zara...

and Re: Vancouver... its like any big cities but sometimes (like Boxing day) you can get some steals as well!

The Bougie Baller said...

thanks caishe and bing :)

so clearly i need to get on my international travel game... i'm slacking for real!

miko said...

lord have mercy! i love this post. zara is cool, im looking forward to checking out mossimo dutti because sometimes, zara's fabrics don't hold up.

i also highly recommend HOLT RENFREW when in canada! *fist pump* best store for high-end stuff, but if that's not your steez, the Eaton Centre has everything you are looking for. the only problem is the prices. so if you want better prices for more unique stuff, get your ass up to Quebec. them Quebecois sure as hell can make some shoes (please believe they wear heels in the grocery store though)

SterlingFlow said...

I can certainly vouch for Mango in Spain. I spent my homemoon there and came back with a to die for bag that I nicely matched up with a winter coat and boots from Amsterdam. Europe is fantastic for shopping and I can't wait until our exchange rates get better and the dollar has more strength. Great post, I look forward to checking out some more of these spots for my luxury goods.

The Bougie Baller said...

hey miko & sterling :)

thanks for the comments

re: mango... they have stores in the US! While I was in Chicago I had the chance to browse through a Mango store in one of the Miracle Mile malls. Very funky and unusual clothes!

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