As much as I love traveling with D and have come to rely on mostly each other for company, there are just some roles we cannot fulfill for each other. Sure, he has learned to listen to me
whine talk about blogging and pretends to care about recent gossip and even once went to a Hello Kitty cafe with me, but there is one thing at which he draws the line: shopping. No matter what, D cannot make up for the lack of girlfriends in my life.
I’m all about living the minimalist traveler’s lifestyle, but I still love strolling marketplaces and visiting malls. This is when I always wish I had a girlfriend nearby. D’s tolerance for shopping is about 15 minutes before he reverts to the state of a grumpy toddler. Which as annoying as it is, is probably a good thing. It keeps me from spending money and filling my already-bulging luggage with even more junk.
But then we got to Taipei. The girls are fashionable, the clothes are super cute, and the prices are affordable. Taipei is a shopaholic’s dream! I loved the sense of style too, which seems to be a mix of girly, vintage, and edgy (think loose tops with flared mini skirts, patterned tights, and Doc Marten-esque boots).
So I ditched D and shopped. For a couple of days, I took myself on shopping expeditions, fueled by a fat tax refund. Each trip, I returned with a bag full of clothes.
I got quite a few new clothing pieces so I thought it’d be fun to start putting together some outfits. This first outfit is in the style of Taiwanese fashion!
I noticed that the tights under shorts thing is very popular. Though I spotted quite a few girls wearing black tights under denim shorts, I decided to keep it playfully classy by wearing it under a black romper.
I first saw this purse at my local night market. I immediately fell in love with it but was unwilling to pay the price, though I returned practically every night to admire it. My heart sank when it wasn’t there one night and I thought someone had bought it. When it reappeared on the shelf a couple of days later, I was elated but convinced myself again that I didn’t need it.
Another couple of days later, I went to Wu Fen Pu. And I saw it again. I had already been wandering around for hours by that point and I was dead tired and was just about to call it quits… when I turned a corner and walked into a bag shop. And there it was. I casually inquired about the price and was inwardly ecstatic when the sales girl named a number that was NT$100 less than the night market price. The bag finally came home with me that night.
My elation was short lived when just two hours later, one of the buckles for the shoulder strap broke. Oh well. At least it still has a handle.
Since it was slightly chilly, I threw on my new anorak. I’ve been wanting one for forever! I love that this one has lace detail in the hood.
Anoraks, of all different lengths, colors, and styles, seem to be extremely popular in Taipei. With this outfit on, I definitely felt like I fit right into the city!
Outfit: black romper: NT$300 // belt: NT$100 // tights: NT$100 // anorak: NT $600 // purse: NT$600
Total: NT$1,700, or US$55 for a whole new outfit. I think this is a steal!
What do you think of this feminine-meets-utilitarian look? I rather like it.
And thanks to D who (begrudgingly) took all these pictures! Who knew that he is quite a good fashion photographer?!
Where I went:
- Ximen, an area often referred to as the Harajuku of Taipei with a lot of stores. How to get there: MRT, Ximen Exit, interchange between the blue & green line
- Wu Fen Pu, Taipei’s largest clothing market filled with hundreds of shops. How to get there: MRT, either Houshanpi Exit on the blue line, or Songshan Exit on the green line
Tips on shopping in Taipei:
- Clothes are one size only. I’m petite (5′-0″) and they all fit me pretty well. I think they will probably fit up to 5′-3″.
- Most of these shops will NOT allow you to try on (except for jackets, maybe), so you just have to hold it up and kind of see if it looks okay. I got a couple of pieces that definitely look better on the hanger than they do on me. Oh well.
- No returns, of course.
- If you buy a few pieces from the same store, you can ask for a discount.
- Be careful and check the item thoroughly for faults. You don’t want something breaking right away like what happened with my purse!
- Don’t visit Wu Fen Pu on a Monday, as that day is reserved for vendors buying wholesale.