My Summer Moment

Shopping demands quick reflexes and a very clear mind. That is even more evident when you are involved in a shopping marathon like I was, with just one day to pick whatever I needed for the rest of our very long summer.

We were away for three days. The first was spent on the road, a drive of almost nine hours, a significant portion of that time at the 4 border posts we have to endure before (finally!) entering in South Africa: Mozambican border, Swaziland border with Mozambique, Swaziland border with SA and SA border. We went straight to the shopping mall where we have been spending a good deal of money lately. We (Paul and I) had a light meal and separated. I walked miles and miles of ground shops. I was too tired to think straight, so I just took note of a few things I liked. When I am dead tired I like to buy pyjamas and underwear. I suppose I take things like comfort and perfect fitting into consideration. It worked.

Marathon day started at my favourite store. This place sells young local designers, with allusive names like Reverse, Dare, Ruby-Diamond, Blake and so on. They are too small to own a shop, so they use a collective space. This is where I love to shop. As they only allow 5 items in the fitting rooms, I picked five and five and five and five and five. From each five I picked I selected at least one item. This is not a shop where you love everything that you see. Actually, it is hard to find something you like, but when you find that thing, you like it a lot – maybe because it was hard to find it. Does it make any sense?

The need to try everything carefully is the difference of sizes between different stylists. Being a 10, I have to be aware that I can buy from 11 years old on. From the first five I selected a dark blue dress, a very safe bet. From the second five I decided to keep one top and a second blue dress with white dots, a classical belted cut. The third group was easy: this butterfly dress is so me! The next try resulted in a floral dress, something I was keen to avoid. Reason? It fits perfectly. The last group of five revealed another perfect fit: a cream lace dress I can wear for Christmas or New Years Eve. It was just a lit more expensive than the previous ones, so I asked the attendant to keep it for a while. I returned to the same shop twice to try it again. It was noon when I left. Only around 6pm I decided to keep it. Fitting is an important thing.

I met Paul for lunch. We shopped together until 2pm, Cxmas presents and stuff like that. And then I was on my own. I run to the second favorite shop. I am talking of kilometers of shopping ground. I knew I would find creations by a SA designer I admire. It was a complete deception. My curiosity let me to the recently opened Zara shop. European labels are opening in SA for reasons I don’t need to disclose, for sure. I bought a very bright top, a belt and a whitish dress I am not sure yet if it’s a keeper. I couldn’t forget the other I had reserved. I went there for the second time just to confirm the fit was impeccable. I asked to reserve it “just another little while”. I don’t know why, but I suppose I was expecting to find “the killer buy”.

From there I entered the shop where one year ago I bought the dress I wore for New Year’s Eve. My second deception. I couldn’t find a single lovable thing. That and a very loud tune forced me to leave pretty fast. Many shops were showing their summer collections and celebrating with champagne. I had one glass and refused the subsequent offers. (Bad champagne.) It was time to use my not so clear mind by then. Besides what I already mentioned, I had also bought a greyish dress with frills and a black dress. I don’t know why I bought the first but I liked the belt and the transparent sleeves of the second. Returning to the not so clear mind, I knew I needed color with urgency.

As it was getting late, I entered two shops where I knew I would find colorful stuff. In one I bought this floral dress and in the other I bought two versions of the same dress. Finally I tried and paid the lace dress and rushed to the meeting place for a very late tea, still a nice one.

I have no idea of how much I walked but it had to be way above the 20km. Besides the 11 dresses above showed, the lingerie and all the stuff we had to buy for other people, I also picked for me: 4 tops (one of them as expensive as some of the dresses), 1 skirt, 1 purse, 2 bikinis and 2 ballet items (one also surprisingly expensive).

I did try trousers and shoes, just to decide against. The trousers were nice but didn’t add a thing to those I already own and don’t wear because here it is far too hot most of the time. Shoes were too colorful for my own taste. When I see that amount of color I get confused and suspicious. In general, the fashion shoes available in SA are not to be trusted. I bought a few I never wore because they hurt my feet. At least in Maputo I can buy made in Italy.

In terms of summer tendencies I remarked: 1) The already mentioned colorful shoes. 2) Less floral patterns. 3) Plain and changing patterns, present in the stars and butterflies I picked. 4) Lots of skirts and dresses with the back longer than the front. Two of the dresses I bought are like that but I absolutely intend to change at least one of them. 4) White. 5) Orange. 6) Florescent green. 8) Transparency.

The only thing I regret is a transparent nothing to wear over the bikini, far too expensive to be just a little nothing. We were heading to a restaurant where we had a glass of wine and a light meal before returning to our room when I spotted the sunglasses I wanted. The price was too inviting to resist…

The next day we got fresh stuff for the house and returned to Maputo, as usual. And thought things were calmer than when we left, I was too tired to feel glad about it. No welcoming riots…