The Trouble With Open Spaces in Hong Kong

Growing Up Austin

I don’t like to plan everything when I travel. Maybe plan one or two things in a day, then leave open spaces where I can walk around in whatever direction looks interesting. The trouble with this in Hong Kong is that this usually leads to shopping.

There are places to shop in every neighborhood, on every street, on both sides of the street and on multiple floors. There are flea markets, souvenir stands, huge malls and tiny boutiques. They are selling purses, purses, purses and shoes, shoes, shoes, along with watches, electronics and cosmetics, some real and some fake, at any price you prefer. No matter where you are or where you are headed or how much time you have in your open space, there is a store right there, waiting for you.

One afternoon, my friend and I were minding our own business, having a drink and getting foot massages, then taking a walk. Just for fun, we stepped into a boutique dress shop. Right away, a sales lady named Fanny started pulling dresses off the rack for me to try. She didn’t check sizes, she knew my body by looking at it and she knew her clothes. I came out of the dressing room in the first dress and she said in broken English, “Off, off with that, feet, fix it!” and she handed me a pair of high heels. Apparently, fashionable dresses cannot be tried on with socks.

I tried on a few fun dresses, then it got a little crazy with a leather mini-dress with an over-sized knit turtle neck collar, a black jump suit with gold beading on the top and a black spandex mini-skirt with a gold-sequined tank top. I might have bought it all, if the clothes were 50% off the price marked, instead of being 50% off with the price already marked. I got the fun dresses in the end, now I just need new shoes.

My very favorite shopping find was unexpected and inspired and it started when I noticed…

1. There aren’t many overweight people in Hong Kong.

2. There are more women with small breasts, like mine!

3. Hey, wait a minute! Get me to a lingerie store!

And there they were. Size 36AA. In multiple styles and colors. I can tell you from a lifetime of struggles shopping for bras that this size bra is more rare than a UFO sighting in a big city with multiple witnesses and the cameras rolling. Shopping for bras has made me cry more than once, as I asked the clerk one more time, “Is this really the smallest bra you have?”, “Can I order a smaller one on-line?” and “Maybe there is a pattern I can buy and I can sew it myself?” I bought all the bras they had in my size. Lucky for me, there was enough open space in my suitcase to get them all home.

(My trip to China started here and will finish later this week.)


Sparkles In Style

Sparkles has started to get dressed on her own and it is beautiful to watch. I’m in awe of her independence and her style.

To fully appreciate the outfit above, you need to know that it starts with princess panties, then a one-piece Little Mermaid bathing suit, followed by University of Texas cheer leading bloomers, then Little Mermaid pajama bottoms, a glittery top and cowboy boots. (If you are wondering about her unusual haircut, read more here.) Here she is below, later the same day, continuing with the bathing suit theme. When she dresses funky, she puts her hand on her hip a lot. (You might think this is some kind of artsy photo, but really, it is just a really bad photo taken with my phone.)

I love her look. Watch out Project Runway, Sparkles is headed your way.

Looks Like I’ve Been Robbed

Austin Parenting Mom Clothes Style Fashion

I’ll call her K. She shook her head a lot. Not in a mean way, in a kind but confused, it-is-good-you-knew-enough-to-ask-for-help kind of way.

We did pants, then shirts, then dresses. I pulled everything out of my closet and tried each item on, one-by-one. K commented, I considered her comments, then I put each item into the Donate, Keep or Maybe piles.

I wrote a post a while ago on my old blog about how I have a unique and powerful talent for buying clothes in the wrong size. I buy the wrong cut too, adding pounds and highlighting the wrong places and generally creating a confusing scene. If that weren’t enough, I can also be overly influenced by discounts so I end up with a closet full of ill-fitting clothes that I don’t even like.

K is very well put together. You know how I mean. The type who goes grocery shopping on a cold rainy day and looks amazing. Not in an over-done or super-expensive kind of way, she just looks good.

When we were done, K took the clothes from the Donate pile with her, because there is a Goodwill near her house and maybe more because she didn’t want me to change my mind and put everything back when she was gone.

44 items gone.

39 left.

Oh my, my closet makes it look like I’ve been robbed.

It feels good, though. I learned a lot. I will (hopefully) shop a little smarter and (hopefully) look a little better.

And, no, you can’t know who K is. She has a fancy day job and isn’t available.

But, if you could use some help too, try Michelle at Well Styled. Two of my friends have worked with her and they love her. They both say the same things: 1) They love getting dressed in the morning and 2) They ended up saving money because Michelle works with all price ranges (including Target and Savers) and they bought exactly the right things, getting the most out of every dollar.

It’s not so bad really, looking like I’ve been robbed. It will be fun to shop this year, a little at a time, finding my style and looking a little better. Thanks, K.