Friday, August 27, 2010

Shop til you Drop!

Hey all,

So I was feeling a bit bogged down by school and such this past week so a friend and I decided to treat ourselves and do a bit of shopping! Since practically Day 1 of Chile I have heard nothing but good things about El Patronato, which is a shopping district located North of the downtown area of Santiago. Apparently everyone and their brother makes a regular visit here due to the cute clothes, cheap prices and the fact that's it's easily accessible by public transit. Clearly, El Patronato and I have a solid future together.

When we got off the bus, we were immediately overwhelmed. Store after store after store lined the street, bursting with shirts, skirts, scarves and neon colors (have I mentioned much of Chilean style seems to equate itself with the US 1980's?). Not only were there stores but street stands as well, selling everything from jewelery to socks, dresses to panties and a plethora of crazy colored and patterned leggings. I'm not going to lie, the concept of wearing "no pants" becomes a lot more attractive when tye-dye is involved.

Yet it's possible that actually trying on the clothes proved to be an equally entertaining experience. First of all, many of the clothes had no size labels, so it was a bit of an eyeball game (I'm happy to report my actual body size is still in accordance with my size in my mind's eye, despite the fact that I ate practically an entire cake this week). Secondly, many of the fitting rooms were about half the width and height of a phone booth; one of them only came up to my chin which proved to be a bit uncomfortable since it was situated right in front of the cash register where the MALE owner stood and I was clearly half naked at certain points.

Another store we went into didn't have fitting rooms period; instead there was a small corner sans curtain or door with a mirror and few places to hang things up where we were directed to probar (try on) the clothes in which we were interested over the clothes which we were already wearing. Please note: a tank top will never look flattering when tried on over a sweatshirt.
Despite this unfortunate mishap, I did find a few things I liked! Yet actually buying the clothes proved to be a foreign experience as well. In most stores, there were shelves located behind the cashier practically the height of the ceiling and lleno (full) of small vacuum sealed plastic bags which contain one item of clothing each. Upon approaching the cash register with the shirt I wanted to purchase, I was surprised when the woman took my piece of clothing, promptly tossed it aside and instead presented me with the same item, wrapped in plastic. I was then given a ticket and instructed to go to another counter where I actually paid (this is a very common practice in Chile, although I'm not exactly sure why. Research will be done and I'll get back to you all later). I then opened the plastic wrapper to ensure that the clothing was a) in good condition and b) what I actually wanted to buy and then went happily on my way. Lather, Rinse, Repeat.

Although the majority of clothes I bought have similar versions in the US, I did choose to buy a polvoron (sweatshirt) which is more of a Chilean style. It has a huge hood which can be worn on my head or unfolded around my neck to reveal a lovely floral print:

I can totally wear this in the US too, right?

Shout out goes to Laura Adkins: The last few days on the metro I've heard the song with the lyrics "Believe or not, I'm walking on air..." and all I want to do is call you and talk about George's answering machine on Seinfeld. Love you buddy boo!




  1. Tie-dye nopants. Are real. That's pretty much the main thing I got from this whole experience of yours, my dear. They are real.

    P.S. Love the sweatshirt.

  2. i love shopping. the sweatshirt is interesting! i wonder if that style will ever make it over here.