Ladies, some shopping tips for Shanghai…
I arrived in Shanghai with a huge four-wheeled suitcase (thank you Mama!) and a small cabin bag. Despite the 23Kg max limit, it simply wasn’t enough to fit all the necessities. When you’re a size 10-14 gal with size 6 shoes, moving to China means packing as much of your favourite outfits as possible and as cleverly as possible. This includes clothing for all four seasons!
Packing was a nightmare. The space wasn’t a problem (invest in a few vacuum pack bags for extra room!), it was the weight. Who knew 5 dresses, 3 pairs of trousers, 2 shorts, underwear, 3 tops, 1 jumper, 3 pairs of heels, trainers, curlers, extra makeup (yes, I said extra, make-up costs the earth here so stock up on your favourites!) and a few books would weigh over 23Kg. I didn’t…I should have checked out TravelGirl’s website before packing.
Since we cleverly decided to leave in the midst of the Chinese winter we made warm clothing was fully stocked in our bags. The day we arrived, Shanghai experienced the coldest weather in over 32 years (-10 degrees Celsius I think it was, can’t quite remember. I was too busy freezing to death). Biggest tip I can give you so far is this:
BRING THERMAL UNDERWEAR
Long Johns, thermal socks, Primark’s comfy leggings, anything you can possibly get hold of. It’s bloody freezing.
The first thing I learnt was this…Forever 21, Zara, H&M are still as expensive as back in the UK, but the only places I could ‘sort of’ figure out my size. I say ‘sort of‘ in a squeaky slow voice because in Vera Moda I’m an XXL, which resulted in all 5 of the Chinese shop assistants giggling when my face dropped to the floor.
I’m going to note down my sizes in different stores as I go (mainly because I spent at least 20 minutes figuring out my size in F21 last week).
- Jeans – US28/UK14/EU40
- Tops – Medium
So after my little shopping spree of 2 tops, jeans and a duffle coat (I said it was cold…so I’m going to put up with looking like the Michelin Man for now), Forever 21 popped two little red envelopes in my bag. For Chinese New Year, also known as the Spring Festival, it’s tradition for children to receive little red envelopes or ‘hongbao‘ with money inside! Red represents good fortune and the envelope adorned with beautiful gold calligraphy and messages of prosperity. It’s a heart warming tradition.
Back to vouchers. For anyone who knows me, I LOVE a good deal. Before shopping, going to the cinema, meeting up with the bestie for lunch or a night out with the Mr, I’m always searching for a voucher. These little red envelopes brought me a spark of good fortune all right, 85% off! Get.In.
On my day off I headed straight to F21 to stock up my cupboard. From winter and work clothes, to comfy and everyday clothes, I picked out everything I needed (and wanted…). It wasn’t until my work supervisor text me as I was heading to the changing room, that my little shopping spree was put to a sudden stop…
So in China:
The % you see, is what you PAY and NOT the discount. Dammit.
My little good fortune discount turned out to be 15% off, NOT 85%. The above basically says I pay 85% of the price. For a foreigner experiencing this the first time, it’s pretty heartbreaking….
Over and Out xoxo