I knew I was ready to go home the day my suitcase broke.
I was moving to a different apartment in Paris for the umpteenth time and basically dying as I tried to lug all my shit (pardon my French) down the street when all of a sudden, my suitcase felt very awkward. I stopped to check everything out and realized that the long handle used to drag the suitcase on wheels had bent and snapped under all the weight and was now dangling by a thread. Fab. Just fabulous.
My plan of taking two buses over to the new apartment I was staying in for my last 3 days being thwarted, I hailed the next cab I saw and overpaid just to get to the apartment in one piece and without killing someone. That was when I realized I was sick of living like a nomad. As much as I loved being in France, shuttling all my belongings from city to city and apartment to hotel to apartment was wearing on me. I was done and it was time to go home (plus, the money was wearing thin).
That being said, I enjoyed my last week to the fullest. Meaning I spent every last dime that I owned. I went to Laduree and waited on a line far too long for its own good for delicioussss, expensive macaroons, went out to eat as much as humanly possible, and as a grand finale, spent 400 euro on amazing French vintage dresses.
Before this trip, the idea of vintage clothes intrigued me, but I didn't really know where to look or how to go about the whole shebang. Then, this summer, on an unexpected plane ride to Florida sans reading material, I came across an article about Ooh La La Vintage in the US Airways magazine stuffed in my seat back pocket. A private vintage boutique based out of Paris, the article mentioned that I could arrange for a personal lesson on vintage, learn the styles that would flatter my body type and then try out all sorts of pieces from their collection. Sounded like a winner to me. I earmarked the page, stole the magazine and held onto it until I arrived in France.
Ooh La La Vintage was amazing. The owner, Tara met me right outside of Paris at the RER metro station and led me back to the boutique. We spent the afternoon chatting and as she filled me in on the history of fashion and the keys to a good vintage piece, I got to play dress up! It was the perfect way to spend an afternoon in my opinion. She even made us lunch!
I happen to be made perfectly for vintage clothes- I'm petite, and women back in the day tended to be built very small, so everything was in my size for once! I also have an hourglass figure - a small waist countered by some good ol' baby-bearing hips - meaning I fit nicely into those awesome 50's dresses. After she told me this, I knew it was going to be dangerous, haha.
Tara was so helpful: she wanted to see everything I tried on and gave honest judgement on the fit and style. There was absolutely no pressure to buy... but of course I fell in love with everything and just had to have it! I walked out five hours later with my first five pieces of vintage: a dark 50's button-down tartan dress, a cream crochet curve-hugging dress from the 70's, a 60's Cacharel plaid A-line high-waisted skirt, a tweed vest from the 30's and finally, a olive green leather cinching belt with awesome detailing from the 80's.
I left France a happy (yet broke), overpacked lady.