Yes Bangkok, can I please have my sanity back? For a moment, I lost it. There I was cinched between fellow shoppers, running like a chicken with its head cut off in the densely populated aisles of THE Platinum Fashion Mall. Let me show you a year’s difference:
Me: How much?
Seller: 150 baht
Me: I’LL TAKE ITTT!!
Me: How much?
Seller: 150 baht
Me: Thank you.
You might want to spit that hate-o-rade, my sisters don’t call me ‘bargain queen’ for nothing. Last year’s list is all about understated tackiness when viewed vis-à-vis with the one I came up with this time. I have to say though; I think I did a pretty good job last year with all the deals I snagged under 200 baht. Overall, 3 items from last year’s loot are about to be tossed into the what-was-I-thinking pile.
This time, my ultimate goal is to run a tight shopping ship and a strict mental shopping list was thrown into the broilers to keep it smooth sailing. Last time felt as if I was blindly shopping for rock bottom priced garments, without due consideration of the overall construction and functionality. It all boils down to one important thing: quality trumps quantity any day! A trait I have imbibed from home.
If last year was all about hoarding cheap items acquire more stuff, this time was about making smarter choices to make sure the items will last me longer than the actual trend.
Bangkok shopping myths debunked:
1. You need at least 10,000 to 20,000 Php (or 400-500 USD) to fully enjoy the Bangkok shopping trip experience.
This is ABSOLUTELY RIDICULOUS. No offense to person who said this, she probably doesn’t remember this anyway. Have you ever had too much to drink that a single sight of a glass triggers your gag reflex? Trust me when I say this is also applicable to clothes, or shopping per se. Yup, there is such a feeling as shopping saturation.
Considering other expenses that await (i.e. Graduate School tuition fee, Christmas season and incidentals) I had limited cash to dispense for this trip. Clothes in Bangkok are relatively dirt cheap. Nice dresses can go up to 350 Baht and structured, nicely-tailored blazers can run up to 500 Baht (price premium). Above and beyond are considered expensive in wholesale and night markets, in my opinion. As for branded retail groups, price premium is a tad more expensive compared to prices in Manila, but do ransack the SALE rack for one-of-a-kind pieces. (I recently bought a pantsuit from Topshop in Greenbelt and found the exact item in Bangkok which is more expensive by about 300 Php!)
If it's Chatuchak we're talking about, then this can be partly true - partly, because if you have an impeccable sense of direction, I guess we don't have a problem after all. This shopping myth is rather subjective; if say, you and I fall under the category of extreme bargain hunters, then you and I well know a complete environmental scan is a must before dole-out. I would like to see the entire offering before I make a choice. I like the guarantee of an authentic bargain piece and I like to validate the rarity of a particular design. Platinum Fashion mall is a minefield, with duplicates detonating here and there. It's no shock that even the design of a mass-produced piece is pirated.
The layout of Platinum is very easy to navigate and the stalls/kiosks are quite small so it's possible to scan the entire place just by walking along the aisles. Unless you struck gold (design and price taken into account) with a can't-get-out-of-my-head piece , then it's okay to walk away. You will never run out of things to buy, trust me!
3. Bangkok clothes are tailored for petite ladies.
Sadly, this has some inkling of truth to it. Most markets carry free-size (or "one size") clothes that typically range between small-medium in standard sizing. But before you start pouting, I observed more stalls carrying bigger sizes for full-figured women in Platinum. Also, clothes are not marked free-size for nothing, most garments are garterized to fit up to large frames! I'm telling you, Platinum has something for everyone. You just gotta ransack those stalls for awesome finds!
4. Bangkok clothes are poorly made and can easily fall apart.
Not if you know how to take good care of your clothes they're not! See, you get what you pay for. Manage your expectations for clothes scored at bargain prices. Make sure you triple check the fabric, stitches and the overall garment for defects and stains even if you ask for a new stock. Ask your helper to hand-wash the clothes to save them from the churns of the washing machine. I have no experience with clothes falling apart, at least not yet. I'd like to think my clothes are well-rested. If you know what I mean.
I am in no way a professional bargain hunter but I would like to acknowledge all those years of training. HAH!