by Karlie Morris
You decide to go on your dream vacation, which just happens to be Paris. There is a lot of historic architecture and art, but there is also world class-shopping. Paris is the fashion capital of the world, so there are designer flagship stores all over town. For all you non-fashionistas out there, a flagship store is the main store for a company. It is designed to serve a mainstream of customers, and they carry merchandise at all of the designer’s price points. It helps them sell more merchandise to people, especially tourists. That being said, walking down the Champs-Élysées can be quite intimidating. So you ask yourself, “How do I walk into these stores without getting dirty looks?” The answer is you learn to play the part. It consists of three easy steps that you should do prior to vacationing.
Step 1: Do Your Research
You do not want to walk into Chanel and know nothing about the brand, or what they sell. (If you do not know about their classic flap bag, this may not be the store for you.) In luxury stores like Yves Saint Laurent, Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Cartier, and Bottega Veneta you cannot just walk in and play the “I’m just browsing” card. That will get you the stare immediately. The sales associates are very well versed in this. They learn to weed people out right as they walk in the door. They have eyes that kill. If you want to avoid this problem, then you need to be well versed in what the stores are known for. If you are a person who likes logos, Gucci and Louis Vuitton are probably your best bets. If you know what the stores offer, it makes the sales representatives want to help you. When they ask what you are looking for, you can name a product or style right off the top of your head. It makes them think you have done this many times throughout your life. If you get the sales representatives on your side, you are golden!
Step 2: Look the Part
If you walk into a luxury store looking like a slob, no one is going to take you seriously. That being said, you don’t want to be so overdressed that you look like you’re going to the opera. You want to wear something that is timeless and classy, but also still slightly casual. (Pearls are always a good idea if you want to go to Chanel.) If you are too dressed up it makes you look like you are trying too hard. That is a telltale sign of someone who has never been into a luxury store before. Another tip is to follow the trends. Peplum tops are an example of something that is fashionable at the moment, so you may want to throw that into the mix. Knockoff bags and jewelry are a big no. The sales associates will be able to tell them from a mile away after working with the luxury goods for a long period of time, and it is just not a decent gesture.
Step 3: Save Your Money
My last piece of advice for you is to save your money, possibly up to a year in advance, before your trip. After walking through some of these stores, you will want to buy at least one item, if not all of them. The bags and leather goods are beautifully handcrafted. The shoes and clothing are also top of the line when it comes to quality, and that is reflected in the prices of the goods. If you are going on a trip to Paris I would suggest rewarding yourself, even if it is with something as small as a key ring or makeup bag. After going through the process of making yourself look presentable, studying the products, and researching the designers, it will feel good to be able to buy something, even if it is small. Sometimes the smallest purchases can be the most special. The memories of it will last forever, and it’s something that you’ll cherish. Purchasing something at a luxury store makes you feel amazing, almost royal. It’s always nice to feel like a princess for a day.
If you can make it through all of these steps then you will most likely miss out on the “you don’t belong here” stare-down. Playing the part may seem like a lot of work, but it is all worth the price when you get the experience of walking confidently into a luxury store. The feeling you get is priceless, even if you do not purchase anything. Being able to just walk through and look at all of the beautiful pieces is sometimes enough to satisfy a craving. It is fun to be someone you are not for a day, especially when wandering down the streets of Paris.