If you’re fortunate enough to have a client in a city with good shopping, make use of the proximity and make time every once in a while to peruse the options.
Whether it’s holiday shopping or shopping for yourself, dedicating an evening even during a busy week can be really restorative. Walking, seeing what new items are on display, treating yourself (even if you aren’t buying, just being out and about with a change of scenery is a treat) – it’s a positive sensory experience and I’ve always found it resets a busy week to get out of the office / hotel rut.
If you’ve followed my Instagram stories now for a while you’ve seen that I love to make time to shop. My preference is to set aside a Wednesday evening when onsite just for myself – since Wednesdays are Consultant Thursday nights with Thursdays typically being the day we get to fly home; they are typically less work heavy evenings. I’ll try to plan ahead of my trip so that I can pack an extra collapsible suitcase if needed, or just plan to have my suitcase extended and check it on the way home. Then I’ll draft a quick shopping list of places to go, or items I may be looking for, or people I’m trying to shop for – having some type of game plan helps keep the spending in check. After work I’ll spend a few hours shopping around (stores usually close at 9, though the shops on Michigan in Chicago close at 7 ish – which I always found tough. If you’re shopping around the holidays most have extended hours). After shopping I love to treat myself to a nice dinner – typically somewhere new that I haven’t tried yet. I know some people prefer to shop with friends, but I’ve always found it a very personal experience – where I like to shop, what I want to wear and what I’m willing to spend. I’ll window shop with friends, but I’ve never been able to really shop and try things on when I’m with others (exception made for my mom!).
Earlier this year after shopping around on Michigan Ave while in Chicago for work I decided to treat myself to drinks / dinner at Z Bar at The Peninsula. I’d read great things and wanted to check it out. It had been an especially awful day / week / year and I needed to be somewhere pretty. No sooner did I walk in, than I saw a college sorority sister (ZTA) I hadn’t seen in over a decade sitting at the bar. She was in town for work from Texas, and also had just had a really bad day – we had the best time catching up and were out till bar time that night bouncing all over the city. Now any time we’re both in Chicago we meet up. It was the perfect serendipity, and the main reason I follow my instincts any time they are directing me somewhere – you never know when you’ll run into someone you’re meant to see.
As for what I wear when shopping after work… it depends on if I have enough time to run to the hotel and change first. If I do, then I’ll likely keep my blazer and swap my dress for a T with jeans, and boots or flats – lots of walking so I prefer not to wear heels if I don’t have to.
For this outfit while shopping this fall in Houston I opted for a pair of black jeans that I picked up while shopping in Chicago last winter, with a black sheath blouse, and my turquoise blazer. Cowboy boots were the preferred shoe option (always my favorite, and from a great bootmaker in Austin on South Congress – Heritage Boots), with my oversized Hermes belt. It was a treat to myself in 2014 for landing a big client engagement – I’d always wanted one, and in Texas – the bigger the better. While I don’t wear it for work often, I do wear it in my free time frequently.
We were at the Houston Galleria, which has been my preferred shopping destination since I was born. My mom used to take me shopping all the time – and once I could talk, she vividly remembers pulling into the driveway at home after running errands one time with me in the back seat… suddenly I say “No go home, your baby go Galleria.” So, I guess shopping was hard coded in my DNA very early on!
Insider tip: If possible when you know you want to shop, and you have some leeway over where you stay – opt for hotels close to shopping, or even hotels that are in the same shopping structure – The Gwen in Chicago is a Marriott property and in the same building as Nordstrom. That has come in handy multiple times – especially in winter when I don’t really want to be running around in the dark outside with expensive shopping bags on my own (obviously you can always grab a car), or only have a limited amount of time to be shopping. And there’s a Marriott directly attached to Copley Place in Boston.
Use your work week wisely, and shop on the occasional Wednesday – it will be good for your work life balance.
All my best,
Outfit Details: Pants: Rag & Bone Top: Lafayette 148 Blazer: Paul Smith Boots: Heritage Boots Belt: Hermès Purse: Prada
Photographed at the Houston Galleria & Saks Fifth Avenue – Not Sponsored.