Thursday, July 10, 2014

In Brief...

I have so much to say, but no time in which to say it because I am living at the pace of late vacation. I continue to love Barcelona with fervor. The sales didn't hurt its case. :-)

I have done some public service research on the topic of lingerie shopping (for the non-matrix sizes) at a regular department store (El Corte Ingles). Your options, while not excessive, are not the disaster one experiences in big box North America. For starters, the brands are much more inclusive than in France (not that I had access to a big box store there) and they tend towards wider wires and shallow shapes. Having said this, the larger cup sizes aren't unheard of. I sense you're on good footing if you are not waifish and your breasts are on the bigger all-around end of the equation.

Still not good for the women shaped as I am. But I did find one bra (and I was hardly exhaustive) that fits perfectly (Felina Conturelle 80521 in Anthrazit - the grey colourway). It was even on sale, though the full set did cost $160 CDN. Felina is a German brand and the product is on the lady/sophisticated end of the spectrum. The offerings I found were all full-cup, and not like UK full-cup (which tends towards a balconette shape). European cup sizing is a totally different scene than US or UK so I sized up in the back and maintained my regular cup size. Since the EU cup sizes are one cup size smaller than UK (at least sometimes), I retained the same cup size (I think). Mind you, the shape is so different, it's hard to say what's going on. Definitely, the Felina back sizes are snug.

I also bought shoes (in Montpellier):

Arche Sakari in Nubuck
The Arche's (above) look very sturdy, I realize, but when you wear them they are quite elegant, sleek and architectural (as all Arche shoes tend to be). I have never been able to justify the cost in TO - esp. for suede - but these were about 150.00CDN and they feel like clouds. They also look terrific with most of my clothing and so will be walkable to work, in a way that isn't hideous like my new (and incredibly comfortable) orthotic Naots. I mean, the Naots are ok for a day at the Island or when on vacation (as no one will ever see me again), but to walk on my regular route, they are depressing.

The new shoes (below) however, are pure sexy - if on the sensible heel-end of sexy:

Wonder 2945
The ones I bought were in this colour, but in leather. They don't appear to exist in an internet photo, so this shot will have to do... Wonder is a Spanish brand, not dissimilar to Camper. These were very affordable in the sale (maybe 75.00CDN?).

I do love me some COS for the sleek lines and wide variety of basics. It reminds me of a Euro version of Club Monaco - very textural. I got 2 blue items, a long-sleeved T (unfinished on the sleeves and hem) and a high-cowl, tunic(ish) sweater. These were both 50% off so the total cost came to 75.00CDN, a ridiculous steal on any day.

Let me say this about European sizing: It is not catering to North American vanity.

And let me say this about the current crop of European styles: Is this the land of sacks or what?? I mean, the sacks are very lovely. They're made of beautiful materials. But a sack is a sack and I'm tired of it!

FWIW: You can posit that my new cowl tunic is a sack (it's loose fit through the torso and it has a curved hem at the thighs). The thing that saves it (aside from the fact that it's in a sleek merino) is that it is cut very small through the arms, shoulders and neck. If you're going to wear a sack, be very certain that the fit is perfection in the shoulders and arms. Otherwise, you will look like a raisin.

Said sweater will go very well with these:

Hue Original Jeans Faded Leggins
People, I know the denim leggings trend has been over for 2 years, but I was working this look before anyone, and I cannot give up on leggings that look like denim. What's not to love? These are made from a very soft denim with loads of lycra. The rise is mid-height. They come in a box like tights?! and they cost 50 bucks. You can't even try them on! It's hilarious. Honestly, now that I've worn them, I'll buy them on eBay from here on in.

I love the shop assistants, they are so helpful - so decisive - and completely comprehensible in Catalan (how, I don't know), the Spanish/French combo language they tend to speak in Barcelona. This region is very like Quebec in that it's a land "displaced". They're angling to separate from Spain though, it would appear, in the most pleasant way.

Crazily, I asked another person another question about the Basque yesterday. Learn from my mistakes. Seriously, do not ask anyone about the Basque. I don't know what it is but you will be met with shock and horror.

And on the topic of random, awesome meals: here's a shot of the most gorgeous paella we ate yesterday:

It was touted as vegetarian (not that I care) but I can assure you it was awash in seafood broth. Man, it was delicious.


  1. Love El Corte Ingles & Felina bras. In Madrid the biggest El Corte Ingles has a fabric department so you might want to look in Barcelona? The El Corte Ingles had a great pharmacy/ cosmetics dept where I bought lots of small things that I couldn't live without and they do not close for siesta. European shop assistants strike me as professionals at their jobs but very rarely in England I'm afraid.

    1. I didn't get a chance to look for fabric, but thanks for the tip! Next time!

  2. the basque issue could well be as a result of ETA, the basque separatist terrorist group? probably best not mentioned!

    1. Never to be mentioned again - I just like the food, man!

  3. Arche at that price? What a deal -- enjoy them!

    1. I know, amazing deal and those shoes are like clouds.