I recently went shopping to exchange a Christmas present. My children had purchased a ring against the style advice of my husband. Fortunately, everyone understood when I suggested exchanging it for another after Christmas (when the sales would be on).
We returned from our holiday and I bicycled to Westfield Sydney. It was overrun with tourists of the worst kind. The kind that bump or push past you without excusing themselves. Those who shout at one another within close proximity. You get the picture.
I went to the city because it’s my default. It takes me 10 minutes by bicycle. I was pressured into buying a ring that was too small. A few moments before, I had searched for both a ring and a salesperson to help me. Clearly, I was just another tourist. I left the shop and wandered through Pitt Street Mall and ended up at one of my favourite retailers. I didn’t leave empty-handed. Interestingly, the mens department was relatively subdued and strangely empty. I always like looking at mens clothing to look for style changes. They’re always noticeable as menswear, in comparison to womenswear, is relatively static.
I strapped my purchases on the back of my bicycle and bicycled home.
After the New Year, I thought I would try going to Bondi Junction by bicycle to exchange the too-small ring.
We went to Sydney Park to watch the New Years Eve 9pm fireworks with the kids.
I had already gone for a fast ride on my road bike earlier that morning in Centennial Park. Commuting through Centennial and Queens Park to the Eastern Suburbs is a lovely experience. I have driven to Bondi Junction before but I dislike it immensely. Why? I have gotten lost in the basement parking garage many times. It’s a maze which requires you to memorise the counterintuitive layout. The uniformity of grey paint and cinderblocks makes it impossible for me to remember landmarks. Or maybe the point is to driving through it many times to learn the layout?
I parked in front of the entrance to Westfield Bondi Junction. I found the shop. The salespeople searched the drawers to find the last ring in my size. Success! Interestingly, the shops were not overrun with tourists as they were in the city. It made for a very pleasant shopping experience. More so, because I was alone and unencumbered by small children who were on their way to Cockatoo Island with my husband for two nights of camping.
My parents sent a pair of too-small leggings to my daughter from Seoul, where they now live. They had included the receipt but it was impossible to make the exchange. They were from the wrong season and another country. The salesladies were extremely apologetic and gracious about it.
I stayed to have a look around because the sale prices were extremely reasonable and my daughter is growing so fast. None of her clothing fits her. I recently gave her a pair of my unworn shoes that were half a size too small for me. I found items for her and for me.
And then I went to the mens department. The shop is on one level as opposed to the city shop. Consequently, it’s easier to move from one area to the next, like on a bicycle.
The atmosphere was party-like in menswear. There were groups of men looking at clothing ranging from mid-twenties to those in their fifties. It’s interesting being a woman in menswear. While taking a turn around the shop floor, I gave a little style advice to a young man who had on a too-tight jacket. He changed it for another jacket. It’s helpful for me to see clothing on men to note style and its progression. But it’s also fun to have an interaction which is positive and welcoming.
Another man was eyeing a beautiful light blue suit jacket. I commented on its gorgeous colour. He did too and seemed relieved to hear that someone else liked it. I suggested he try it on. He did and while it fit well, it was shorter than usual. We both commented on the length. I continued my tour and a cluster of men were at the back of the shop. I saw a flash of sequins. One of the young men was replacing a burgundy sequinned jacket with the same on the rack. I asked him if he had tried it on. He turned to me with a smile and said yes. I asked how it had looked. He looked sheepish and said that it was a little too much for him. I smiled. Then there was the nearly sixty year old man who kept trying to catch my eye as he followed me around the shop. I saw some light cotton scarves at the back of the shop which could be worn in place of a tie and could also provide sun protection on the bicycle. My husband wears them in summer for that reason and for warmth in the winter.
I stood in the menswear queue to make my purchases because it was shorter than the womenswear. I saw Mr Possible-Blue-Suit enter the dressing room the suit jacket and trousers on his arm.
I left the shop and walked to my bicycle and strapped my purchases to the back rack. Then, I bicycled home peacefully.
Happy New Year and Bicycling!