Before we all start crying into our luxurious Turkish carpets because I missed out on the Mother of All Shopping Meccas, please know that while I did not purchase tons of trinkets at the Grand Bazaar, I did come back with an overstuffed suitcase.
In addition to buying possibly-illegal-for-export sahlep and ceviz receli, and, the aforementioned carpet and a Turkish tea stand, I also bought a few decorative bowls at the Kadikoy Market on the Asian side of Istanbul and some evil eye medallions at the airport shop on my way out because I had suddenly decided, after DAYS of walking past them disinterestedly, that I absolutely could not even fathom leaving Istanbul without buying an evil eye. Head snapping decision making at its finest.
We also hit a couple of shopping areas, including Istiklal Cadessi and the City’s Shopping Mall in the Nisantasi neighborhood, and hit the jackpot.
My personal stylist XFE and I saw this dress at a store called Kotton in on Istiklal, but we kept walking. Then, our last night, while out grabbing our gigantic Ali Babba kebab feast, we saw another Kotton and saw this dress again and decided to buy it. Unfortunately, it was snowing and we were pretty wet, so I didn’t try it on. We figured that for $20, it was worth a shot. You can’t tell from the photo, but it has this adorable little keyhole at the top, and then the arms of the dress have similar keyhole openings along them. And, of course, it’s too tight in the arms.
So, Operation Michelle Obama Arms has begun again in earnest (this is version 4 for those keeping count). It involves lots of pushups, planks, and tricep dips, but honestly, I may have to take this to the tailor and get it made into a sleeveless dress. I’ve never had any success with Operation Michelle Obama Arms.
Moving on. Somehow, despite the lack of planning on my part (I swear), we just happened to stumble upon a Mango on Istiklal. I love Mango. It’s almost impossible for me NOT to find something to buy at Mango. And the European counterparts carry enough different stock to always make a stop worthwhile.
But we didn’t find just any Mango in Istanbul, we found what we think was four floors of a Mango outlet! Which meant some off-season stuff at around $10 an item. I stocked up on some summer stuff for the upcoming trip to Australia.
I got this lightweight button up camp shirt in a light pink and a light gray, which you can just see peeking out of the back there.
This is probably the most “Turkish” looking thing I bought. But I did notice that they had a lot of very Turkish or gypsy looking stuff. Lots of full skirts and peasant tops with embroidery and sequins. It was pretty interesting. Almost costume-y.
Two pairs of shorts: the front pair are dark brown linen with a cuff and a paperbag waist: good for hiding large stomachs after gorging on Australian barbecue, I’m sure. The other pair are a dark gray with a very faint glen plaid.
But, the piece-de-resistance is an item we found at the oddly named “Pologarage” in the City’s Mall. Pologarage was a very cool, hip store, with low lighting and lots of dark wood. But they had very affordable prices. I bought a very cool long brown leather and chain belt that has a leather tassel on the end (I forgot to snap a picture — trust me. It’s cute.).
But this is the real steal.
We saw this awesome clutch at another super chi-chi store in a fake ostrich-type gray leather for about $200. I was not at all prepared to shell out that kind of money, but I did love the clutch a lot and almost talked myself into going back and getting it. Do you notice the built-in knuckle ring on the clasp? How cool is that??
Then we saw an almost identical version on a table at Pologarage, in all black for about $60. I snapped it up and held it to my chest, barely letting go so the sales girl could ring it up.
It’s got skulls, y’all. And some other slightly sinister stuff. It’s totally over the top and gothic and ridiculous and a conversation started and I’m absolutely obsessed with it. So is Petunia. That cat has such good taste.