I’m going to LA soon. Is it still worth doing some shopping while I’m there?
Oh my God, yes. Sure, travelling abroad isn’t quite as exciting as it once was, now that we can all order jeans from Japan and cookies from Canada over the internet. But there remain other factors that definitely make it worth flashing the cash, or at least the credit card with absurd abroad charges, when you travel.
So let’s talk the US, a place I know quite a bit about, and a place where I know even more about the shopping. Now, as this is a fashion column I promise I will get to fashion. But it would be remiss of me not to mention that the number one thing I stock up on when I go to the US is the food. Sure, things have improved since the dark days of the 90s, when I had to import Oreos personally and quite possibly illegally across the Atlantic. But there are still some essentials that it is impossible to buy in Britain without forking over 10 times their worth in weird food specialist shops in Kensington. Major food groups, such as Chex cereals, Reese’s Pieces (only Cups available in the UK! Oh cruel world!) and Kraft Caramels still require personal importing. Most importantly of all, Entenmann’s Creme-Filled Cupcakes, which are about as fake-tasting – and therefore delicious – as they sound. God, sometimes I really miss the US.
But I can’t sit around talking about cupcakes all day (or can I? Maybe?). So let’s talk LA shopping. Now, the first and most obvious thing to say is that US labels are cheaper in the US than the UK – even Gap works out cheaper. But where the savings really come into play is with jeans. High-end denim lines, such as Rag & Bone and J Brand, are crazy expensive these days, but they are INSANELY expensive in Britain. My favourite jeans brands are Paige and Frame, but not even someone who once spent £10 on a box of Kraft Macaroni and Cheese in the UK will pay £200-£300 for a pair of jeans, which is what those labels cost here. I mean, I like macaroni cheese, but I’m not completely crazy. (Happily, you can now buy Kraft Macaroni for £2.50 from Ocado! Bless you, modern era! You don’t get these kinds of useful tips from Vogue, do you?)
In the US, these jeans are less than $200, giving you a saving of on average £100, which is simultaneously exciting and enraging. It is infuriating when you realise how much you are being ripped off at home.
My other LA shopping tip is: don’t bother with shopping malls. Sure, they are convenient but the point of shopping abroad is at least as much the experience as the purchases, and you can go to a shopping mall anywhere. It is so much more fun to go to distinctly LA shopping places, such as Melrose Place, with its designer shops that have cactus gardens in front, and Robertson Boulevard, the site of a million Paris Hilton pap shots. Most importantly, you have to visit Rodeo Drive and run into the designer boutiques and shout at the shop assistants, “Big mistake. Big. Huge!” Honestly, they love that there, and you can explain just how much to Homeland Security as they escort you and your purchases out of the country.
I recently had a thing with a guy who was sending super flirty emails and texts for months and months, but he has recently pulled away with no explanation. What’s going on?
Every woman on the planet, ever
God, I hate men. Yeah, that’s right – I SAID IT. Don’t give me any of your #notallmen crap, I blame all of you for this, you and you and especially you with the sleeve tattoos at the back. For every one story I’ve heard of a woman doing this weird flirt-then-disappear act, I’ve heard at least 15 stories of men doing it, and that’s why I blame all men, because you nice guys should tell your male friends to stop it.
For some it’s a power trip thing, because these guys find the power of retreating from a woman more erotic than having actual sex with her. For others, it’s a fear of commitment. And for the rest, they enjoyed the fantasy of the woman better than the reality. These are all long-winded ways of saying that these guys are idiots. Here’s all you need to know, ladies: don’t take this behaviour personally. It’s really, really, really not about you. I don’t know this guy but I guarantee he’ll be back in three months with an email that begins “Hey”. (Nothing worse than a contrite email that begins “Hey” – nothing!) Do with that email what he did to you: put it in the trash.
Post your questions to Hadley Freeman, Ask Hadley, The Guardian, Kings Place, 90 York Way, London N1 9GU. Email email@example.com.