Saturday, October 8, 2011

Shopping in Gent: The Julie Andrews Connection

This catchy Mary Poppins tune has been going through my head all day, and only now I realise why. I was shopping with two friends today and they took me to the most wonderful little store in Gent. It's an amazing thing, living in a city for 6 years, thinking you know it through and through and then stumbling upon a completely unknown delight - a category Spoonful of Sugar definitely belongs to.

If you happen to walk by the store (located in the Bennesteeg, a very romantic street), don't let the exterior fool you. You see, it looks like a regular kids store - a very cute one, but still. I like kids, but I haven't exactly got the habit of buying clothes for my imaginary offspring, so it's really no wonder I had never noticed it before. The inside is very child friendly as well, but the racks are dotted with grown-up candy. You'll find some fine quality dresses (made by Vivetta, amongst others) and sweaters in fifties-style, next to a quaint selection of rings, earrings, broches and necklaces. And if that weren't enough, I spotted a few Cambridge satchels. I've been lusting over these for quite a while, so I was glad to be able to ogle one up close. Three spoonfuls (i.e. a broche, a necklace and a gift cheque) later we were out on the street again, rejoicing in all the cuteness.

Also in the Bennesteeg and never visited before was a shop called Solar. It didn't look like much from the outside (apparantly the shopkeepers in this street like to diffuse their public), but I've got this thing for tartan these days, and there was a nice patterned dress on display, so we took a chance. Solar is a Polish brand, and I had absolutely never heard of it before. The shop assistent is Polish as well, I think, because she talks with a faint accent. It's nice, a little juicy. She was very sympathetic - I asked her whether she was the owner of the store and she said she was, but I'm not sure if she heard the question. They had a pretty inconsistent collection - some very nice pieces, but also a few awful cloths - synthetic and rough wool. (I'm very sensitive about texture, just thinking about it sends shivers up my spine.) Still, it was cool to check out this kind of obscure brand, and they did have quite a lot of excellent skirts and dresses. They had some nice accessories as well: gloves, bags, scarfs. I bought a beautiful bird-patterned scarf and I'm looking forward to using it now the days are turning cold. So all in all, definitely worth checking out.

The tree looked like it could use a nice bird-patterned scarf.

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