During my recent visit back home to South Florida, I felt the need to do a little bit of shopping. Isn’t that what fall break is for?

Rather than going straight to my local mall to check out my favorite stores such as Zara, Topshop and Urban Outfitters, my family and I decided to make a trip down to Bal Harbour shops in Miami Beach. Bal Harbour Shops is a high-end outdoor shopping mall with an exquisite collection of designer boutiques that houses legendary brands such as Chloe, Chanel, Gucci, Balenciaga, Oscar de la Renta, and Prada.

I always prefer to shop in stores where I know I’ll find clothing in my price range and will likely leave with several new additions to my wardrobe. Therefore, it’s rare for me to use up my limited shopping time just browsing the luxury collections.

Once I accepted the fact that this was going to be more like visiting an art exhibit than a shop-till-you-drop adventure, I was excited for the day. My first stop was the Neiman Marcus shoe department, where the lowest priced shoe that I liked was $1000. I began to wonder if the price tag was just about the logo and not the originality of the design.

After leaving the department store, we went into the individual boutiques and it was then that my question was answered and my opinion of shopping these luxury designers  changed forever. In each store, I felt like a little kid in a candy shop. Everything from the clothing to the accessories to the decor caught my eye. I felt like I was walking into a different art museum with each store that I entered.

The salespeople in Gucci, Chloe, and Balenciaga gave us the designer’s backstory and inspiration. In addition, they presented the extensive details of each bag that we were specifically interested in. This led me to see the true value of these items that demand such high prices. I now saw beyond the logo and appreciated the amazing designers who have gained a high-end reputation as a result of their creative artistry.

For me, Bal Harbour Shops was no longer a place for all things inaccessible, but instead a spot for inspiration and ideas. This browsing experience allowed me to see the styles for the upcoming season and the trends that are coming back from the past. As a result, I have taken the innovations of these renowned designers and have filled my carts with similar styles on more affordable websites. Additionally, I now plan on saving up my money to purchase a luxury handbag or pair of shoes that I can keep for a lifetime. Until then, I will continue treating these pieces as works of art that should not be touched, but appreciated.


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