you probably don’t need me to tell you that shopping on St. Barts is great. you can deduce this because a)it’s French and the French love their fashion & b)it IS St. Barts which means everything is casual yet TRES CHIC! after all, SBH was named one of the “world’s 10 best shopping destinations” by Forbes. you’ll find the biggest selection in gustavia or in st. jean.
i will impart some things i came across AND will stress one important TIP that is NOT TO MISS…
TRIP TIPS –
OUCH talk about breaking the bank! St. Barts shopping can take big toll on your funds with all of the fancy designer shops and YES it’s also expensive due to the strength of the euro vs. the US dollar BUT you do have an advantage traveling in May or the summer months because of the sales the stores offer. many were marking down their merchandise 40-50% off when i was there. after the money exchange conversion this is really about 25% off, but saving something is better than nothing – right?! keep in mind many of these items will be full price elsewhere in the world where they are just coming into season.
OK prepare/defend yourself…SBH shopping is really tempting. to help you research your “purchase must-haves”, pick up those glossy island magazines (like chic st. barth, discover saint barthélemy, hello-stbarth) that you see at the airport or seaport upon arrival. at the very least it will familiarize you with some places you may need to check out, or help organize your plan of attack. you may also get lucky enough to witness an impromptu fashion show to entice an “i can’t live without that” purchase as we did during our lunch at hotel isle de france (great store there FYI).
i’m a big fan of finding local & unique things while traveling so that when i wear, see or use my travel purchases i think of the special place it came from. thus, i would HIGHLY recommend items from Ligne St. Barth – a local company that organically grows, manufactures & sells oils, lotions & other beauty essentials right there on the lovely island of SBH herself. i L.O.V.E. the coco sunscreen oil and swear its SPF is better than most even though it says 2% plus it’s completely practical & smells exactly like summertime should. (ps – they were also having a sale on much of their line)
other must-haves might be:
a quintessential souvenir island t-shirt from either pati de st. barth or saint barth attitude. pati de st. barth has been credited with creating the square st. barth’s logo that’s become a famous symbol around the world for the island. i have one of these tee’s and i love it. i did not manage to get a new ‘saint barth attitude’ tee and i’m not happy about it…it goes on the shopping list for next time for sure!
vanita rosa – only on SBH or in Paris – talk about boho-hip…i found the coolest linen tunic that’s adorned with just the right amount of lace here. it’s the kind of thing that i could wear as a cover up or with jeans, shorts, a skirt or even as a dress – it’s THAT versatile! completely worth the money (especially at half off) and probably will be the most coveted thing in my closet that i wear this summer.
pop st. barth – a precious little boutique right on rue de la republique in gustavia – pop st. barth carried dresses and tops that were in such lovely island colors. everything was beautiful and on sale. the designer/owner was so friendly and encouraged us to try things we might not ordinarily try on our own.
now for my TRIP TIP not to be overlooked…if you’ve been to St. Barts you probably noticed another item that seems to be EVERYWHERE – the gorgeous sea pearl necklaces made on leather cording. i have been coveting one of these babies since last year. bijoux de la mer has a storefront in gustavia and has truly incredible things available for a small fortune. other islanders have caught on to this craze and have begun to create their own designs. ie -hotel isle de france has someone privately making jewelry for them. here’s my fantastic source – St Barth Treasures – designs by Ted Deltour. i was introduced to Ted through Pierre – thanks, yet again, Pierre! i met with Ted, picked out my pearls & style of necklace and then he made it for me for at least 1/2 the price of other retailers. Ted even met us at Nikki Beach to hand deliver my new fabulous purchase. i love the necklace Ted – you are an amazing artist! (post a comment to get Ted’s contact information – website coming soon)