Fast Fashion Shopping in Vienna

Ahoy! We have just left Vienna where it was hot! Unlike the rest of our trip (Amsterdam, Munich, and now Prague) where we had cooler days, Vienna was in the heat of summer. For a week there, it made me completely second-guess my entire packing list. Forget the comfy jeans that were perfect for bike riding in the Netherlands, or the turtle neck for long walks in Englischer garden, all I wanted was girly dresses, frilly shirts, and breezy skirts. And not the ones I had packed, either.

So maybe it was the hot weather, or maybe it was the fact that I haven't been able to sew any clothes since we left the states in early June, but I finally caved and went shopping. Readers, this is something I haven't done in years! But I was really itching for a new flirty dress, and seeing all the European fashions made me want some new clothes in a bad way. Plus, there is something exhilarating to finally allowing yourself some fast fashion and re-entering the retail world of cheap shops to see what they had. A guilty pleasure if you will. I promised myself I wouldn't be too picky on stitching and fit, just buy something that looked good and was nice in the heat. I was actually pretty excited to have a look. 

Well, as you can guess I was sorely disappointed. While Zara and H&M were crammed full of heaping piles of clothes over several floors in two locations (yes, each company had two stores on the same shopping street), I struggled to find what I was looking for. First, in the year of the sleeve, I found that many of the blouses and dresses for sale had long sleeves, which was unacceptable in this heat. And even the shorter garments were made of thick polyester and synthetic materials that just didn't seem breathable. When I finally found a store that did have some things to my taste (Mango, I think it was?), the fit on each of the nine garments I tried on was atrocious! Wrap dresses that were loose on top but so tight and short on the bottom that the shape was completely distorted. Shirts that were too short, with darts pointing at all the wrong things. And don't get me started on rompers, which are hard to fit in the best of circumstances!

Unfortunately for me also is that I am stubborn. Determined to not go home empty handed, my simple shopping trip turned into a whole day affair. The pedometer on my phone says I walked 13 miles that day if you count the mile and a half to and from downtown and the dog walk I took that morning. So what did I find?

My first purchase was a simple princess-seamed spaghetti strap dress with a gathered skirt (here). In plain black, it is not the most exciting purchase ever and it didn't even have any trendy details, but I like that it was fitted through the bodice and made me feel good. Plus, with an elasticized back and adjustable straps, the fit was pretty spot on. To make sure I got the best one, I flipped through all the dresses in my size and chose the one with the best neckline stitching (some were pretty wonky). 

Next, I was on the lookout for a skirt. This would help stretch the rest of my wardrobe, as I could pair it with some of the shirts and tanks I had packed. I found a single pink pleated skirt on a table of wadded up clothes at Zara that seemed to fit the bill (seen here). It was girly and a bit out of my style range, which is exactly what I wanted. Plus, with an elasticized waist I knew, again, that this one would fit. 

Finally, I picked up a simple floral camisole to pair with the skirt or some of my jeans (pictured in a blurry tourist shot below). Again, making my wardrobe stretch. Out of both stores, they were all sold out of my size, so I picked up one size bigger (it is meant to be a loose top anyway), and knotted the straps in the back to make it sit right. I had really wanted to try a cold shoulder or off the shoulder trend for fun, but alas it was not meant to be. 

I think I paid around $35 Euros for everything, which certainly is an advantage to fast fashion. (If you are wondering how we even afford to spend three months traveling abroad, Mr. Made and I spend about half our time working remotely, and rented out our place back home for some additional income.) 

Overall I am quite happy with my purchases. While sewing is all about dreaming up designs, shopping is about the hunt, combing through stores and piles of clothes until you find what you are looking for. I understand why some people love it and others hate it. For my part, I was only semi-successful but hey, I was also a bit rusty. I think for the time being I'll retreat to dreaming up designs on my Pinterest board. 

Of course, when I got home I noticed that the seam on the princess seam dress that I had bought had popped right near the apex. Because I looked through the dresses in my size for the one with the best neckline stitching, I hadn't tried this particular one on, and therefore not noticed the defect. Luckily, a little hand sewing and it was successfully repaired. I guess I can't help myself. 

P.S. It does get a bit lonely traveling, so if any Prague readers would like to invite me along to their sewing group or know of any stores offering up their machines or classes, I'd be very interested! We will be around for the month! The lovely Anneloes was kind enough to show me around Amsterdam and it was so nice to meet a new friend in a new country.  


  1. oh no - you left Vienna already? I would have loved to meet you!
    hope you had a good time in the City and will enjoy Prague now!
    lovely greetings from now cold Vienna,

    1. Oh no, sorry to have missed you! We were there for just a week, so I wasn't as organized :P Just looked at the weather and wow, it did cool down!

  2. what a great trip you are having! and I know exactly what you mean about the unexpected heat, I was in London once and it was so hot - I had to buy a pair of shorts which in Sept. was difficult to find in the shops. but I lucked out and found some cute black culottes which looked like a skirt so that was a win. I'm out of practice for clothes shopping also.
    by the way I have a couple of vintage patterns that are really similar to dresses you have on your pinterest board, with the crisscross open back - you should try one when you are back in CA. Happy travels!

    1. Ooh yes please! I am obsessing over sewing and need to stop, but planning is all I have at this point. Well, that and sock knitting haha.

  3. Hey Meg!

    I know Portugal is a bit outside the central Europe route, but if you find yourself around, give me a bio and we'll arrange a sewing playdate ;)

    1. I'd love to visit Portugal! We won't be making it on this trip, but perhaps the next one! And let me know if you ever find yourself in San Francisco :)


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