There is one thing girls and women from all around the world are supposed to be good at : SHOPPING. And according to another universal law, it is something men hate, at least when they have to wait for a girl to make her choice. (DBF can spend hours shopping for his clothes, but act like his torture when I need to buy just one t-shirt
I hit the mall at every sales and each time I wished there was a malesitting service available because once they selected their shirts and T-shirts (which takes forever) they complain and mumble while you do the same for ladies wear. With DBF it climax when I try to find some good indian wear because let's face it the choice is HUGE.
But despite the fact shopping malls pops out like mushrooms in big cities, I never really find anything I like in matter of Salwaar suits in these. A salwaar suit is by the way a dress that consist of a long or short tunic over loose fitting drawstring pants, with a long scarf to complete the set (the scarf is called a dupatta). To find good ethnic wear, option B is to hit one of those numerous small shops. And my favourite is a really tiny one in a commercial area.
What you get in those shops beats it all. The prices are way cheaper too (provided you know your prices and know how to bargain), and the service? Oh my the service! You just tell the guy what you are looking for, and he will empty the shelves and unfold all dresses for you to see. All you have to do is say : "I like this colour, do you have any other style and patterns in those shades?" for him to unfold more and more. Often you end up buying maybe 2 or 3 but he patiently showed you dozens and dozens of them for sometimes over an hour so that you could make your choice. And even offer to have them alterated to fit or suits your taste.
The other option most clothing shop also offer is to buy dress material. This mean you buy a fabric set and they then tailor it for you so that you end up with something that will fit you perfectly. Usually for an even more competitive price than the ready made dresses he sells.
Most small shops in India have a counter, and you ask what you want, this is true for grocery shops, pharmacies, cosmetic shops, and jewelry shops (even cheap fashion jewelry). It can be a bit embarassing if you don't know what you are looking for in a grocery shop though. if you are unfamiliar with what is available foodwise, you may want to visit the supermarket first, but for other things small shops offer far more variety, try them.
Buying Bangles is also an experience. Some shops have an entire floor dedicated to bangles. Indian women wear those a lot and often have dozens ornating their wrist. You generally by those in sets of two dozens or so, and can have the set match your clothing. I recently went in one of those shop with the dupatta of one of the suits I purchased and told the guy that I wanted a set matching that outfit. In 5 minutes he had it. I even asked him to change a certain type of bangles because I wanted something more shiny and he found a solution right away. Do that in Switzerland and the sales person kills you. In fact just ask them anything and they will do so. many European countries are notorious for craptastic service, and Switzerland is one of them.
Actually, even in malls, they maintain that kind of service. You can ask one of the shop attendant to help you find a dress in such and such style, and they will go around the whole department looking for things matching your description. What's left for you to do is define your expectations more and more precisely after each dress for them to show you something close to the lucky number. I'm getting quite addicted tothis service in shops, and am less and less afraid of saying what I want.
When my mom and sis came to visit me they were quite amazed at how they would do everything to satify our wishes and at how precise I was in my demands. The concept of specialised stores was another thing that amazed them. I confessed to them though that sometimes that over specialisation in shops could be real drag, because you often have to visit several shops to get all you need. Just for common houshold goods, that can be time consuming if you are a working woman as well. For this, department store are a real blessing but alas to few in number and the supermarket often don't have it all.