Upon your arrival in Buenos Aires, you may be hoping to take advantage of the exchange rate and get some sweet deals while increasing your stock. And, indeed, you can! But it’s not that simple. Prices are not standardized here according to quality or luxury as you’d expect. And even more frustrating, finding something that fits can be a challenge, even to the bravest shopper. So here’s a quick guide to size conversions and a few suggestions for good shopping locations to get you started!
Clothing and Shoe Sizes
Although clothing sizes vary from shop-to-shop, most stores either stick to the standard system of SMLXL, or carry sizes ranging from 0-5. Since sizes are not standardized here, there is no set conversion chart. You’re just going to have to try things on and see what happens.
As a rule of thumb, try one or two sizes bigger than what you normally wear. So if you wear a small in the states, try on a large in Buenos Aires. When trying on garments with numerical sizes, it helps to divide your size in half and then add 1 or 2. So for example, since I wear a 4 in the states I would try on either a 3 or 4 here (4÷2 + 1 or 2). This is only a starting point, though.
Shoe sizes are much easier to convert than clothing sizes. Just follow this chart:
As is the case with clothing, however, you may have to try on a couple different pairs before finding the right fit.
Where to go?
If you fancy yourself a fashionista, go to Palermo (try starting at Guruchaga and Honduras). There, you’ll find boutique shops with well-constructed, more distinctive items. Prices will be higher in Palermo, but what you will find there will be better crafted and better looking.
Bargains abound just a stones throw away from the Plaza Serrano shopping district. Just walk a few block away, between Avenida Cordoba 4000-5000, you will find a plethora of outlet stores that have bargains on goods from the same stores you just visited in Palermo. Don’t forget to ask if the store has “Tax-Free,” and if you’re paying in cash, ask the store attendant if you can get a discount.
Also, you may want to try wandering around Santa Fe Ave. (start at the intersection of Santa Fe and Callao and walk for several blocks in either direction). You will find more chain stores there, but can still find some really nice things.
If you’re looking for souvenirs, leather goods or something with a more “authentic” Argentine flavor, I’d also suggest a day trip to El Tigre or to Feria de Mataderos. The colectivo ride will take a while, but it will be worth it because at these fairs you will find great bags, wallets, and anything else you can imagine. Even better, most everything you find at El Tigre or Feria de Mataderos will be much cheaper than what you will find in the city.