I’m just going to put this out in the open – the clothes I brought for TIME are…not cute. Not in the least bit. They’re very utilitarian: linen cargo pants, plain t-shirts, Chacos, and only one cardigan (being a huge cardigan/sweater person, that was difficult to write, let alone pack). I brought 3 pairs of earrings and almost no other jewelry. I tote around a plain black purse with a Camelbak clipped onto it that sometimes gets my pants wet. And true life: it’s hot over here, so normally I’m also sweaty. And frizzy.
So when Jess and I found out that Istanbul’s Fashion’s Night Out! was happening when we were there, we jumped at the chance to participate. Having no idea what exactly it was, we dressed up as best as our limited wardrobes allowed and took a taxi to one of the three event locations. When we got to Istinye Park, which is actually a huge mall, we discovered that Fashion’s Night Out! is basically an event held in a few big cities around the world where the malls stay open late for fashionable shoppers to mingle, dance, and well, shop. Jess and I did all of the above and it felt glorious. Call me vain or a victim of our consumer culture, but I had fun going through the racks of fabulous clothes and ducking into fancy stores just to snag the treats they were handing out (Tommy Hilfiger had cupcakes!). It made me feel a little less like a traveler or a student and more of a regular Istanbulite out enjoying herself. And that felt nice for a change.
-Doing our best fierce poses in front of the Superdorm.
-This store had a legitimate DJ-ed party going on.
-And yes, we went into H&M in a turkish mall. No shame.
Overall, the experience was a fun one. It was great to spend time doing something that I would do at home. When you’re a foreigner, it’s the little things that make you feel at home.