Why shop abroad? For various reasons: Because a product is frequently cheaper, perhaps the quality is better or the items may not be available at home. In addition, buying abroad enhances your appreciation of your purchase.
Business travelers and tourists are increasingly aware of the advantages of buying clothing and personal accessories--or even antiques, jewelry, furniture and home accessories rather than frivolous, soon-broken souvenirs.
The world's markets offer endless choices that stimulate one's desires. Department stores and boutiques abroad are often living museums.
You can find great shops in many places, but world capitals are the leaders. A list (much contracted by space considerations) follows:
Asprey's, 165 New Bond St.: Exclusive gift items and home accessories, including Asprey's pens, picnic hampers with porcelain plates and silverware, rare books, leather agendas, accessories and luggage, objets d'art, picture frames, umbrellas.
Culpeper, 21 Bruton St.: Natural cosmetics, bath salts, essential oils, spice blends for cooking, herbal teas, honey, medicinal herbs, scented sachets, wonderful apothecary jars.
Fortnum & Mason, 181 Piccadilly: Exclusive Lord David Linley's gift range (jewelry boxes, valet stand), tapestry luggage, Mason's ironstone tea caddies, gourmet gift packs. Traditionally British cashmeres, tweeds, tartans.
General Trading Co., 144 Sloane St.: Elegant gifts of contemporary crystal, antique Chinese porcelain vases, leather photo albums and desk sets, fireplace accessories, silver service, antique desks, tables, chairs. Royal wedding lists.
Harrods, Knightsbridge: Exclusive Harrods tartan or black and green wallets, key holders, carry bags, scarfs. Designer fashions, gourmet food halls with confectionery, fine china, stationery, toys, pet shop. These and literally hundreds of other items.
Lock & Co., 6 St. James's St.; John Lobb, 9 St. James's St.: Hats and shoes, respectively, to finish off a gentleman's head-to-toe British traditional outfit.
Turnbull & Asser, 71-72 Jermyn St.: Shirts that are tasteful, custom made, ready-to-wear, with a wide range of sizes, stripes, solid colors. These are 100% cotton and blends. Elegant neckwear, gentlemen's accessories.
Westaway & Westaway, 65 Great Russell St.: All styles of woolens, cashmeres, lamb's-wool sweaters, tartans, tweed garments, blankets and cover-ups. Great prices.
Axis, 18 Rue Guenegaud: Imaginative gifts such as vases, ashtrays with teensy golfers or sunbathers trapped in acrylic, teapots like crinkled paper bags, clocks with Harold Lloyd cutouts dangling from minute hands.
Christian Dior, 26-32 Ave. Montaigne: Haute couture to home accessories--furs, evening wear, lingerie, handbags, children's clothes, perfumes, bed linens, tableware, gifts. Unsurpassed ready-to-wear.
Fauchon, 26 Place de la Madeleine: Glorious gourmet foods-- foie gras, caviar, truffles, canned stews, soups, exotic condiments, 45 jams, 75 teas, confectionery, wines, champagnes, packaged for export. Fauchon tea caddies, platters.
Galeries Lafayette, 40 Boulevard Haussmann: Department store with men's, women's designer fashions, Galeries Lafayette Collection, perfumes, cosmetics. Tableware includes Havilland, Bernardaud, Saint Louis, Cristal Sevres; French games, exclusive furniture, rugs, home accessories. (Free fashion shows.)
Guerlain, 68 Champs-Elysees: Exclusive perfumes--L'Heure Bleu, Mitsuko, Shalimar, Jardins de Bagatelle for women, Derby for men. Facials with Evolution Intensive Extract, Ultissima and Ultra Sport (for men, too) skin-care products.
Hermes, 24 Rue du Faubourg St. Honore: Leather goods (gloves, wallets, handbags, luggage, briefcases) in calf, crocodile, ostrich. John Lobb made-to-order shoes. Saddles, crops. Signature pattern scarfs, neckties, jewelry, porcelain.
Louvre des Antiquaires, 2 Place de Palais Royal: Period furniture, jewelry, paintings, Orientalia, ancient artifacts, deco, dolls, games, rare books. Quality, authenticity backed by Louvre des Antiquaires.
Stock 2, 92 Rue d'Alesia: Daniel Hechter--fashions for men, women, children at discount price (business/dress suits, dresses, ensembles, sports clothes).
Apollodoro, Piazza Mignanelli: Trendy interior design, art gallery featuring Michael Grave's post-modern tea service, Italian designer functional artworks, modern paintings, prints.
Buccellati, 35 Via Condotti: Silver objets d'art--cupids, candelabra, serving platters, tea sets. Florentine brushed gold chains and gem-encrusted baubles.
Bulgari, 10 Via Condotti: Glittering gold rings, bracelets, necklaces with big gems, heavy gold chains, Roman coin pendants, gold and platinum purses, pens, key rings.
Cesare, 1 Via Barberini: Luxurious home accessories, especially bed and bath, terry robes, towels, table linens, lingerie, poolside ready-to-wear, great fabrics.