We have all been there: you need to up your wardrobe game, but your pocket doesn’t stretch that deep. No fret! Colaba Causeway is the answer to all your bargain-friendly wardrobe add-ons. It is packed with tourists casually strolling along the vibrantly characterised road and determined shoppers haggling their way to create their perfect look book. Coupled with the ‘Old Bombay’ ambience and quaint cafes such as Leopold, Mondegar and Alps, a trip to Colaba makes for a fool-proof day out!
The market at Colaba is open 7 days a week from 9am-10pm. Some prefer to go during the first half of the day when the crowd is a little less. However, the evening is when the street truly comes alive and the weather is more pleasant. To get the best of both worlds, I’d suggest going from 4pm onwards. The market is narrow, so be ready to switch on your ‘hustle through the bustle’ mode. Alongside the street stalls, you will also find trendy boutiques and branded stores such as Nike, Ensemble and Le Mill. In the market itself you will find clothes, shoes, sunglasses, jewellery, handbags, scarves, fake antiques, flutes, table mats, idol statues, belts, watches, home décor- the list just goes on and on!
For fashion-diggers, there are plenty of clothing designs that one would find in high street stores such as Zara, H&M and Forever 21. However, I found the material to be lacking in quality. Many decent designs were let down by their overly-creased, translucent and light material. But, if you do have a good eye for fashion, you could easily put together a few trendy outfits. The jewellery, on the other hand, leaves one spoilt for choice. From the latest choker designs to the classic chunky earrings, this market is the place to stock up on your decking-up gear. The shoes, although not of the most durable quality, are extremely functional. In particular, the sandals and pumps are in style and comfortable too. If you like adding replica bags, watches and sunglasses to your wardrobe, then you will find many options. The only disclaimer is that it is quite clear that the products are fake; threads on the handbags are frayed and the sunglasses lack the sturdiness that comes with sleek designs. This is why I, personally, prefer buying unbranded items.
Now let’s get down to business. By that, I mean the exact opposite of boardroom negotiation level of business. Haggling, no matter how tedious it feels, is a must in this market. The prices have been inflated for tourists, and depending on your level of haggling experience and skill, the final price would be considerably less. Many people follow the 50% rule: quote half of the price, and then reach a mid-way decision with the seller, usually resulting in a 1/3 discount. I visited the market during the month of Ramadan when some of the sellers were fasting. I noticed that the vendors were less receptive to the haggling-game. A few of them gave an upfront discount to save energy, and others were a little more resistant to haggle. Of course, I respected that and didn’t bargain as much as I would have otherwise.
I could not leave this market without a quick challenge. I wanted to find out how much and what I could buy with 2000 rupees ($30/ £22). Here’s what I bought:
1) I fell in love with this grey palette checked shirt. Its’ baggy fit makes it a perfect choice for a comfy-chic look.
Price: 300 rupees ($4.43/ £3.33).
2) Denim dresses are a must-have this season. This ice-blue coloured shirt-dress works perfectly in the day and night depending on what you pair it up with.
Price: 350 rupees ($5.17/ £3.89).
3) You can’t go wrong with this classic navy side-tasselled tote bag. It’s an easy and versatile addition to any wardrobe.
Price: 500 rupees ($7.38/ £5.55).
4) These camel-toned ballet pumps are the perfect balance of style and comfort.
Price: 250 rupees ($3.69/ £2.78).
5) These golden lace-up gladiators will give even the most simplest of outfits a fashionable touch.
Price: 300 rupees ($4.43/ £3.33)
6) Pair these intricately-designed ethnic earrings with a casual day dress to get a classy and simple look. These go beautifully with the denim dress I got!
Price: 150 rupees ($2.21/ £1.67)
7) These white, black and rustic copper earrings are a classic buy that will add a vintage touch to any outfit.
Price: 100 rupees ($1.48/ £1.11)
8) This delicate pendant on a silver chain is perfect for every-day wear, be it with casual shirts or dresses.
Price: 100 rupees ($1.48/ £1.11)
That’s Colaba Causeway for you; cheap, cheerful and plenty of adventure!