Americans, for all our flashy patriotism, tend to shy away from color. We like our muted browns, our beiges, our blacks. But a visit to Thailand demands that you buy a shock of brilliance to add to your closet. The city is filled with a rainbow of luscious silks just ready to drape. Andaman Trade Centre sells silk by the meter, and Jim Thompson Thai Silk has five locations in Phuket, which all sell high-end fabrics that will color even the grayest of moods.
Andaman Trade Centre
Srisoontorn Road, Thalang
Jim Thompson Thai Silk
Le Meridien Phuket Beach Resort
SANTA FE, NEW MEXICO: Turquoise
Everything about Santa Fe is tranquil. The mountains, the mild weather - even the city's hallmark gemstone, turquoise, is as calm and lovely as the summer sky. Native Americans sell turquoise jewelry in the Old Town square, a popular tourist spot, and you can't swing an incense stick without hitting a fine jeweler. We recommend the Zachanee gallery and the affordable and tasteful Virginia Trading Post.
Virginia Trading Post
82 East San Francisco Street
66 East San Francisco Street, Suite 16
Whether you pull them out for costume parties or wrap up in one every night, kimonos are the world's coolest regional garb. There are rafts of imitators, but the real deal comes from Japan, where kimonos are as ubiquitous as signs you can't read. A good place to start digging for them is in the basement of the Oriental Bazaar in the Harajuku shopping district. Another option is Hayashi Kimono in Chiyoda-ku's International Arcade. Last-minute buyers can get a comfy cotton yukata (robe) in Narita Airport's gift shops.
TUCSON, ARIZONA: Navajo Rugs
The idea of a magic carpet ride is a bit hippie dippie, but if there were such a far-out transport, it would probably be a Navajo rug. It is room decor with a soul. Not only that, it's pretty handsome as well. Mark Sublette Medicine Man Gallery has more than 400 exquisite Navajo rugs and blankets. Morning Star Traders has a long- established reputation for museum-quality goods. Wouldn't it be nice if the place you lay your feet also had a little spirit?
Medicine Man Gallery
7000 East Tanque Verde Road
Morning Star Traders
2020 East Speedway Boulevard
VENICE, ITALY: Handblown Glass
Venice is a singular city - how many towns do you know of that are built on water? - and its signature export is as unique. Venetian handblown glass is ravishing, colorful, and ornate. Many tourists take a day trip to the nearby island of Murano to watch glassblowing in action, but breathtaking glass can be found in shops across Venice. Two stores of note are Art of Venice and Murano Glass Shop. Do ask about shipping; you don't want anything to happen to these babies. Glass is fragile, you know.
Art of Venice
San Marco 619-619a
Murano Glass Shop
Via Treportina no. 30