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Chuck Bolotin of Best Mexico Movers – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Andares Mall, GuadalajaraThe answer to can you buy good clothes in the Lake Chapala / Ajijic area depends on what kinds of clothes you purchase.  First, the good news.
 
If you buy your clothes at Walmart, we have one right in town and the clothes are about what you would expect.
 
If you buy your clothes at second hand stores, we have a good amount of those.
 
If you like traditional Mexican clothes handmade in Chiapas or Oaxaca, you can find those, and they’re quite beautiful and inexpensive.
 
You can find clothes in Guadalajara (about an hour away) at Costco (just like you would expect) and at several very nice malls, some quite high end (also about what would expect).  The picture above is of Andares Mall, which is very, very nice.
 
What the area is missing is almost any mid-range clothing stores.  For those and for shopping with better selection, most expats (especially the women) buy the vast majority of their clothes when they visit north.
 
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Centeya of Radisson Blu Ajijic – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Native women selling their traditional clothes, Lake Chapala, Mexico – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingYou can buy really lovely Mexican style clothes like cotton flowy manta here in Chapala and Ajijic. A manta is a white cotton shirt typically worn by a lot of Mexicans that resembles linen but feels a lot fresher than linen. Mantas are available in lot of new little retail clothing shops in and around Chapala and Ajijic.
 
I personally shop more in Guadalajara, but the choice on whether to shop in Chapala and Ajijic or in Guadalajara depends greatly on the style you’re looking for. As an example, expats will find most of the Mexican men are wearing “guayabera,” the typical Mexican lightweight button up shirts with pockets. Guayaberas look very fresh, and you can get them in any color, design and style.
 
There is a small-sized mall in Chapala and Ajijic, which is comparable to American-style malls. As far as clothing goes, Chapala and Ajijic are slowly but surely improving the products and brands offered. Around town, you’ll find most of everything you need. If the town doesn’t have what you need, Guadalajara is only 40 minutes away. Guadalajara is also where you’ll find shops like Costco.
 
Plaza Galerías in Guadalajara has just been rated the number one mall in Latin America because in Plaza Galerías, you can find almost all the western brands such as H&M, Forever21, and Zara. Plaza Galerías offers neat and comfy clothes that I’m used to shopping for in the United States.
 
I haven’t shopped for shoes since I’ve lived in Chapala, but there are definitely shops where you can buy shoes. If Plaza Galerías doesn’t have what you like, there’s a higher end shopping mall in Guadalajara where you can find big brands such as Gucci, LV and Prada.
 
The prices of clothes in Guajajara, and Chapala and Ajijic are very reasonable. In fact, I’ve found better deals here in Chapala and Ajijic than in the same stores in San Francisco. The prices at the same stores like H&M, Forever 21, City Lights, Gap and Zara are a lot better here in Mexico.
 
(Native women selling their traditional clothes, Lake Chapala, Mexico, pictured.)
 
Karen Herrtwich of S&S Auto – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Ad for BRICS , an acessory store in the Andaras Mall, Guadalajara, Mexico – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingYou can’t buy designer clothes in Chapala and Ajijic. I usually go to Guadalajara for clothes shopping. That’s not to say I don't buy clothes here in Chapala. If I walk by a store and I see a shirt that I think is nice, it's not going be a name brand, but who cares? Shopping in Guadalajara, on the other hand, is fantastic!   If I was looking to buy a nice dress for a party, I'd shop in Guadalajara.
 
We do have a Wal-Mart in Chapala, where I do most of my grocery shopping as well as Super Lake and the tianguis (Wednesday market). Super Lake is a great store - they have a lot of imported goods.  
 
To go to Guadalajara to a high-end mall from Chapala takes about 45 minutes to an hour maximum.  Most of the designer items are in Guadalajara. When we moved here 25 years ago, we didn't have all that, but now, we have pretty much everything. I don't think there's anything you can't buy here.
 
The prices at the malls are competitive to what we pay in the States and in Canada. We never used to have sales, but now, they are more and more common. They're discounting and trying to get rid of their old stock, so prices on certain things have come down a little bit.  
 
(Ad for BRICS , an accessory store in the Andaras Mall, Guadalajara, Mexico, pictured.)
Alicia Gomez of Collins Real Estate – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
50% off rack at Mia's Boutique of Ajijic, Ajijic Mexico – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingYou can buy good clothes in Chapala and Ajijic but it depends on how much you want to spend. Several expats decide to buy used stuff because they are clever and they don’t really want to spend money on clothes. So they go to Mia’s, which is a bazaar in Ajijic. They have good quality used clothing and they’re selling it at a good price.
 
If you want to buy brand new clothes, they are available in some places here in Chapala and Ajijic but I would recommend going to Guadalajara instead, which is about an hour away from Chapala and Ajijic, where they have malls and the prices are lower.
 
(50% off rack at Mia's Boutique of Ajijic, Ajijic Mexico, pictured. )
Richard Tingen of Coldwell Banker Chapala Realty – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Aéropostale store in Mexico, pictured – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingWe don’t have malls here in Chapala and Ajijic because the population in the area is too small. If you live in Chapala and Ajijic and you want to go to a mall, you could go to Guadalajara, which is the second largest city in Mexico, and is less than an hour away. We have some boutique shops here in Chapala and Ajijic but you would get better prices in Guadalajara.
 
If you want to buy some basic brand clothing like Aéropostale, you could buy that in Guadalajara though there is also some of that available here in Chapala and Ajijic. People buy these branded clothes in Guadalajara and resell them here in Chapala and Ajijic. They would sometimes allow you to pay in installments for these clothes, so it is more convenient.
 
They only bigger store here in Chapala is Coppel, which was mainly an electronics store but they also sell clothes, shoes, etc. If you want a North American type of shopping experience, you have to go to Guadalajara, where you will find almost everything that you want and need from the low end to the high end.  
 
(Aéropostale store, pictured.)
Luzma Grande of Ajijic Concierge Services – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Mexican embroidered dress, Mexico – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingThere are not clothing stores in Ajijic. Clothes are very expensive in Mexico if you compare it with the US. The more clothes you bring from the US down to Mexico, the better. I am 178 centimeters (5’8”) so I am taller than most Mexican women, so I find it difficult to find pants that fit me because of the length. I have no problem finding Capri pants but I find it difficult to find long pants that fit my height.
 
Before I came to Ajijic, I was in Canada and went to buy a good pair of slacks for CA $15. I bought it at an inexpensive store but they had good quality fabric. When I arrived in Mexico, I lost those slacks and couldn’t find them so I had to replace them. I found the same kind of slacks here in Guadalajara, which is an hour away from Ajijic by car, and paid US $100 for a new one. 
 
We now have H & M here in Mexico and they have good prices. We also have C & A, which is another brand that sells good clothes at a good price. I have had clients who asked me to take them to Guadalajara for shopping. I told them that it is expensive but they were willing to pay for it. So we went, and found stores that sell good quality clothing that is also affordable. So in short, shopping here is just like anywhere else. You could find good quality clothing at an affordable price but of course if you buy a pair of jeans for US $20 in the US, you would get that here for $60 sometimes.
 
My advice for people who are coming to Mexico is to bring your best clothes. If you live in Ajijic, there is a Walmart there where you could buy clothes that you could use everyday. If you need clothes that are not for special occasions such as if you only need a t-shirt then you can go to Walmart and buy that but if you need good clothes, it is best to go to Guadalajara.
 
There are a lot of bazaars in Ajijic, which is not common in other places. There are also places in Ajijic that sell second-hand clothing. Some of these clothes are from people who came here and brought their own clothes but once they got here, they changed their wardrobe and started wearing Mexican clothes, which you could find here in Ajijic.  So they sell their old clothes that they took with them here. A lot of gringos like to use Mexican shirts. Ironically, I don’t see my Mexican friends wearing those embroidered Mexican shirts; the ones I see wearing those shirts are gringos. There are a lot of shops that sell those kinds of shirts here in Ajijic and I think their target market is the gringos. I like it a lot and the gringos look very nice in them!
 
Some women in Ajijic like wearing long, turquoise skirts paired with blouses with every color of the rainbow on the flower embroidery. You don’t see Mexican women wearing that unless they are “autoctono,” which means native or indigenous to a certain place.
 
(Mexican embroidered dress, Mexico, pictured.)

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