I love New York for many, many reasons, but the quality of shopping is definitely one of them. I’ve just returned from a 5 day trip – here’s my pick of the best stores, broken down into categories – and not a mention of Abercrombie or Forever 21 in sight. Hopefully this list will introduce you to some less well-known and far more unique shops that you need to put on your list for your next visit…
My tip: Go out to New York with an empty suitcase, because you’ll certainly fill it with new purchases!!
This store stocks lots of different brands, and therefore has lots of different price points. Aritzia is womenswear only and stocks great items of workwear and casualwear. For me, this trip yielded a pair of leopard print joggers, a silky shirt and a grey marl crop top. The staff are always super friendly and helpful too.
Words to describe Madewell: wholesome, lasting, classic, comfy. They do a great denim selection, the designs are very timeless, and everything feels very high quality. No, it’s not cheap as chips, but you definitely get what you pay for. It’s the kind of place you could shop with your mum too, as it crosses generations.
Ralph Lauren Denim & Supply
I hadn’t come across this store before now, but we were lured in by the American flag-fabric outfits in the window. The style here is a cross between safari-chic (lots of khaki and tiger print) and American military (tailored jackets with gold piping sit alongside board shorts emblazoned with stars and stripes), and they stock clothing for both men and women. Not as expensive as Ralph Lauren’s main line (I tried on a palm-print bomber jacket for about $100), and certainly very unique.
I never leave New York with any less than two pairs of Steve Madden shoes in my suitcase. This trip it was a pair of leopard espadrilles, and some super comfy wedge heels. I find them very comfortable and long lasting – practically my entire shoe wardrobe is Steve Madden.
I love this boutique – it must be doing well, as several more stores have sprung up since my last visit. You can be sure that everything in here is super trendy – from shoes to jewellery to swimwear to clothing, they’ve got it all. The clothes are from a variety of designers, so prices vary, but expect to pay upwards of $100 for a [very nice] dress.
We do have this brand over in the UK now, but it makes sense to shop in New York because the pricing is so much keener. The fashion is fine, but it’s a bit more mature than my style; I go instead for the homewares – the beautiful dinnerware, stunning glassware, exquisite textiles and delicious-smelling candles. The jewellery is good too, but not cheap ($40+ per necklace).
Who knew that Marc Jacobs did bookshops? Not I, until I visited this one, bang opposite the Magnolia Bakery on Bleecker Street. Stocking a wide range of coffee table tomes, I visit for the other knick knacks they have on offer – from MJ branded Sharpie marker pens to reasonably priced necklaces and stationery. My Red Maps Essential Guide also came from here, and I can’t recommend it enough – it’s super clear for Subway lines, streets and top landmarks.
Packed to the rafters with crockery and quirky kitchenalia, I love this store for its ingenious humour and shabby chic kitchen and dining items. If nothing else, I always stock up on their retro candy-striped paper straws, which are perfect for house parties.
I love good stationery, and Paper Source delivers in spades. I mainly go for the greetings cards, which are always unusual and exquisitely made – this is in a totally different league to Clinton’s Cards. I love its letter-pressed cards and cheeky notelets. This time I stocked up on cards for various upcoming occasions, plus some cute notecard sets. Papyrus is a similar concept – keep an eye out for the Kate Spade stationery range.
This store is so beautifully styled that every time I visit I wish that I could just live in the shop. Amazing furniture and lighting are showcased perfectly in super stylish room sets, providing you with oodles of home inspiration, even if you don’t have the option of actually bringing any of the homewares back in your suitcase!
Sephora is no secret. It’s hands down the #1 destination for beauty products – make up, skincare, haircare, nails, branded products, Sephora own brand. Everything a girl could need under one roof. I love the interactive screens where you can search any product to bring up real customer reviews – so handy when faced with so much choice. The Sephora Collection products are great and really fairly priced, or you can choose from a huge number of brands – from Laura Mercier to Bumble & Bumble to Smashbox to Stila. The mini lotions and potions by the till are great too – a handful always sneak into my basket as I’m on my way to pay!
Drugstores & Pharmacies
Give Duane Reade, Walgreens and CVS a chance – their beauty selections are great, and the prices you’ll pay will be far less than in the UK. I always stock up on L’Oréal make up, which is $ for £ (so about 40% cheaper) in the US, and also Essie nail polishes, which are $8.50 each (so that’s about £5, as opposed to the £12 you’ll pay at Liberty of London). This is also the best place to stock up on American candy – M&Ms in all flavours (almond, pretzel, peanut butter, birthday cake…) and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups always go down a treat in my office.
And then there are the chain stores that you will doubtless be familiar with, but are definitely worth a visit. At the following stores, you can expect to pay the same price in $ as you would in £ in the UK, so the price difference is significant:
Victoria’s Secret for underwear, sportswear, nightwear and toiletries.
Urban Outfitters for hipster fashion from a range of designers.
American Eagle for great denim (all my jeans and shorts are from here) and underwear from the Aerie line.
Lululemon for top quality sportswear. This brand is just coming across to the UK, I believe, but get it first – and cheaper – in the US.