I’m a big fan of off-price stores. You know, the stores that sell designer clothes at a discounted price. A bit like factory outlets, but more like proper stores. It’s usually items from last season, and sometimes you need to look long and carefully to find the real gold, but when you’ve first developed a taste for this kind of shopping, you’ll hate paying full price for anything ever again.
The best time for off-price shopping is as early in the morning as possible. This is when the new stuff has just come in, and you can have a look around before the hordes arrive. Late in the evening it’s also less crowded, but most of the good stuff will be gone. Here are my off-price favorites on Manhattan as well as a couple in Brooklyn:
Century 21 in Financial District carries all the famous brands in their gigantic multi-level store. It might not be the cheapest place for shopping, but the store is huge and I’ve never managed to leave empty-handed. The European brands are expensive so stick to the American brands such as Tommy Hilfiger, Calvin Klein and DKNY. Their jeans section is also nice.
Sunglasses are cheap and the selection are among the best in the stores mentioned here, but it gets rather chaotic, especially during the afternoon. Also, don’t expect the sunglasses to come with the casing. In the shoes section I buy flats and sneakers. Heels and boots are usually more expensive than in Denmark.
The men’s department is very good, and if I’m in New York before Christmas, this is where I’ll buy the Christmas presents to all male family members. Don’t miss the basement floor which is where you’ll find home décor, kitchenware and suitcases. Compared to Denmark it’s ridiculously cheap, so I always make sure to make this my last stop, and I’ll buy as much, as I can carry. There’s also a Century 21 on Broadway, Upper West Side, but it isn’t as big as the one in Financial District.
Burlington is very similar to Ross, another popular American off-price chain, which for some reason doesn’t have branches in New York City. The brands might not be as fancy as in the other stores mentioned in this post, but it’s very cheap. There’s a lot of polyester on the shelves, and some of the items might look like something your mom/grandma would wear, but if you take your time and look closely, there are some real bargains to be had and the store is huge. There’s also stuff such as make-up sponges and brushes selling at very low prices.
At Nordstrom Rack you’ll find all the nice brands which you’ll find in ”real” Nordstrom, but cheaper. There’s a Nordstrom Rack on Union Square, but it’s also worth considering popping over to Fulton Street in Brooklyn, where you’ll find a Nordstrom and a T.J. Maxx under the same roof. Fulton Street is by the way a really great place to shop. Most of the high street brands are within a short walking distance, and the stores are a lot less crowded, than the ones on Manhattan. Nordstrom is more expensive than Burlington and T.J. Maxx, but the clothes are also nicer.
T.J. Maxx and Marshalls
T.J. Maxx and Marshalls are actually two different chains, but their selection of items is almost identical, so I’ve grouped them together. Some might say that T.J. Maxx caters a bit more to younger people, while Marshalls have a more conservative style, but to me the two shops are almost the same. There’s a T.J. Maxx and a Marshalls in the same building on 6th Avenue, which I’ve marked in the map below.
DSW – Designer Shoe Warehouse
The shoes in this multistory shoe heaven aren’t super cheap, but still cheaper than Dubai and Denmark. Furthermore, DSW has all the brands I’m looking for, conveniently gathered at one place. Forget about leaving empty-handed, it’s just not an option. DSW also sells bags and accessories, and if you care going through the marked-down items, you can find some real bargains.