Best designer discounters
Score luxe loot for less, thanks to year-round sample sales and these well-curated consignment shops.
Mon Apr 9 2012
Photograph: Caroline Voagen Nelson
RECOMMENDED: Best shops in NYC
- Critics choice
This well-kept secret stocks previous-season designer goods at a fraction of their original prices, along with inexpensive items from emerging NYC designers. Imagine getting your hands on red-soled Louboutins starting at $380 or a Stella McCartney blouse at 70 percent off, and discovering a showstopping line that none of your gal pals have, such as Marie-Lise Lachapelle's gold-dipped orchid jewelry ($180--$480). Pumps by Jimmy Choo and Brian Atwood run $280 to $420, while clothing labels like Vanessa Bruno and Tsumori Chisato go for $80 to $375. The inventory rotates every two weeks; on a recent visit, we spotted Repetto ballet flats ($180), a studded leather Rafe clutch ($88) and a sweet floral-print La Perla dress ($350). Not to be overlooked are the shop’s unique accessories, including J. Davis Studio’s house rings ($78–$90) and Cyberoptix Tie Lab’s silk-screened neckwear ($48).
- 107 Crosby St, (between E Houston and Prince Sts)
- Price band: 4/4
This multibrand showroom, known as a bellwether for design talent, opens its first retail boutique in an art gallery–lined strip of West Chelsea. Expect the unexpected from designers like Benjamin Cho, Orla Kiely, Elise Øverland, Andy & Debb and many more. Don’t settle for cookie-cutter finds from department stores—stand out in edgy pieces like Issa V-neck silk dresses ($460–$550), Diane De Merla patent leather bags (1,025) and an Erickson Beamon long pearl necklace ($700–$900).
- 601 W 27th St, (at Eleventh Ave)
- Price band: 3/4
- Critics choice
Discerning deal-hunters will be thrilled about this downtown discount store, which offers premium labels like Max Mara, Helmut Lang, Donna Karan and Ralph Lauren at up to 65 percent off. Unlike other warehouses filled with rabid tourists, the vibe here is much more intimate and civilized. Mosey around the petite space to find undamaged clothing neatly hung on racks and glass shelves sporting shoes and bags, none of which clear a grand in terms of price. High-end wares sit alongside more trendy, casual items like Three Dots tees ($50–$90), Woo dresses ($150), and Joie skirts and blouses ($68–$100). Both socialites and starving artists can find treats, whether it’s SpiritHoods faux-fur hoodies with hand-warmer pockets ($129), Theory wool pants ($185–$275) or Baby Bear Shop organic Chai Mandarin–flavored lip balms ($6). One perk you definitely won’t find at Century 21 or T.J.Maxx: A professional wardrobe stylist will offer on-site consultations.
- 246 Mott St , (between E Houston and Prince Sts)
You can save up to 75 percent at this bargain hunters' mecca: Snag Pucci dresses, Marc Jacobs sweaters and Gucci suits for a relative song. While it is divided into categories, you still have to do a bit of trolling. Go early in the morning to avoid teeming crowds and focus on the oft-overlooked sections (men's, lingerie). Dressing rooms are few and far between, but you can schlep your goods home to check the fit, which often generates a return trip and more purchases.
- Various locations, visit c21stores.com
This savvy company is like having a stylish best friend who knows when and where all the best sales are. And luckily you needn’t haul ass around town, since Clothingline hosts its markdownfests (usually 50 percent to 80 percent off) in one location, unloading goods directly from voguish labels including Helmut Lang and Theory. Check clothingline.com for specific sale dates and times.
- 261 W 36th St, second floor, (between Seventh and Eighth Aves)
- Price band: 1/4
Daffy's started off as a modest discount store in New Jersey in 1961; today it has 19 stores throughout the city. The family-run business wants to make high-end designer brands accessible to everyone. The stock varies from store to store and new merchandise comes in every week, so scoring that coveted haute loot might require a little patience, or just luck.
- Various locations, visit daffys.com
- Critics choice
Plucking surplus stock, samples and canceled orders from Seventh Avenue designers, founder Frieda Loehmann started this venerable discount emporium in 1921 in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Since then, it’s become a go-to spot for bargain hounds. Though oft crowded and cramped (the space between the racks might afflict any shopper with claustrophobia), its floors offer major markdowns on current and off-season clothes and accessories for the entire family, along with housewares. Make a beeline for the Back Room, where you can score posh European brands such as Valentino, Prada and Armani, as well as duds from top American designers.
- Various locations, visit loehmanns.com
Germophobes, you won’t have to deal with strangers’ cooties, as 60 percent of the merchandise at this resale shop is brand new. Owner Maggie Chan handpicks every piece hanging on the two color-coded racks serving up Prada, Chanel and Hermès garb ($15 and up). Fresh goods come in every week, and prices cap at around $600 and every month selected items are chopped an additional 20 to 50 percent off. However, most of the clothes are sizes small and medium because they come from samples, magazines or skinny celebs.
- 171A Mott St, (between Broome and Grand Sts)