Department store shopping gets a bad rap—stores tend to be crowded and disorganized—but New York is home to some of the best department stores in the world. You can spend the whole day browsing everything from dresses and skirts, shoes for women and shoes for men, to accessories for women, accessories for men and home decor. We give you the lowdown on the best spots, including high-end shops like Lord & Taylor and Henri Bendel, as well as places to find bargain goods, such as Century 21 and Marshalls. You may be surpised to find big-name talent (Diane von Furstenberg, Paul Smith, and Elizabeth and James, to name a few) priced less than you would expect.
RECOMMENDED: Best shops in NYC
If the names Balenciaga, Comme des Garçons, Lanvin, Azzedine Alaia and Dries van Noten don’t make your wallet quiver in fear, then head for this glamorous retail giant for the most progressive, conceptual and hard-to-find labels in the city. Once through the doors of this unbearably chic mother of all department stores, you’ll be presented with an excellent selection of accessories: Givenchy jewelry ($305–$1,240), Missoni scarves ($470–$545) and Isabel Marant belts ($285–$435). Journey through 15 floors of runway styles from luxury brands, including women’s dresses from Balmain ($1,425) and Jil Sander ($470–$3,290), along with men’s Isaia tuxedos and suits ($2,995–$3,495), A.P.C. sweaters ($165) and Rick Owens outerwear ($1,770–$2,875). Ascend to heaven, also known as the shoe floor, on the fifth level. Gleefully eye hundreds of designs ($24–$4,645), including heels, pumps, boots, loafers, oxfords, sandals and sneakers. For those who haven’t depleted their cash reserves just yet, grab housewares ($9–$5,360) from the likes of Smythson and Connor Stationery on the ninth floor.Read more
Barneys’ younger, hipper sister store stocks high-fashion threads from designers such as Thom Browne, Opening Ceremony, Comme des Garçons, Helmut Lang and Vena Cava. The Soho shop only sells womenswear, including full collections from contemporary labels like T by Alexander Wang ($89–$700), Phillip Lim ($200–$1,200) and Rag & Bone ($200–$1,200). The bi-level Brooklyn location has apparel for both guys and gals. Gents should be on the lookout for A.P.C. sportswear ($200–$250) and Vince tanks ($45) and jeans ($260). 116 Wooster St between Prince and Spring Sts (212-965-9964) • 194 Atlantic Ave between Court and Henry Sts, Cobble Hill, Brooklyn (718-637-2234) • barneys.com
Ranking among the city’s top tourist attractions, Bloomies is packed with enough designer duds, accessories and beauty products to ensure you’ll leave holding many of the store’s iconic big brown bags. Make your first stop the cosmetics counter for hair- and skin-care products, fragrances, makeup tools and a men’s toiletries. Gents will love the grooming goods from the Art of Shaving ($12–$250), while ladies’ options include Nars makeup ($6–$140), Yves Saint Laurent fragrances ($55–$98) and Bumble and bumble shampoos and conditioners ($8–$37). Womenswear includes contemporary looks from Alice + Olivia ($128–$995), Helmut Lang ($90–$1,495) and Theory ($65–$1,115), and men can browse styles by John Varvatos ($90–$2,298) and Ted Baker ($35–$340). Also be sure to score big-name gender-neutral jewelry and accessories, such as watches and sunglasses from Burberry ($130–$1,795) and Gucci ($165–$11,550). 1000 Third Ave at 59th St (212-705-2000) • 504 Broadway between Broome and Spring Sts (212-729-5900) • bloomingdales.com
One of the most popular—and largest—department stores is brimming with men’s and women’s clothing, accessories, handbags, shoes and lingerie. Famous for hawking modern designer brands at up to 65 percent off, the emporium makes it easy to score marked-down merchandise such as women’s Seven7 jeans ($40), Façonnable sweaters ($50–$60) and Rachel by Rachel Roy flats ($43). Guys can find New Balance workout pants ($12), Kidrobot tees ($17) and Isaac Mizrahi ties ($13–$20). While there are locations in Brooklyn, Queens and the Upper West Side, the original Financial District spot still hawks the best brands and quantity of goods—that is, if you can battle through the tourists to the register. Visit c21stores.com for more information.
The prices may be comparable to those of other upscale stores, but the merchandise (a mix of private-label and designer handbags, jewelry and cosmetics) sets this luxury outpost apart from its competitors. Although Bendel’s doesn’t sell clothing, its extensive collection of accessories—No. 7 leather handbags ($168–$450), Hand Me Down rings ($98–$118) and Ray-Ban sunglasses ($155)—more than makes up for it. Browse the beauty products to find Clark’s Botanicals skin-care line ($72–$355), the Scent of Departure perfume ($45) and Dr. Hauschka skincare ($18–$90).Read more
Since its company-wide makeover in 2012, this once-frumpy big-box shop has become exponentially cooler. It carries everything from clothing and accessories to cosmetics and home furnishings, plus it’s adopted its high-end counterparts’ trick of placing visually enticing pop-ups throughout the store to show off its affordable designer diffusion lines, including private labels such as Pearl by Georgina Chapman of Marchesa ($50–$250), Nicole by Nicole Miller ($15–$200) and Joe Fresh ($6–$69). Men can find the similarly contemporary looks with hip brand names such as William Rast ($12–$270) and Levi’s ($8–$80), the latter showcased in a fully stocked denim bar. Reliable private labels—exclusive to JCP—are still in store, including Liz Claiborne ($9–$100) and Worthington ($11–$100) for ladies, and Izod ($6–$75) for men. But that’s not all: Every location in NYC features a fully stocked Sephora shop for all your beauty needs. There are stores in Queens, the Bronx and Staten Island, but the bi-level space inside the Manhattan Mall has the best stock—and, surprisingly, not a tourist in sight. Visit jcpenney.com for more information.
Often overlooked when compared to more glamorous department stores, this classic mainstay offers an ever-reliable selection of clothing and accessories, minus the overwhelming crowds. Ladies and gents will find curated collections from designer brands including DKNY ($12–$495), Pink Tartan ($275–$495) and Lafayette 148 New York ($178–$568). The men’s section has a broad array of options, from office-ready Calvin Klein suits ($395–$595) to casual Polo Ralph Lauren pants ($55–$185). Make sure to browse the chic cosmetics counter for loot, including Lancôme mascara ($24–$40), Estée Lauder skin-care products ($60–$260), Deborah Lippmann nail lacquer ($17–$19) and Bobbi Brown blush ($25–$50).Read more
For sheer breadth of stock, this shopping behemoth is hard to beat. The ten floors of the Herald Square flagship carry popular brands (such as Levi’s and DKNY) mixed with in-house lines (Impulse, INC International Concepts and Bar III) and exclusive designer diffusion collections (Rachel by Rachel Roy and Michael by Michael Kors). Men can dress up their work look with Kenneth Cole Reaction ties ($55) and shoes ($30–$228), or stay low-key with beach-ready Tommy Bahama button-down shirts ($110–$138). Standouts for women include feminine Betsey Johnson dresses ($99–$198), Jessica Simpson ballet flats ($50–$80) and Coach cross-body bags ($148–$458). Stop by the beauty counter for skin-care products, grooming supplies and scents for both sexes, such as Chanel perfume ($74–$205), Dior cosmetics ($20–$85) and Jean Paul Gaultier cologne ($27–$85). Visit macys.com for more information.
This big-box chain (with 18 locations in the five boroughs) houses of-the-moment fashions and a sprawling footwear selection that rivals most shoe stores, all at up to 60 percent off regular department-store prices. Its constantly rotating stock consists of current-season designer pieces and trendy no-name incarnations. Though the merchandise flies off the shelves quickly, you can expect to find staple items like jackets ($50), heels ($35), sweaters ($30) and jeans ($90–$100) from designers including 7 for All Mankind, Betsey Johnson, Theory, Free People and James Perse. We spotted Taylor shift dresses ($30), Echo leather handbags ($32–$40) and Jessica Simpson pumps ($40). Visit marshallsonline.com for more information.
This discount department store offers leftover items from Nordstrom and its online counterpart at 50 to 60 percent off retail value. Just to whet your appetite, ogle these numbers: more than 1,000 handbags, 2,000 ties, 3,000 pairs of premium jeans, 25,000 pairs of shoes and. Men can find complete looks such as a John Varvatos Star USA vest ($69), shirt ($60) and jeans ($189), along with a tie ($95), fedora ($50) and oxfords ($248). Ladies can pick out an outfit too, with a Roberto Cavalli blazer ($1,565), tank ($525), jeans ($595) and sandals ($775).Read more