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La DoubleJ
Photograph: Courtesy La DoubleJ

Where to go shopping in Milan

Shopping in Milan is about more than designer boutiques, although you'll find plenty of them as well. Spend wisely!

Written by
Michelle Schoenung
&
Laura Todd
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Milan is right up there with London and Paris when it comes to Europe’s premier shopping destinations, but this Northern Italian powerhouse does things a little differently. The Milanese love to splash the cash on looking good, and the old adage of ‘when in Rome, do as the Romans’ can probably be replicated here; when in Milan, try to look as good as the Milanese. No easy task, but effort counts.


Milan is a ‘shop til you drop’ sort of place, although you’ll be expected to pick yourself up and shop a little more. It isn’t all about the big names, visitors will find a thriving boutique and independent shopping world, and our guide to the best shopping in Milan will help uncover those spots. Much like its restaurant scene, shopping in Milan is a ‘something for everyone’ experience that ticks all the boxes.

Best shopping in Milan

Often described as the first-ever concept shop, Corso Como 10 is a Milanese institution in the truest sense. Founded by Carla Sozzani (the sister of late Vogue Italia editor Franca Sozzani), the multi-level Moscova-area shop houses a boutique, art-book store, café and gallery. Known for its impeccable curation and whimsical store design by artist Kris Ruhs, Corso Como 10 is the place to go for high fashion and top-level gifts.

This luxurious department store in Piazza del Duomo boasts ten floors dedicated to men’s and women’s clothing and accessories, beauty products and items for the home. Don’t skip out on the food hall on one of the upper levels, which offers one of the best views in town of the cathedral for which Milan is famous. La Rinascente makes for a great one-stop shop for the best of Milanese fashions.

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The Italian streetwear institution has been a pilgrimage point since opening its first location in Ferrara in 1989. Carrying hard-to-come-by independent brands and limited-edition drops from the big players, the Sempione park-adjacent location is always buzzing. If you fancy yourself a sneakerhead, check the website ahead of time to catch upcoming drops.

The location – a convent from the 18th century in Milan’s historic Cinque Vie (five streets) – may be old, but the philosophy of this colourful and eccentric boutique is forward-thinking. Fashion expert and self-proclaimed aesthete Umberta Zambeletti offers a curated selection of clothing, accessories, objects, stationery and vintage pieces from all over the world.

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5. Pupi Solari

A longtime arbiter of Milanese style and unofficial uniformer of the Milan's bourgeoisie, Pupi Solari excels in understated but ultra-chic clothing for women and children. The shop is still run day-to-day by the octogenarian owner, Pupi, who originally opened it in the '60s. Find a thoughtful curation of pared-back brands like Aspesi, Jil Sander and Massimo Alba, as well as perfectly prim clothes for kids.

Chichi Meroni, designer and proprietor of L’Arabesque, has created a world of her own in her Largo Augusto 10 flagship. The boutique carries her own designs, vintage clothing, furniture, rare books and a café. L’Arabesque ups the ante when it comes to concept stores, channelling an old-world, distinctly Milanese kind of glamour – a byproduct of Meroni’s impeccable taste.

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Frip
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Augusta B.

7. Frip

Located mere steps from the picturesque Colonne di San Lorenzo, Frip has been around for almost 25 years, dealing in “savvy, understated fashions” from the best British, French and Scandinavian brands. It appeals to those looking for longer-lasting alternatives to offerings from the fast-fashion stores quickly overtaking the city. Frip sells clothing and accessories for men and women that are destined to become wardrobe staples for years to come.

Prints are on the table at this Navigli-side shop and showroom. They’re also on the floor, walls, chairs and all the way up to the ceiling. Founded by former fashion journalist and American ex-pat JJ Martin, La DoubleJ started as a vintage e-retailer but soon blossomed into a ready-to-wear line that specialises in maximalist, colour-centric, made-in-Italy womenswear. The showroom doubles as La DoubleJ’s headquarters, so email laservice@ladoublej.com ahead of time to book an appointment. 

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Milan’s most fashionable crowd has got to clean out its closets sometime, right? And when that happens, stuff goes straight to Bivio. The only consignment shop we know of where you can find two seasons ago Marni or Prada for the price of a Zara dress, bargains await once you roll up your sleeves and dig into Bivio’s overflowing racks. Spanning three stores for both men and women on via Mora in the Ticinese district and a third in Porta Venezia, follow the shop on social media to get first dibs on the latest second-hand arrivals.

Set on an otherwise unremarkable side street just off of Naviglio Grande, Antonioli specialises in excruciatingly of-the-moment styles, describing patrons as “men and women who choose to lead the way, living their lives free from conformities.” The 400-square-metres shop was designed by local architect Vincenzo de Cotiis and is home to the more eclectic offerings from the major fashion houses, buzzy independent designers and a strong roster of streetwear.

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The heroic interiors alone are worth a trip to Antonia. Set in a stripped-back former palazzo, a mountain’s weight of lux marble and sleek contemporary furniture define the cavernous space. With a cutting-edge curation that caters to the city’s high fashion set, find everything from limited-edition Nike trainers to just-off-the-runway brands like Balenciaga, Bottega Veneta and The Row.

Cavalli e Nastri runs two funky boutiques dealing the best in vintage clothing and accessories, all presented in a fun and enticing manner. The boutique in the Brera district focuses on women’s pieces, and there is another shop on the same street near the Colonne di San Lorenzo. Each location offers a curated selection of fashions from yesterday with an eye toward today’s trends.

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A storied menswear boutique in Milan’s fashion quarter, Larusmiani is the oldest shop in the district, open since 1954. Specialising in handcrafted suits, shirts and shoes that are sought after for their exquisite detailing, Larusmiani also has an awesome ready-to-wear section and a grooming shop in the basement that sells one-of-a-kind handmade accessories for men.

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