If you’re one of the people who avoid department stores out of fear that you’ll waste more time looking for items than actually purchasing them, it’s time to stop writing them off. New York is home to many world-class stores that are great for window or actual shopping (like Barney’s and Bloomingdale’s), as well as great places for bargains (Nordstrom Rack and Neiman Marcus Last Call). You’ll also find goods that rival the best beauty supply stores and home decor stores. Think of it as the most efficient way to shop (besides online shopping sites, of course).
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Best department stores in NYC
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, Missoni scarves and Isabel Marant belts. Journey through 15 floors of runway styles from luxury brands, including women’s dresses from Balmain and Jil Sander, along with men’s Isaia tuxedos and suits, A.P.C. sweaters and Rick Owens outerwear. 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.
This high-end department store literally has everything—a brow bar, a nail art bar and even some snazzy holiday windows. Stomach the crowds for the sporadic sales. A soft Polo Ralph Lauren V-neck sweater for $50 instead of $125? Yes, please! But its big designer names such as AG, Badgley Mischka, Balmain, Cynthia Rowley, Eberjay, Fendi and more that keep shoppers strolling in.
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 men’s toiletries. Gents will love the grooming goods from the Art of Shaving, while ladies’ options include Nars makeup, Yves Saint Laurent fragrances and Bumble and Bumble hair products. Womenswear includes contemporary looks from Alice + Olivia, Helmut Lang and Theory, and men can browse styles by John Varvatos and Ted Baker. Also be sure to score big-name gender-neutral jewelry and accessories, such as watches and sunglasses from Burberry and Gucci.
For sheer breadth of stock, this shopping behemoth is hard to beat. The 10 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 looks with Kenneth Cole Reaction ties and shoes, or stay low-key with beach-ready Tommy Bahama button-down shirts. Standouts for women include feminine Betsey Johnson dresses, Jessica Simpson ballet flats and Coach crossbody bags. Stop by the beauty counter for skin care products, grooming supplies and scents for both sexes, such as Chanel perfume, Dior cosmetics and Jean Paul Gaultier cologne.
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, Pink Tartan and Lafayette 148 New York. The men’s section has a broad array of options, from office-ready Calvin Klein suits to casual Polo Ralph Lauren pants. Make sure to browse the chic cosmetics counter for loot, including Lancôme mascara, Estée Lauder skin care products, Deborah Lippmann nail lacquer and Bobbi Brown blush.
This eight-floor temple of sophistication is the place to go if you want to make a day out of designer shopping: It has in-store boutiques from the likes of Narciso Rodriguez and Jean Paul Gaultier as well as mid-priced fashions from Theory, AG Adriano Goldschmied and Vince. Once you’re done picking up some new threads, visit the beauty and fragrance department for an unparalleled selection of makeup and fragrance by the likes of Tom Ford, Bobbi Brown and Giorgio Armani.
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: There are more than 1,000 handbags, 2,000 ties, 3,000 pairs of premium jeans and 25,000 pairs of shoes. Men can find complete looks from John Varvatos, Perry Ellis or Jack Spade; ladies can pick out new looks from designers like Diane von Furstenberg and BCBGeneration.
While its Manhattan flagship won’t open until 2018, this 16,000-square-foot Brooklyn outlet of the high-end retailer is a great alternative to TJ Maxx and Nordstrom Rack: You can score discounts on dresses, accessories and other items you’d normally pay top dollar for, from designers like Helmut Lang and Stuart Weitzman. Most of the wares are for women, but don’t bypass the men’s clothing and home accessories: The stock rotates regularly, so you never know when you might find a bargain.
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, Hand Me Down rings and Ray-Ban sunglasses—more than makes up for it. Browse the beauty products to find Clark’s Botanicals skin care line, the Scent of Departure perfume and Dr. Hauschka products.
One of the most popular—and largest—department stores brims 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, Façonnable sweaters and Rachel by Rachel Roy flats. Guys can find New Balance workout pants, Kidrobot tees and Isaac Mizrahi ties. 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 stomach the crowds.
Featuring under-the-radar European brands such as Veneno en la Piel, Goldie London and Trollied Dolly, this place has exclusive garb that isn’t available anywhere else in the city. Look for ultramod garments like Miss Patina frocks mixed with edgier pieces such as Valarie blazers. Among the accessories are Rock & Royal stone necklaces and Leather Satchel Co. purses, while shoe highlights consist of Michael Antonio heels and Le Bunny Bleu sneakers. Men’s offerings are almost all by Vlov, but they includes everything from suits to coats to pants to scarves.
This super-upscale home furnishing store believes that your home is a sacred space and that you should decorate it accordingly: You can buy anything from kitchen and outdoor furniture to smaller accent items like vases, throws and candles. Even though most price tags make a true shopping trip here something to save up for, don’t let that stop you from heading there to get some Pinterest-worthy ideas for your next decorating project.