You may think department stores in NYC are intimidating based on the common fear that you’ll spend hours of your life cringing at scary price tags and feeling overwhelmed by all the options. Well, it’s time to stop writing them off. New York is home to world-class stores that are not only great for window shopping (especially during the Christmas window season), but offer killer bargains and sales too. 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 (aside from 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.
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.
Grab your plastic and run—don’t walk—to the Nordstrom Rack near Herald Square. The 47,000-square-foot store spans three levels and is fully stocked with super-discounted designer duds from big names such as Vince, Theory, Diane Von Furstenberg, A.L.C., 360 Cashmere and more.You’ll also find a hefty shoe department and accessories for men and women, plus lifestyle and home goods. We’re stoked for the budget-friendly fashion retailer to join the clan, especially since its slightly smaller sister store in Union Square can get pretty crowded.Additional perks for the new outpost include on-site alterations and tailoring, complimentary Wi-Fi, express mobile check-out and a chill hangout area near the spacious dressing rooms. And unlike most department stores, the space has massive windows providing sufficient natural light (important), y’know, so you don’t feel like you’re going to pass out while frantically rummaging for all those deals.
New York’s first-ever Nordstrom store (catered for men) offers a wide range of perks meant to combine a brick-and-mortar experience with the convenience of online shopping. Customers have the option to make purchases online to be picked up in the store. Digital reservations for in-store try-ons are available. And, perhaps the most important element of online shopping: You can order booze. Yes, a clubhouse bar serves cocktails at the sleek three-story outpost. While many of its competitors are downsizing their physical storefronts, Nordstrom is betting on a massive NYC expansion in the coming years (A women’s store is set to open across the street in fall 2019.) The store also carries many well-known designers including Nike, Adidas, Levi’s, Comme des Garcons and Calvin Klein. A whopping 16 tailors are available on staff for alterations, and customers can also make appointments with personal stylists if they need a little extra help picking out a look. In addition to the aforementioned bar, the store houses a coffee bar, a shoe-shining station in the basement and areas dedicated to technology and grooming. Digital screens in the suit section will let shoppers “try on” custom-made suits, and a state-of-the-art return system allows you to simply scan a barcode and drop an item in a bin: No human interaction needed.
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.
When you shop at Century 21, expect to make out like a bandit while nabbing deals on designer duds and accessories that are discounted so low, it should be criminal. Balmain sunnies for $90 instead of $390? Hell yeah, treating yourself never felt so good! During your next shopping excursion, hit the downtown Brooklyn City Point location to explore not only the largest food, shopping and entertainment hub in the borough, but to explore the goods. On a recent visit, we nabbed an on-trend Maje white and ruffled Prairie dress for $80, a Walter Baker leopard print crop top for $25 and Zara linen pants and a Members Only transparent raincoat for $40. The potential to spend but still pocket some dough doesn’t end with the incredible discounts, either. Each week, Century 21 asks you to “Show Off Your Savings” to win a $500 gift card and be featured on their Insta. Take a picture of your latest bounty, post it to the ‘Gram and tag @century21stores with #C21Finds. As you prepare to suit up for the season—and may we add that C21’s swimwear selection is ace—Century 21 is where fashionistas go to shop savvy.
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.
The reigning leader of cheap and chic megastores, H&Ms abound in New York, unloading on-trend goods at a frenetic pace. If you see it on the runways, you'll find it here just weeks later—and in-turn, you'll find affordable capsule collections from the runways' biggest stars.
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.