The Well Known NYC Department Stores vs. Small Boutiques

Image: Flickr

The Well Known NYC Department Stores vs. Small Boutiques

Fashion is more than just clothing. Throughout history and around the world, it has represented the roles and functions people play in society. What you wear speaks volumes about who you are, and what is important to you. As designer and celebrity stylist Rachel Zoe observes, “Style is a way to say who you are without having to speak.”

What better place to find clothes that express your individual style than New York City? Manhattan is widely considered as being the “capital of fashion”, even topping style-setting cities such as Paris, London, and Milan. Indeed, New York City continues to set trends globally within the fashion industry.

NYC Fashion is also an economic force to be reckoned with here in America, contributing heavily to both the city’s – and the country’s – economy. In fact, New York City generates more money in the fashion retail market – $15 billion annually – than anywhere else in the country.

Shopping for fashion in Manhattan remains a unique experience for both New Yorkers and tourists. Even the rising trend of online sales in U.S. fashion merchandise has no apparent effect on NYC shops. Every day, shoppers – from New York and around the world – purchase thousands of garments and accessories from extravagant to essential, and everything in between.

The Quintessential NYC Shopping Experience


There is no one-size-fits-all NYC shopping experience to satisfy every person’s style, shopping preferences, and budget. What makes shopping in NYC so unique is the variety and quantity –in establishments, style of clothing, and selection.


What one person might consider a perfect shopping excursion in NYC – grabbing the latest trends and best deals in the city’s iconic NYC department stores – might be too mainstream and impersonal to another who might prefer to uncover that one-of-a-kind garment browsing through intimate and eclectic boutiques.


No matter which type of shopping experience you are looking for – department store or boutique – you’ll have a great deal of options available to you on the streets on New York. In fact, if you’ve never shopped in the city, you may be a bit overwhelmed and not know where to go.


This is just a minute sampling of the plethora of NYC department stores and boutiques Manhattan has to offer. Wherever you go, be sure to plan out your day to maximize your shopping time.


Century 21 Department Store

If you like big NYC department stores and even bigger crowds, Century 21 in downtown NYC might be for you. This store is chock full of clothing and accessories for both men and women – top designer brands usually discounted 65% off retail prices – along with other department store merchandise such as jewelry, cosmetics, electronics, and housewares. Be prepared to look through plenty of products to find what you want. Zagat rates Century 21 the #1 off-price store.

Image: Sprudge

Bloomingdale’s Department Store

Bloomingdale’s strives to create great customer relationships while providing a full line of upscale products – often exclusively offered to NYC patrons – of quality and uniqueness. Shop “Bloomie’s” at their flagship Upper East Side NYC location at 59th street and leave with one of their signature “little brown bags.”


Macy’s Department Store

The Macy’s at Herald Square is the largest and the most famous in the world. With eleven floors of shopping taking up an entire city block, this historic department store is a must-see. Featuring all the quality you expect from a Macy’s store along with world-renowned window displays, original wooden escalators, great eateries, and a customer service department that’s second-to-none.

Image: Pursuitist

Saks Fifth Avenue Department Store

Across from Rockefeller Center – on 5th Avenue – sits the legendary luxury department store Saks Fifth Avenue. With everything from busy cosmetic counters, to brand-name fashions and menswear, to in-store designer boutiques, to the relaxed setting of a full bridal salon, your NYC shopping experience wouldn’t be complete without a visit to Saks. Be sure to stop for a bite to eat and a cocktail at Café SFA.


Bergdorf Goodman Department Store

Also located on 5th Avenue is the former Vanderbilt mansion – now home to the elegant and stately Bergdorf Goodman. Floor after floor of luxury boutiques featuring posh dressing rooms with views of Central Park, mid-priced designer collections, fabulous shoes, handbags and accessories, John Barrett’s beauty salon, and two cafés make Bergdorf Goodman a premiere luxe shopping experience.

Image: Otte

Otte Boutique

With locations in the Upper East Side, Tribeca, the West Village and Nolita, it’s easy to get to an Otte boutique near you. Perfect for those who “crave understated luxury and modern design,” Otte prides itself on capturing the vibe of the neighborhood it’s in, and carrying both known and emerging designers along with its own signature line in must-have ready-to-wear, accessories, jewelry and footwear.


Jonathan Adler Boutique

Jonathan Adler’s flagship Soho boutique is part gallery, part furniture, and home goods store, and all parts fabulous. Adler’s vision of creating “modern American glamor” comes to fruition in each throw pillow, pot, lamp, swanky sofa, piece of art, chic chair and chachki. The entire boutique is a celebration of craftsmanship, design, style, and color. Indeed, one of their guiding principles is that “colors can’t clash”. You’ll want every piece you see.



What Goes Around Comes Around Boutique

If you want to shop where celebrity style icons such as Adele, Rihanna, and Lady Gaga go for pre-owned designer garments, What Goes Around Comes Around will delight you. It features “the finest luxury vintage” pre-owned designer styles from Chanel, Gucci, Fendi, Louis Vuitton, Balenciaga and more. This shop has a wonderful selection of vintage women swear, handbags, luggage, jewelry, accessories, and even a collection for men.

Image: Opening Ceremony

Opening Ceremony Boutique

What started out as two friends sharing their vision of art and fashion in a single store has blossomed into an international fashion enterprise. OCNY encompasses two neighboring spaces in Soho featuring womens wear from both OCNY and other designers both established and rising, a shoe “gallery” of the brand’s whimsical footwear, a bookstore, a children’s section, souvenirs, and more.


Sample The Best Of The City On A Shopping Tour

Another great way to become familiar with NYC’s diverse shopping scene is to book yourself or party on a NYC shopping tour. Sit back and learn from the experts as you are escorted on various guided shopping tours of the Garment District, wholesale designer showrooms, the chic boutiques of Soho and Nolita, and more. You can even customize your own tour, book special parties and even receive extra perks and opportunities to meet designers and receive discounts.


Look for next week’s blog, “STEP BACK IN TIME: The Beauty of NY’s Old Fashioned Storefronts”.


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