Mapping Out The Luxurious Shopping Steals Of The World
Who needs Black Friday or the day After Christmas Sales when the reality is that you spend half of your day waiting in long lines to pay a slightly reduced version of the retail (overpriced) tag. For many years, I’ve been creating an art form out of finding designer brands and luxury goods for a fraction of their retail price and now, I’m sharing a little of that well honed technique with you. Since we often hope to look like a million bucks, yet we only have a fraction of that in our bank accounts, here are a few of my stops around the world that help me stay on my feet while competing in the balancing act of fashion.
- Century 21 in New York City – Take it from me, a girl who’s office was next door to this place for 6 years, Century 21 has great fashion bargains. Yes, you must be patient, elbowing your way past the droves of tourists and local fashionistas who frequent this huge Lower Manhattan discount department store, but the rewards in the treasures that you’ll find and the money you’ll save are well worth it, plus, who doesn’t love a little hunt? Just a little reminder, don’t forget to visit their shoe section, which is actually in a separate store of it’s own, just next door.
- La Roca Village, Chic Outlet Shopping – Barcelona, Spain – As a part time resident of Barcelona for many years now, one of the first things I did to establish myself as a local was to know the shopping scene. Via Catalan friends, I came across La Roca, which hosts numerous designer brand outlets, Sita Murt, Burberry, Hoss Intropia, Sandro, Hugo Boss and Maje, in a lovely outdoor setting in the countryside. In the summer, it’s great to make a day out of La Roca, as they heavily incentivize the purchases by offering village wide discount cards, food and drink specials and even a sunset happy hour with complimentary drink coupons. Now, that’s my way to end a day of great shopping!
- Dubai Shopping Festival – Although Dubai is already one of the major shopping destinations of the world, and certainly the Shopaholic hub for the Middle East, they raise the bar incentivizing the spend during the month of January with their month long shopping festival. Most retailers offer discounts from 25-75% as well as gifts with purchase, while the restaurants, malls and the destination as a whole come together to offer greater big ticket prizing like Holiday giveaways, scratch and win coupons and major cash jackpots for those who purchase.
- London’s East End Vintage Boutiques – “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure,” rings loud and true in the hearts of all shoppers in London’s East End neighborhood. The East End is a haven for vintage lovers and fashionistas looking to find that one of a kind piece to add to their wardrobe. The immaculately curated vintage department store Blitz should be your first stop, then pop into Rokit and Frockney Rebel Vintage.
- Fashion Outlets of Chicago – No, Shopaholics, you don’t have to travel to NY or Paris to get your fix. Only 20 minutes from downtown Chicago, in the suburb of Rosemont are the Fashion Outlets of Chicago. Here you can find the discount department stores Barneys New York Warehouse, Nieman Marcus Last Call and Saks Fifth Avenue OFF 5th, along with a ton of other designer outlets, All Saints, Burberry, DVF, Georgio Armani, Gucci, Prada and Theory to name a few. You may even need to pass by the Samsonite outlet once you’re complete to purchase some additional luggage to carry home your goods.
- Takeya – Tokyo – Although I’ve been to Tokyo for only 48 hours, 8 of them were spent in Takeya. Between it’s 7 buildings and 42 floors of merchandise, plus taking breaks for both lunch and dinner, I was able to find that true one stop shop for every type of bargain under the sun. Most of my time was spent in the women’s fashion building, exploring Japanese and major international designer bargains, similar to the selection at Century 21, but I highly enjoyed the supermarket as well, where for less than a dollar each, I could try many rare snacks and food items that I had never found in other parts of the world.
- International Gem & Jewelry Shows – If I learned my negotiating skills at the open air markets in Cancun, Mexico as a child, I honed those skills negotiating jewelry purchases for myself, my mother and any friends whom we brought along over the years to the International Gem & Jewelry Shows. These events are the arenas for buying wholesale jewelry at for a fraction of the price you find elsewhere…even online, but the bargains are only as good as your negotiating skills, so wear your game face shopaholics!
- Designer Stocks in Paris – Yes, they may be spread out from one another, but consider your day exploring the French version of outlets a treasure hunt through Paris. Start out at Sandro, Zadig & Voltaire and Azzedine Alaia in the 4th, afterwards, head to Maje in the 6th, Chloe in the 11th and Sonia Rykiel in the 14th. Wrap up your adventure at the haven for designer shoes and handbags, Via Venise in the 16th and allow yourself to fully indulge in retail therapy.
- Designer Sample Sales in NYC – There once was a glorious website called Daily Candy that started on the premise of offering amazing daily specials so sweet that you couldn’t live without them, specifically the details on the whereabouts of the latest designer sample sales in NYC. These days, NY.Racked.com keeps you in the loop of where to head if you’re seeking some fashion steals the next time you’re in New York. December is the big month for Sample Sales, which run typically from the 1st – 21st, and you can find a huge array of designers at different levels, sportswear brands J.Crew and Madewell, ready to wear designers from Tory Burch and Alice & Olivia for the ladies and John Varvatos for the gents, then later in the month bridezillas fight for a steal at Vera Wang and Reem Acra. If you’re planning to check out the sample sales, word to the wise, make sure to wear underwear that isn’t publicly embarrassing, as the fitting rooms are often just one sectioned off group space.
- REBAJAS Countrywide Throughout Spain – Mid Jan – mid Feb & July – Viva Las Rebajas! “Long Live The Sales!” These are the jingles that are repeated throughout Spain whether entering through the doors of retailers and department stores or on the radio in the taxis. Annoying at times, yes, but these sales are so great that you’ll find yourself singing Viva Las Rebajas when you’ve returned home with a suitcase full of new clothing at a rate that is lower than any sales I’ve yet to experience elsewhere in the world. The great thing about Rebajas is that there’s something for everyone? Those on student or backpacker budgets can get a few new duds for next to nothing at H&M or Zara, the average spender can stock up on Massimo Dutti, El Ganso or Bimba y Lola (some of my favorite mid range Spanish brands) and those looking to splurge on something special without truly breaking the bank should visit Etxart & Panno, La Perla or Pedro de Hierro….elite, yes, but affordable during rebajas.