Shopping in the big apple
By Thea Easterby
Shopping for clothes in New York City is fantastic! Quite a statement considering ordinarily, I’m not much of a shopper.
After two shopping sprees in New York, I have picked up a few tips. Bear in mind, I’m not talking designer labels. Unfortunately my salary doesn’t stretch that far. Thankfully with so much variety to choose from in Manhattan, it doesn’t need to.
- Get to the stores early. Stores are best in the morning right after opening. Most don’t open until 10am (though some are earlier). Shopping around lunch time can be chaos unless you like long queues for the change room, followed by another long queue at the check out.
- Not all stores are created equal. Manhattan has a lot of store duplication. H&M have approximately ten stores and I lost count of the number of Victoria’s Secrets’. Don’t be put off as not all stores carry the same stock. The gorgeous red dress in H&M on Fifth Avenue might not be in the H&M in Midtown. Pop in and have a look to see what changes from store to store.
- Customer service is king or alternatively, non-existent. If you are used to asking a salesperson for assistance when something doesn’t fit, you could be in for a rude surprise. There may be no one available. This means leaving the change room, searching for your size, getting back into the queue and starting all over again. Instead head to a different area where the same shop may be less crowded with better customer service.
- Due to the sheer size of some of the stores, not enough staff and rummaging shoppers, some of the budget stores can get messy. If you prefer not picking clothes off the floor to try them on, move onto a more organised retailer.
- Don’t be surprised to see male shop assistants buzzing around the store and in close proximity to the change rooms.
- Don’t take a massive suitcase. Once you have filled it to the brim with your new clothes, shoes and handbags it will be difficult to manoeuvre, particularly if you are staying in a hotel without a lift. Instead take a manageable sized suitcase and buy a cheap bag there. Split the weight between the bags to avoid an excess baggage fee. More so if you are taking any internal US flights which have lower baggage allowances.
If you can easily clothes shop for hours and you get stuck with a light weight shopper like myself, consider heading out on your own and meeting up later, or factor in some shopping breaks. I’m only good for around two hours tops and then I need a time out. Unless you get me into a New York book store, then I can stay for hours …
Where is your favourite place to shop in NYC? Got any good tips?