Discount Shopping in New York City | Visitor Tips
There is something for everyone shopping for new (or used) things to wear in New York City. In this article I have targeted the top six ways to go discount shopping in New York. When I’m shopping with a client, the top remark I hear from them is how particular they are about what they wear. So keep in mind, when it comes to purchasing clothing, everyone is picky about their wardrobe and how they acquire it.
Outlet Shopping: (Read our full blog post) Arguably the most famous method for discount shopping in New York. There are many outlet malls outside of the city for all kinds of shopping. The most popular outlet mall is Woodbury Common Premium Outlets in Central Valley, NY. Woodbury Common’s boasts more than 100 stores featuring luxury name brands with a variety of bus options departing from Manhattan. In addition to Woodbury, check out additional outlet malls in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania at Outlettable.com.
Tips: Plan on spending a full day and if your going to shop a lot, consider hiring a private driver. There are several providers that offer to drive there, e.g. CitySights, who also offers a tourist shopping pass. If you are considering purchasing a New York City tourist discount pass, please keep in mind that shuttle service to Woodbury Commons is included in the Explorer Pass and a $5 discount with the New York Pass.
Sample Sales: New York City is the only city where a designer can create, select fabric, manufacture, watch over production and sell their product without leaving the island. Sample sales are the way to go for deals, even when shopping for national brands that are produced overseas. Design houses will rent different venues in Manhattan to liquidate their samples, over-runs and sometimes flawed pieces at a fraction of the retail price. With a true sample sale expect to save 65% – 90% off retail with the greater price reductions closer to the end of the sale.
Tip: It takes a while to know what to expect at these sales but after you attend a few times you’ll be in the know. No returns — be absolutely sure that you want the item. Samples are generally smaller sizes and most venues don’t allow try-ons. If you live in the area be sure to get on their email list— you will be notified of the next designer sale in their venue. Never miss another sample sale, sign up with your email at www.TheStylishCity.com and www.LazarShopping.com
Retail Sales: Sales are a fact of retail and happen up to four times a year. If you like to shop the quaint boutiques, expect them to have sales only twice a year. Small shops are more careful about purchases and production. Some continually producing small runs throughout the year and others but only twice a year. Boutiques sales are generally held pre-holiday in December as well as in January/February and again in June/July. Larger retailers have sales more often.
Tip: Macy’s department store is not only the largest store in the world, they also have a sale just about every day and advertise the bigger sales to their card holding customers. Visitors shop at 10% discount for the day when showing their passports at Macy’s visitor’s center. Remember to write your email in the shop’s guest book — it’s the surest way to know about their next retail sale and many offer the same sales items on line. Find retail sale listings at www.TheStylishCity.com.
Discount Department Stores: Century 21 is the most popular discount department store in New York City, known for its vast daily deals from shoes to sheets. T.J. Maxx and Marshalls, sister companies, stock comparable merchandise to one another and offer discounts at 30% off retail. For those willing to travel out of the way, you’ll never know what you might find at Gabay’s Outlet in the East Village specializing in high-end labels from luxury department stores such as Neiman Marcus and Bergdorf Goodman with deep discounts up to 80%. You can always ring Gabay’s before you schlep over to see what he has in store: (212) 245-3180. Discount department stores are likely the most effective way to find cheap shopping in New York City.
Designer Resale and Consignment Stores: If you’re looking for top designer labels and aren’t bothered that a garment has been previously worn, designer resale and consignment shopping is for you. You will generally save more than 50% off retail prices. There are different kinds of resale and consignment stores: Some items you will find new with tags where the shop owners curate directly from a showrooms overstock with prices immediately reduced by 65%. With others the clothing is freshly cleaned, and ready to wear. You will also find that many designer resale shops don’t require the consignees to clean the items before consigning and leave the cleaning up to you.
Tip: Know the value of the label before you buy. Some shops may mark items as little as 20% off retail and that isn’t a deep enough discount when purchasing a previously worn item. Always check your garment for flaws and ask the store clerk about the return policy.
Thrift and Second-hand Shops: If you don’t care about designer labels, this is where you will find the lowest prices. There are so many wonderful second-hand thrift shops in the city, from charity shops to independent second-hand stores. Deeper discounts will generally be found at the charity shops, as well as New York’s most incredible finds. New York has the best second-hand stores because it is a well-to-do city with New Yorkers who love donating to a good cause. You can find many better thrift and vintage shops on www.ZTrend.com
Tip: when thrifting, it is best to have no expectations — every day is different with new merchandise hitting the floor. Many items are brand new and are donated by businesses and local designers. Wear clothing that you can easily try clothing over. Clean your second-hand clothing before you wear it.
With everything being said, it is for you to decide on what type of discount shopping that suits you best. Not sure where to begin? You can always start with a two-hour day of thrift and vintage shopping through Free Tours By Foot. . Or book a 3 hour private shopping day around the shopping of your choice on ZTrend. And for those who prefer to pick up a guide to the independent businesses in New York City and walk it alone, sign up and be notified when ZTrend’s 2015 guide is released: ZTrend Shop New York’s Independent Businesses 2015 Boutiques & Artisans, An insiders’ guide to ‘fine and unique’ independent businesses, Brooklyn, Manhattan and Queens.