Kate Spade New York - Soho

How to shop in New York

Nikki Parkinson Fashion 40 Comments

I came. I saw. I shopped.

I didn’t drop.

Well, I did but not till I the end of the day.

Shopping in New York was something else.

There was no time for any stand-offishness. No siree.

New York is not a city where you casually browse all day, think longingly about a pair of jeans, go back the next day, think again, mentally go through your wardrobe while in the change room and then maybe, must maybe, whip out your credit card.


Stop right there.

Shopping in New York is about seizing the shopping moment.

It requires a no holds barred, take no prisoners approach.

Anything less and you will go home empty handed. And that my friends would be a travesty because our little Aussie dollar is strong and prices – even at full retail – are SO good.

If you see something and you love it (and there’s still room on your credit card) then buy it. JUST BUY IT.

You are unlikely to to re-ride that subway or re-walk those streets because tomorrow you’ll be somewhere else. There will be new shops to explore and new bargains to be had.

Oh, and that wishlist I made back before I got on the plane?

I can highly recommend you doing the same.

Consider it a Google map to your shopping adventure.

Where to shop?

This is by no means a definitive list. If there’s one thing I learned from my time in New York City that there is never enough time*.

This is a bit of a guide to the districts where we shopped and what to expect. You’ll find a lot of the same stores in each of the areas but the shopping experience will be different.

Times Square: you need your head in the right mental space to tackle the shops around Times Square. It’s beyond crazy busy. The stores are huge. I picked up a couple of pieces for my daughter at Forever 21.

Fifth Avenue/Rockfefeller Centre: this part of town is still busy but a bit more refined. Loved the Anthropologie store in the Rockefeller Plaza.

Columbus Circle:  we visited for Wholefoods but you’ll also find Sephora, Coach, Stuart Weitzman and more.

Midtown Central:  Macy’s holds court here and the pace is definitely crazy but not at the levels of Times Square. The store is under renovation so is not looking its best but the service is good and there are bargains to be had. Mr SY picked up two Calvin Klein suits for about $180 each.

West Village:  I love street/strip shopping so walking along Bleeker Street, popping into shops and boutiques very much appealed. It’s relaxed and perfect for people watching.

Soho:  Most of the shops found midtown are in Soho too. I loved walking the streets here, soaking it all in, stopping for lunch somewhere fun.

Century 21: You need your bargain smarts about you here. This is the only place we found the service wanting but we were on a mission. A shoe mission. Mr SY sold shoes at Rebel Sports while at uni so he is very handy in working through a warehouse-like display of runners and finding the exact type that you need. Oh, and I loved how you got a docket showing how much you had “saved”.

Shopping at Century 21 saves you money

My favourite shops

These three really floated my boat. It was the combination of merchandising, service and product for sale that had me frothing and wanting more.

Victoria's Secret

Victoria’s Secret



Kate Spade New York - Soho

Kate Spade

What I bought

A stack of new bras and undies from Victoria’s Secret. I’m throwing out all from my smalls drawer when I get home. Bras were $45 each and are of quality of $90 bras in Australia.

Victoria's Secret shopping haul

Michael Kors wallet. It’s orange and lovely and was my first US purchase.

Michael Kors wallet

Michael Kors handbag (reduced from $448 to $268). It’s orange and lovely and “spoke” to me on our last night in NYC.

Michael Kors bag

Prada sunnies. I wanted a summery pair of sunnies and found these the minute I stepped into Macy’s. Expect to see me wearing them a lot.

Prada sunglasses

Anthropologie mug. I had to have one of these but didn’t like the colour of the “n” one so went for “p” for Parko.

Anthropologie mug

Anthorpologie necklace. I die. Photo to come. Scrap that. Just checked my suitcase and the necklace is broken. Insert very sad face here.

Kate Spade iPhone case. Good for selfies when I want to get a point across 😉

Kate Spade phone case

NYDJ shorts. Two pairs – white and dark denim. As comfy as the jeans, perfect for summer and half the price of retail in Australia.

Stuart Weitzman platforms. As you already know, I bought these online for my arrival.

Stuart Weitzman platforms

Pour la Victoire flats. I walked into Bloomingdales at Soho and saw that their reduced summer shoes were marked down a further 40%. Made a beeline for these. Unfortunately they carved up my feet on their first outing so will have to wait to re-try.

Pour la Victoire sandals

Michael Kors hot pink kitten heels from Century 21 (below left). I see these being worn with cropped jeans, a white tee and my new Sussan jacket.

Century 21 shoe haul

Nike runners from Century 21 (middle top). My old runners are very old. And by old I mean 10 years old. I may go out walking more now.


  • The price you see marked on an item will not be the price that shows up at the cashier. Unlike here where GST has been pre-added and included in the marked price, that’s not the case in New York. Expect to pay up to 10% more.
  • This sales tax varies from state to state and city to city. Some states, such as Pennsylvania, don’t charge tax on clothes.
  • Ask in store for upcoming sale days or special discounts for visitors (Macy’s and Bloomingdales offer 10% which pretty much negates the sales tax).
  • Check online nymag.com for notices of upcoming sales and shopping events.
  • Research online first for store location and what’s available before you step into a cab or down a subway.
  • Consider whether the store you’re shopping in ships to Australia. Anthropologie does for a flat $25, a thing to remember if you see LOTS of things you love and “need”.
  • Everyone told me to wear sensible shoes. I ignored them – of course – and have carved up feet as reward for my ignorance.
  • Service is REALLY good in retails stores. Like really good. There are staff everywhere and very willing to help you out. Ask them for help. It will cut down your time in the store and help you buy things you’ll actually wear.

On that note, I’ll leave you with a little story of that service.

In Bloomingdales, the lovely Faina in the NYDJ section, kindly informed me that “you’ll undress only once”, which was a lovely way of saying that with her help, I would not have to be in and out of the change room.

Bang. Right there she had me. I bought two, not one pairs of shorts and left with a very big New York shopping smile on my face.

I’d love to hear from you. We plan to go back to New York. What essential shopping did I miss?

*We had our shopping time in NYC condensed because our son was really sick (with croup it turns out). He couldn’t walk more than half a block and also was needing to sleep two-three hours during the day. He’s on the mend now thanks to a Friday evening visit to a walk-in medical clinic and some drugs that kicked in pretty swiftly.

Comments 40

  1. My additional MUSTS are: Woodbury Common, Barneys NY, Bergdorf Goodman, Saks, in Tribeca (Thome Brown, Issuey Miyake, Atelier NY & Rick Owens), in Soho (IF, Martin Margiela, Zero + Maria Cornejo, Brunello Cucinelli & Marc Jacobs (main line, not diffusion)), in Meatpacking (Stella, Williamson, La Perla. Balenciaga, Helmut, DVF & Jeffery (amazing dept store, not to be missed)).

  2. absolutely love reading your blog, and this NY experience is, I say, a must for anyone wanting to experience this wonderful City – I think you summed it up pretty well. 😀

  3. I really liked a bookshop called Posman. It was in Chelsea Market – which was a great place to shop for food and cookbooks and cookery related stuff, and had a huge Anthropologie there too!

    I liked Macy’s in Brooklyn – I found a perfect dress finally! I also loved American Eagle and TopShop – though TopShop seemed to have less of a range than in London.

    1. Macy’s has proved particularly good for us in every city we’ve been in – the end-of-season sales racks have offered up great bargains. Today my husband got a Ben Sherman shirt for $24 at the Beverley Center in W Hollywood!

  4. Wow Nikki all sounds soooo amazing. So glad to hear Mr 7 is better in time for Disneyland. Its bad enough having your kids sick at home, never mind in a different country (poor things). Loving your Michael Kors wallet – do they send to oz land?? Have fun on the west coast xx

  5. My experience of Macy’s was the same and my whole family went at Xmastime. Service, top priority. We stayed until 2am outfitting ourselves with shoes, boots, bags, pretty dresses, big US and European labels, obviously cheaper than here plus Xmas bargains…Ralph Lauren, Fossil, NYDJ in particular …make up, lingerie. Oh I thought I bought heaps but I would go back in a flash and spend.
    Ironically, I am not a big shopper, but that single experience and having so much choice…makes me pine.
    Another fave was 5th Ave, Sephora and Tiffanys and general window shopping along 5th Ave.
    So glad you enjoyed NYC , you son is ok and bargains are home to be enjoyed.

  6. Enjoyed reading your post. We’re off to USA in Dec-Jan and will be in NYC for a week (including New Years Eve, which will be sooooo exciting). A lovely stranger I met told me there is a store opposite the site of the World Trade Centre disaster, where everything is under $20! That one is definitely on the list to visit. Did you manage to visit Woodbury Common? I hear people take empty suitcases when they visit there.

  7. Love this post – especially Anthropologie! I had some probs online ages ago and they were super fast in responding and super lovely. Sorry to hear your necklace didn’t survive the journey.

  8. Hi Nikki – I’m loving that orange, and those sunglasses!

    I’d love to hear more about your shorts 😉 I find in summer that running round the park after a 3 year old and a 1 year old means skirts or dresses can be awkward. But shorts either seem to be too short, or hideous. Any tips or pointers would be fantastic!

    1. I hear you! I love NYDJ jeans for fit and comfort so finding knee-length shorts that offer that was gold for me. They are semi-fitted in the leg (so flattering with floaty tops) and they come to just on the knee. The most flattering length for me is just at the top of the knee so I’m going to get them taken up when I get home. Here’s a link to them in US http://www.nydj.com/skirts-shorts/l/107 – the Hannah short in white and indigo denim.

      1. Hmmmm. I’m still out on the shorts idea for summer. I love the *idea* of shorts – and I’ve checked out your link Nikki – but I’m so not sure that the reality will follow through! How “fitted” is “semi fitted”?????? And what about the *saggy knee* look….. help!

  9. Poor Flynn! I hope he has bounced back ok. ANd how good are the assistants! I loved not having to get re-dressed all the time x

      1. Oh no you don’t go stealing that title from me! Our 4yo refused everything but fries for 4 days on Lindeman last year – finally after a quick call to our Brisbane host’s GP friend and mad dash to a pharmacy with her own daughter’s unfilled prescription (how naughty was that?!) she started to mend – turns out it was strep throat – way to end a holiday! Glad your boy is on the mend – just in time for Disneyland? xx

  10. Nikki I think you did really well at “shopping”sounds like a sport in New York but you bought the right sort of things ,Lovely things you cannot get here or if you can too expensive.I love your all your purchases and they will last a long time,Enjoy the rest of your time in The US,and I’m sure your will find more to buy before you come home.Love Anthropologie they have lovely things!

  11. i’m off to san francisco and LA in a little under two months. Are the sunnies a lot cheaper? My dream item is a chanel bag and I’ve got the funds on the credit card but not sure if I should splurge THAT much ; )

  12. Ah you are a wealth of knowledge on the shopping front as per usual, I am going to check out Anthropologie online, what is their clothing’s sizing like? I have seen heaps of their clothes on PW’s site and have always lusted after them! So glad that the wee man is on the mend, nothing worse than sick kiddos to hold things up, both in time and sheer worry about them, it kinda paralyzes any good times.

    1. Oh Jodie, yes it does paralyse you … I don’t think I realised how much until he started smiling and eating again yesterday. And re sizing for clothes at Anthro … I’m sorry, I didn’t try on any clothes. Just bought accessories, candles and mugs!

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