New York with the girls!

(43 Posts)
BeginnerSAHM Mon 13-Jan-14 09:50:33


I'm shortly going to New York with some friends (hooray!!) and would love to have any tips on (1) which shops in particular to visit and (2) which brands/products are much better value there...

My 'style' is (according to House of Colour anyway wink) 'natural ingenue' - tend to wear skinny jeans, biker boots and coloured sweatshirts or pretty jumpers when 'off duty' and fairly conservative suits or dress + smart cardigan and comfy heels at work. (Due to start work again fairly soon after a year off with the children.)

So... I would like any recommendations for some brands for:

(1) smart separates for work (Theory maybe? Love a suit I have from them but don't like that it is black). Is J Crew as good as all the hype suggests? Seems v expensive to me and a lot like Banana Republic (which I will visit!);

(2) possibly a smart work handbag (budget up to £300 but would rather spend £150ish);

(3) nice 'going out' jeans to suit a (slimish but still) pear shaped bum! I may just go to GAP;

(4) shoes? Going out heels maybe

(5) any beauty products that are much cheaper in the States? Am thinking possibly dermalogica or Clinique but am hopelessly out of date on the latest brands... (Skin is a bit dry, getting wrinkly (am 38) and v pigmentation prone/affected, although I'd recently done a peel thing that helped that!)

Anyway, any help would be gratefully received. I realise my requests for suggestions are rather specific, but you S&B ladies seem to be far more knowledgable than me, so I thought it would be worth asking wink.

Will do a GAP shop for the children and finally get us a family iPad. (Might pass it off as DH's birthday present...) We've been holding off for a while!

Also, has anybody used a personal shopping service in a NY department store?

Thank you (in anticipation).


OllievanderWand Mon 13-Jan-14 10:19:31

No specific advice, only be very chatty and friendly with the shop assistants. When we were in Macys we told our assistant that we were just visiting for the weekend from England, we were over celebrating a special event and he gave us 25% off all our purchases because he 'just loves England' grin We didn't complain!

BeginnerSAHM Mon 13-Jan-14 14:44:55

Great tip...! Thank you!

DrNick Mon 13-Jan-14 14:45:53

there are loads of threads on this if you have a rootle

LaundryLegoLunch Mon 13-Jan-14 14:54:00

Be wary. Gap is no cheaper over there than here. I was in NY last summer and checked the uk website to compare.

And you often have to add on sales tax to the price on an item. Just enjoy being there but don't expect to fill cases with much cheaper clothes.

burnishedsilver Mon 13-Jan-14 15:00:18

If you bring your passport and flight info to macys customer service desk ( to prove you're a tourist) they'll give you a discount card.

sleepdodger Tue 14-Jan-14 00:08:29

Head out to jersey malls on bus for no tax and escape from wet weather if applicable,
Gap not as good as here and usually more expensive
Apple no cheaper
Clarins Clinique and Mac better value
Sales assistants on commission so v helpful
Dept stores do visitors discount usually equivalent to tax off again
Carry passport for this reason and for alcohol
Tipping is now at min20% for drinks and food it's obscene
Buy a visitors pass prior to arriving for good value museum entry etc works out cheaper
Broadway cheaper tickets from tkts booth nr times sq
Have a blast,

MissScatterbrain Tue 14-Jan-14 09:15:01

Levi jeans are much cheaper over there. The same goes for Hollister etc for teenagers.

Old Navy (part of the GAP group) is fab & great value, ideal if you are buying for fast growing DC. GAP not as good though, not sure about Banana Republic.

BeginnerSAHM Tue 14-Jan-14 09:16:09

Thank you!!

Am v excited. Rather surprised at Gap prices but I think things were a bit different last time i went there (and could shop) 10 years ago shock! Such a shame about apple... Ah well!

I think a Jersey mall trip is an excellent idea. I will propose it! And getting visitor tickets in advance.

Thanks again grin.

BeginnerSAHM Tue 14-Jan-14 09:23:11

MissScatterbrain - cross-posts but, yes, of course, Levis!! Haven't bought them since I was 16 (when they were having a 'moment' and I got a pair of 501s as a GCSE reward wink). I realise they are supposed to be really good now but haven't tried them.

And thanks for the Old Navy tip !

Lighthousekeeping Tue 14-Jan-14 09:27:09

Old Navy is fabulous. Really good quality for casual gear. I live in their lounge pants and hoodies. I've been recently. If you spent $70 you got 40% off the bill. Avoid the Time Square one though. Sephora is great for make up sets that you can't get here. Other than that I only found Clinique skin care to be cheaper beauty wise. Levi jeans are practically half price. Holister is cheaper also. Macy's is great for kids Ralph Lauren. It all had 40percent off.

Enjoy the city though. Try to be disciplined with your shopping habits or else you will spend all your time in and out of shops.

Williamsburg is great for quirky jewellery. Find out when the flea market is on.

Where are you staying? Centuary 21 on Columbus Circle is better than the main one. Got all my spanx and tights from there.

BeginnerSAHM Tue 14-Jan-14 12:19:14

Thanks lighthouse! Staying in the Gramercy area...

HoneyStepMummy Tue 14-Jan-14 16:36:56

The best TJ Maxx ever is the one on Wall St. They have very upscale and heavily discounted items, I really recommend it. It doesn't get as crowded as Century 21.
Aldo's and Century 21 are great for shoes.
Michael Kors has really nice handbags and dresses, and you can also get Michael Kors at TJ Maxx.
If you are looking for knockoffs or trinkets for teens etc. Canal Street in China Town is the way to go. Bring cash and avoid the perfume vendors like the plague.
There are trips/buses to get to the outlets in NJ. Ask the hotel desk clerk about them. Like someone else mentioned we have no sales tax in NJ on clothing purchases. If you like Coach handbags the Coach outlets have really good deals.
I think Old Navy is good for v. cheap and cheerful basics, but the quality is shoddy and the sizes are huge! It is very good for kids though.
I do recommend getting a mani-pedi, facial, massage, spray tan or blowout over here. It's very inexpensive and I book everything through
Most bars and restaurants offer Happy Hour specials during the week. I usually call up where ever I'm going and check what specials they have going on. By getting there a bit earlier you can save quite a bit!
Look for coupons online and ask at the hotel too. Some stores (for example Victoria's Secret) have a survey invite at the bottom on their receipts. If you complete the survey you get a discount code. I bought a $50 gift cerficate, completed the survey, then went back into the store and got $10 off my $50 purchase.
How you have a great trip!!

MrsDavidBowie Tue 14-Jan-14 16:39:42

Give David a wave from me! envy

BeginnerSAHM Tue 14-Jan-14 17:16:39

Wow!! Thanks Honeystepmummy....! Fab tips!

Lighthousekeeping Tue 14-Jan-14 17:20:05

Victorias secrets not what it used to be. I got all my underwear from centuary 21. We love Old Navy the quality is fab compared to the thin cotton we get hear. It's not high fashion but it's fab for casual stuff.

Go to Gramercy Tavern. I'm so jealous. Roll on 2015!

envy Go to the Campbell Apartment. Old NY glamour

Cherrypie32 Tue 14-Jan-14 17:38:58

I'm going with hubby in March so find this info useful also. Sadly the exchange rate a few years ago was what made shopping in the States a must, in the data when you got 2 dollars to the pound there were lots of bargains to be had. I plan on buying Levi Curve jeans and possibly new Converse or Ash trainers but these are same price in dollars as pounds so I will only save a few quid. Shopping in NY is only half the fun, being there, eating there, sightseeing there etc is just fab!

Great thread. I'm going in May wth my sisters for my 50th.

Have been before and love it.

We did find Apple a bit cheaper. And a friend got some great bargains in Gap. I think you can be lucky or unlucky - like anywhere really.

HoneyStepMummy - I love Target. There isn't one in Manhattan I don't think. Any recommendations for one? Pref a SuperTarget.

Lighthousekeeping Tue 14-Jan-14 18:01:38

There's one in Harlem and one in Brooklyn. I'm not sure they are supersize ones.

Honestly I spent hours with my friend looking at Apple stuff and in the Gap. I was practically in tears. It's really not worth your while using up you baggage allowance and precious hours shopping for stuff that's only going to save you afew quid. I bought Burts Bees there and when I got home it was cheaper in a Boots! Honestly it's such a vibrant exciting place I would spend a day shopping and that would be it.

Do go to Brooklyn flea though and also pizza at it's yummy and the views fantastic.

BeginnerSAHM Tue 14-Jan-14 18:04:06

Don't worry, we won't just be shopping wink! We've planned a visit to the opera, booked a couple of dinners out (complete with cocktails to start, of course) and I will definitely be going to the MoMA again (with or without my fellow companions)! Thank you for all the tips though - I am avidly compiling a list of what to do. Soooo excited now!! grin

BeginnerSAHM Tue 14-Jan-14 18:05:50

On the off chance, anybody know if I can buy small back bras there?? Suspect things might be better here as Bloomingdales, Barneys etc don't seem to sell any 28 back bras. (Guessing I am a 28D - currently wear 30C but band too big...)

Lighthousekeeping Tue 14-Jan-14 18:07:46

Try and go to The Frick Collection. I wished I'd broke away from the group now and had a day to myself. Next time!

BeginnerSAHM Tue 14-Jan-14 18:14:51

The Frick Collection is now top of my list (after a quick web browse).... Looks brilliant. Shame we'll miss the Rembrandt. Thank you!!

Lighthousekeeping Tue 14-Jan-14 18:27:33

Brilliant views from here

Try and go to the Highline and potter around Chelsea.

bunnymother Tue 14-Jan-14 18:33:11

Highlights from when we went included cocktails at the bout house in Central Park, oysters at the oyster bar in Grand Central Station, drinks at a roof top bar - stunning skyline views, but might be too cold. Also, Moby was permanently DJing somewhere in Chelsea, I think it was. Well, he was amazing, and his music was nothing like his album music.

For places to eat and drink, have a look at the places they used in Sex and the City - think you can't go wrong w those locations.

Lighthousekeeping Tue 14-Jan-14 18:43:21

Don't do the SATC tour you can do it yourself. Go to the Magnolia Bakery but don't but there. Down that street you will find Marc Jacobs and other high end boutiques. It's a lovely area and the real SJP lives around the corner. Loads of A Listers live in that area. We went for a drink in here and just walked down. I loved that area. Bleaker street is great for normal bars if you don't just want cocktails. The Red Lion has good live music. I stayed in Chelsea and wouldn't stay anywhere else now. You really felt like a local.

Lighthousekeeping Tue 14-Jan-14 18:43:54

Don't eat there not but!

HoneyStepMummy Tue 14-Jan-14 19:21:33

There's a Target in Brooklyn and Jersey City. If you go to Jersey City you won't have to pay clothing tax and you can go check out the Cake Boss' bakery. I mostly go to Target for dog food (!) but they have some brilliant designs very cheaply. If you go to the Target website you can download their instore coupons. Lot's of times they have a % off coupon for clothes which can really add up.
There's lots of overpriced tat in the stores around Times Square. Avoid avoid avoid. If you want to do a cheap breakfast go to Dunkin' Donuts. Really good coffee. Butterfield 8 has a good Happy Hour and great food.
Hopefully I don't sound really cheap...this post is turning into how to save money in NY...

HoneyStepMummy Tue 14-Jan-14 19:26:24

And I forgot to add...bras...I don't recommend buying them in the US. It's almost impossible to buy small back bras over here. They still use the old fashioned sizing system too. The only place I can find small back large cup bras is Victoria's Secret. I would waste your time buying bras here, plus they're expensive. That being said VS is a really nice shopping experience.

Lighthousekeeping Tue 14-Jan-14 20:29:42

I found the quality not as good as it used to be and the designs just too sexy. Showing my age!

BeginnerSAHM Tue 14-Jan-14 20:57:12

Sadly, they don't even do a 30 back, let alone a 28.... Ah well!

mathanxiety Tue 14-Jan-14 21:21:15

VS bras are poor quality and I agree about Old Navy jeans quality -- they lose their shape fast.

Lighthousekeeping Tue 14-Jan-14 22:05:11

I don't think anyone recommended jeans from old navy just their casual knocking around stuff. Levi's curve are great but I thought the cut was different somehow this year.

I like the homeware stuff in Target. I'm a bit odd that way!

I have just remembered though that when I went before we were living in Budapest where the shopping was limited so Gap was great whatever the price! My friend did get some bargains on the sale rail though.

I'm not Gap size unfortunately. Hoping to be when I go though. I love Macys as their Plus size section is huge. Hoping not to have to use it this time!

mathanxiety Wed 15-Jan-14 03:25:46

I think I was referring to 'cheap and cheerful basics' when I commented that I agreed about Old Navy quality for adult jeans -- though I admit I would lump jeans in with 'basics'.

BeginnerSAHM Wed 15-Jan-14 11:59:16

Well, maybe an Old Navy visit for the children's clothes then.

Anybody have views on J crew? Prices seem v high for what it is. Although it's the same price in dollars as it is in pounds over here so worth getting there IF it's not overpriced in the first place....

Moggy72 Wed 15-Jan-14 12:21:33

Hi there - a more tips from me (lived in New York for 8 years).

Best brands that are cheaper: seven jeans, DVF, Tory burch, juicy.

All available at Bloomingdales. Go to the visitors desk on arrival and get additional 10 per cent discount card. Am not a Macys fan.

Am not a fan of j crew -quite plain stuff and not that cheap

Best local boutiques for skinny jeans and cute dresses and tops : big drop, Searle and scoop.
They all have a few locations around the city but if you go to 75th and third avenue all three shops are right next yo each other.

For cheap designer bargains take bus out to Woodbury commons but will be a whole day out of your trip.

Have fun !!

knowler Wed 15-Jan-14 14:01:38

So jealous! only been to NYC once, but loved it. We were there for a week and spent a good half day (actually, more like a day) in Macys stocking up on mainly work clothes.

my work wardrobe sounds a lot like yours and i bought some brilliant dresses which 4+ years on still look great. One was Calvin Klein and this brand along with other US brands did seem significantly cheaper than here. Can't remember the other dress brands, but there was a massive choice of stuff which was just slightly different from the run of the mill workwear you tend to get in dept stores here.

if i went again i'd try on a few DVF dresses as i think these are cheaper and also last for yonks.

have a great trip smile

WillPenn Wed 15-Jan-14 16:19:36

I would also pay a visit to Nordstrom Rack (one on Union Square I think?). It is the upscale department store Nordstrom's bargain basement store. They do vary according to location but I have got some great deals there especially on expensive jeans - Paige/7FAM for $70. Also often have some tory Burch, Theory, Vince if you are lucky.

The Uniqlo "world" flagship store on 5th Ave is also great - prices a little lower than in the UK.

Lighthousekeeping Wed 15-Jan-14 17:38:03

Honestly, I've just got back. I hate to bang on about old navy but the basics for adults are fab. Mine was in Chelsea a very upmarket area that was let's say , male dominated. Believe me those blokes were lining up for the Old Navy basic long sleeved vests in all colours. My brother said they are brilliantly warm in this weather. I never bought one thing from the kids dept, saved that for American Eagle, Holister, Ralph Lauren and ck underwear from Bloomingdales (which is miles cheaper)

I liked the Union Square area, some great places to eat. Don't forget Five Guys burgers!

Lighthousekeeping Wed 15-Jan-14 17:42:53

Oh, and just to warn you. They've stopped selling Clinique at the airports but the do sell OPI $8 each.

mathanxiety Thu 16-Jan-14 04:29:11

You can find OP and Essie nail polish at most drugstores for about that price though you will pay tax on top of the price so your total will come in probably just under $10. Duane Reade has a good selection, same goes for Rite Aid. Ditto Walgreens, but they only have about three locations.

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