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Shopping in America - what bargains are to be had?

(24 Posts)
MrsMilton Thu 16-Jun-11 14:30:34

I'm off to the States for a fortnight and am in serious need of some retail therapy. Can anyone tell me what to look out for, what brands are a good deal etc. I'm up for a bit of luxury....

Alos, if anyone is familiar with Washington DC, that's where I'm going - where're the good shops? Do I have to go to a mall?

smile

gregssausageroll Thu 16-Jun-11 15:13:55

Premium make up can be cheaper, jeans like levis are and uggs if you like them. I usually just go with what I like (not particularly a named brand) because I know I am likely to be the only one wearing that item - unlike Next or M&S!

chipstick10 Thu 16-Jun-11 16:21:18

I have only been to new york when the exchange rate was fab. Obvs things like Uggs are cheaper. Abercrombie is cheaper. All of the make up and skin care is cheaper. If you like brands like kiehls, they are loads cheaper. Jo malone and british brands like Mulberry not so much. Bumble and bumble loads cheaper, Laura Mercier and Bobbi brown cheap. Mac cheap.

valiumredhead Thu 16-Jun-11 16:49:48

Take an empty holdall and you can fill it up with all your bargains! Don't forget to take off all the sales tickets for the journey home or you will get taxed.

chipstick10 Thu 16-Jun-11 17:06:19

Good point valiumredhead. I also posted my reciepts home. Pointless really coz its not like i could have taken them back for any reason but i didnt want any proof on me.

valiumredhead Thu 16-Jun-11 17:28:14

Would ripping them up and binning them not have been easier? grin

PlumSykes Thu 16-Jun-11 17:32:33

Friend just back from NY. She got some really lovely things in J Crew, which is like posh GAP there. Here the only sell on Netaporter.com, and are way more £££.

chipstick10 Thu 16-Jun-11 17:37:40

It so wouldve grin what was i thinking!!!!!!!!!

valiumredhead Thu 16-Jun-11 17:39:32

chip grin <<snort!>>

bleedingheartlefty Thu 16-Jun-11 18:20:05

In Washington DC itself, Georgetown would be the place to shop. The northwest quadrant of the city is lovely and is the bit to stay in really, the rest can be a bit rough in places.

If you want a mall, which you probably do, there is a nice one in Arlington, at Pentagon City, which is just a few miles from central DC. Gets very busy at lunchtime, time it to avoid that if you can.
Old Town Alexandria is lovely for shopping too. Both of those easily accessible by metro train. Metro is excellent.

starjules Thu 16-Jun-11 19:10:47

I went just before Christmas and was shocked how cheap some stuff was. Uggs were about half the price as was Calvin Klein. If you like high end make up then Sephora is heaven and you can find thinks a lot cheaper (urban decay, laura mercier, benefit etc)

But also the local chemists like duane reade is heaven for make up junkies its so so cheap.

If there is a Forever21 that thats a must too, the clothes can be hit or miss but the accessories are great.

Bath and body works is great too, lots of nice smellies.

The only thing I was disappointed about were Converse as they were the same price as here.

TantePiste Thu 16-Jun-11 22:17:40

OP, I live in the D.C. metro area. Will you be in the district or in the suburbs?
Do you want to shop along the metro line?

What are your shopping interests? let me know if you want to know about dining as well.

definitely think you should go to j.crew and sephora. do you have anthropologie in the uk? it is very popular here.

My SIL lives in UK and does lots of shopping for dcs and christmas when business brings her here. do you have similar plans? Target has sinfully cheap childrens' clothing, even from my perspective.

MrsMilton Fri 17-Jun-11 00:25:56

Thanks all, great tips!

bleedingheart & TantePiste I will be staying in the northwest quadrant (a block from the White House, apparently!) so will definitely check out your suggestions. I will have a buggy in tow most of the time so may just take a cab to the mall. I've never been to JCrew so am keen to have a look. And I really fancy popping into a Target - is there one near the centre?

I'd quite like to get some good jeans - where do you think would be good for that? Hudson or 7Mankind possibly.

It's all starting to sound rather appealing now!

mathanxiety Fri 17-Jun-11 05:58:13

Get huge containers of tylenol, advil or aspirin (500+), cinnamon flavoured tic tacs and other sweets, cinnamon gum (great for mouth ulcers), great variety of sunscreen in a huge range of spfs. Shop brands are even cheaper than name brands.

wideawakenurse Fri 17-Jun-11 06:18:47

J brand Jeans are excellent - and much cheaper in the US than here.

valiumredhead Fri 17-Jun-11 07:56:38

Ooooooo and BIG RED chewing gum - I LOVE that stuff!

TantePiste Fri 17-Jun-11 17:06:26

MrsMilton I gave some thought to your goals last night, and am avoiding work today:

To an extent it may depend on what the weather will be. In summer we alternate between fine weeks in the 80s to low 90s fahrenheit, and horrible weeks in the 90's up to 100+, with 100% humidity and thunderstorms, often in the late afternoon. Lots of thunderstorms.

If it is horrible, you may want to spend more time at Pentagon City which is a largely indoor mall (the associated Pentagon Row just next to it is outdoor).

Hopefully you will have many fine days. Georgetown is fun, but for priorities of shopping I would recommend Bethesda, Maryland and Friendship Heights as destinations ahead of Georgetown. Bethesda and Friendship Heights are right next to each other and both are on the metro's red line. Bethesda's shopping district particularly has many convenient, good restaurants right in with the shopping. There is also a very large Barnes & Noble bookstore there with a cafe, and -if you have small ones- the childrens section. B&N is a destination for parents of small children because of the good childrens section. Haven't been to that location in a year or so, but most B&Ns have a Thomas train play table.

There is a bus line that runs around the city to Georgetown and back, called the Circulator bus. Georgetown does not have a metro stop.

For denim probably the best destinations are (a) National Jean Co, (b) Denim Bar, and (c) Nordstrom (might be wrong about this but think Nordi's may be roughly comparable to John Lewis).

You can find the first two both in Bethesda and Pentagon City. Either Bethesda/Friendship Heights or Pentagon City/Pentagon Row have all the main shops of interest: J. Crew, Sephora, Anthropologie, National Jean, etcetera.

We also have lululemon shops here, the Vancouver yoga/dance brand. I think that their 'still pant' yoga trousers are, in addition to being very trendy workout gear, the ultimate mom gear. They can endure anything and look like new coming out of the washer, don't scream 'yoga,' and can be lived in throughout a pregnancy. Haven't done yoga since ds arrived 4 years ago, but live in lululemon. They also hem to suit, if you shop early enough - takes about a week to turn around.

The tricky bit about Target is that most locations are suburban and inconvenient to metro. You might get a taxi there, only to find it difficult to get a taxi back again. You might want to work with the hotel concierge on that question.

You might also want to look into a Whole Foods for their personal care products section. They have a lot of organic lines that might be exotic to you.

To target good dining destinations for your family, have a look at the chowhound.com message boards for Washington D.C. metro. People constantly ask where are good places to eat when visiting and get the most informed, up to the minute responses. Also see the dining guide at Washingtonian

Hope you have a great trip!

ilovemydogandMrObama Fri 17-Jun-11 17:12:38

love California Baby stuff, especially the Children's sensitive range.

Aveda stuff.

Ditto the suggestion of Tylenol, Advil etc

Cetaphil, Aveeno.

TantePiste Fri 17-Jun-11 17:14:26

Oh, almost forgot to mention that we are being swept with a nationwide fad for 'food trucks.' There area a lot of food trucks in D.C., but since I no longer work downtown, I don't keep up with all that. Since you will be right down in the thick of the office district where the trucks rove, you might want to tick the box.

bleedingheartlefty Fri 17-Jun-11 17:59:20

Yeah, Taco truck!grin

On the subject of taxis, you may have trouble getting a taxi to take you out of the district at all, so if you want to go into Maryland or over to Virginia that might be an issue. It is apparently illegal for a cab from one state to pick up a fare in another state, so they would have to go back empty. Some times ok, sometimes not. Just so you know.

MrsMilton Fri 17-Jun-11 20:22:56

Wow, thanks so much everyone, especially TantePiste - I really appreciate all that info! I have printed this page and stuck it in my diary! Seriously, thank you.

And the taco truck sounds fab, just my thing.

smile

WillPenn Fri 17-Jun-11 20:49:43

I don't think anyone here mentioned Nordstrom Rack - which is the bargain basement of Nordstrom. There is bound to be one in the DC vicinity as they are all over the country. I got some amazing jeans bargains in their LA stores where I just came back from - Paige Jeans for $70 and they also had Hudson, 7 for All Mankind, True Religion, Rock & Republic...

TantePiste Fri 17-Jun-11 21:28:13

This blog tracks the food trucks locations each day.

If you had not started the topic, I would never have happened across this food truck tracking blog. Excited!

Do they WillPenn, I will have to check out the Rack too, thanks. grin

mathanxiety Sat 18-Jun-11 02:59:58

YYY to Nordstrom Rack. They have a fab shoe section. What you see there on the shelf is what you get though. And jeans. They have men's suits too and will tailor women's and men's clothing afaik but again, shop early if you need hems taken up etc. Nordstrom Racks are usually located off the main malls.

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