Ask anyone who's ever been to the States for a holiday, and they'll probably all agree on one thing: the shopping there is amazing. There is just no place like the US when it comes to variety, discounts and accessibility. And while there are plenty of places that are great for shopping all across the US, we're honing in on its fashion capital, New York City! The Big Apple is the most populous city in the US and as such, you can imagine the retail offerings available.
I've had the opportunity to visit New York twice in the last 6 years, and both times I came home with far more stuff than I ever anticipated because it's really hard to say no to the deals there ? From the famous outlet malls like Woodbury Commons to the department stores like TJ Maxx, Century 21 and Nordstrom, there's so much to browse and choose from. So if you're ever planning to travel to NYC (or other parts of the US!), here are some of the top brands that are definitely cheaper to buy there than back home.
Where to shop for the best deals
From personal experience, the best and cheapest shopping deals in NYC can be found at the outlet malls. That said, there are also some stores in the city that are definitely worth stopping by and can have some good deals on branded products too. No trip to New York that involves shopping is complete without visiting some of these spots:
1.Woodbury Common Premium Outlets
Located about an hour's drive north of the city, Woodbury Common is a must-visit for shopaholics. With over 200 stores including high-end luxury brands and designer labels, this open-air complex of shops is a shopping haven. It's common to see a queue outside their Coach, Michael Kors and Prada stores because you'll often find discounts from 30 to 50% on any given day, with occasions of add-on discounts of another 10 - 20%! When I visited, it wasn't an uncommon sight to see people dragging travel luggage as they browsed around, all to fit their shopping!
Address: 651 Kapkowski Rd, Elizabeth, NJ 07201, United States
Opening hours: Open daily; 9AM-9PM (do note during winter they may open at 10AM instead, do check their website ahead of visiting)
Getting there: There are several bus routes than run to Woodbury Common. See the full list (along with other transport options) here.
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2. The Mills At Jersey Gardens
If you're looking for a closer outlet mall as an alternative to Woodbury Common, you can head over to The Mills At Jersey Gardens, which is about 30 minutes drive from the city. Managed by the same company behind Woodbury Common, you'll find many of the same stores, with the exception of some of the foreign luxury brands such as Gucci and Prada. You'll still find the popular American brands such as Coach and Michael Kors (but no Fossil!). Another advantage of The Mills at Jersey Gardens is that indoors - handy if you don't feel like braving the cold during winter!
Address: 498 Red Apple Ct, Central Valley, NY 10917, United States
Opening hours: Open daily; 9AM-9PM (do note during winter they may open at 10AM instead, do check their website ahead of visiting)
Getting there: There are bus routes and a shuttle than run to Jersey Gardens. See the full list of transport options here.
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3. T.J. Maxx
T.J. Maxx is a department store chain that is predominantly known for selling branded items at cheaper prices. They apparently source their stock from oversupplied brands and manufacturers and can thus sell them for cheaper. You'll find items ranging from clothing, bags and shoes to home decor, cosmetics, skincare, sportswear and more. The reason why T.J. Maxx is fun to visit because it's a hodge-podge of inventory ranging from high-end to everyday items, and what you find in one store can easily differ to another outlet. I've seen everything from make-up like Laura Mercier and Bare Minerals to bags from Steve Madden and Ralph Lauren to Nike and Underarmour shirts. There are many T.J. Maxx outlets dotted all about the city, so it's easy to find (though the deals and the variety will depend on the location!).
Find an outlet in New York (or the rest of the US) here.
4. Century 21
Century 21 is another chain of department stores, but it only has 13 stores, most of which are in New York as it's headquartered there! You'll find a great selection of mid-range to high-end designer bags, shoes, accessories, clothing and more. Browsing here is another fun treasure hunt, you'll find loads of bags from brands like Stella Mccartney, Nine West and Marc Jacobs, while also coming across the occasional YSL or Valentino too. Prices are usually slashed between 20 - 60%, so it's safe to say you could easily spend all your shopping budget here too ?
One of the most popular Century 21 outlets is probably the one located at Cortlandt Street in Downtown Manhattan (within the Financial District), but you can see all the outlets available here.
If you're looking for shoes, pop into DSW (Designer Shoe Warehouse), which sells shoes at discounted prices from a variety of brands, including familiar names like Converse, Vans, Skechers to Birkenstocks to brands like Steve Madden, Betsey Johnson and more. They have everything from sandals and heels to sneakers, boots and other styles, with prices from around USD30 and above. There are outlets around the city, so be sure to check them out! You can find your nearest outlet on their website.
Leather goods & bags
You can't mention shopping for branded goods in the US without mentioning Coach. This popular American brand originates from NYC and is best known for its handbags, wallets and other accessories.
The cheapest places to buy Coach bags by far are at the outlet mall locations - here, you'll often find discounts of 30-70% across most of the merchandise. The handbags (which range from shoulder bags and totes to crossbody bags and clutches) and wallets are always a popular choice but don't forget to check out items like their wristlets (small zippered pouches that come with a wrist-strap). With prices that go as cheap as USD15-25 per piece (retail price is usually USD80-100!), they make for a good souvenir for friends!
Fossil is a brand that many are already familiar with, given that it's pretty easily available in Southeast Asia. It's much-loved for its leather bags (many sporting the discreet, key-shaped tag) that are more affordable relative to other luxury brands, as well as for its watches and delicate accessories like bracelets and cuffs. But at the outlet malls in New York, prepare to be blown away by how cheap the bags can get. To give some perspective, Fossil bags here usually cost between RM600 - 1,400 or SGD200 - 600, depending on the size and style. At the outlet mall, you can often find bags from around USD80-USD200.
While visiting the Fossil outlet stores the best deals (with the widest variety) for me always seemed to be more on the bags, but the outlet stores also do carry watches and accessories, so keep an eye out for a good deal!
3. Kate Spade
Another brand originating in New York, Kate Spade is well-known for its handbags, clothing and accessories that often sport fun and quirky designs. As with Coach, at the outlet stores, you'll often see prices slashed up to 70% on the handbags and accessories like earrings, bracelets, phone case covers and more.
4. Michael Kors
Fan of Michael Kors bags and totes? Then you'll want to swing by their outlet at Woodbury Common to snag some heavily discounted merchandise! Fun fact: did you know that Michael Kors was born and raised in New York? The Michale Kors boutiques in the city will have all the latest collections available, but if it's a deal you're looking for then the outlet malls are where it's at. The Michael Kors store at Woodbury Common is pretty large and often has a queue outside during the weekends - but the wait will be worth it!
5. Marc Jacobs
Marc Jacobs specialises in women's bags, clothing and accessories, named for its designer. Marc Jacobs is a New York native who first became widely popular for his Marc by Marc Jacobs brands, before discontinuing that brand and launching the Marc Jacobs brand (does that sound confusing? ?). Anyway, not only can you find discounted Marc Jacobs purses and bags at the outlet malls, but you'll also often find the brand stocked at stores like Century 21, T.J.Maxx, Macy's and Bloomingdale's (though do note the discounted merchandise will usually be last season's or older styles).
#HHWT Tip: If you're a fan of designer perfumes (like the popular Daisy by Marc Jacobs or any other of the plethora of brands available) check out perfume stores like Perfumania for the Fragrance Outlet at the outlet malls for discounts.
To be honest, I don't think I've ever bought a pair of Levi's in Malaysia or Singapore. At RM200-400 (or SG70-150) a pop, I could never quite bring myself to spend that much on jeans! But when I visited Levi's stores in NYC (particularly the one at Woodbury Common), I often walked out with at least a couple of pairs. Prices start at around USD30 for jeans, and they'll often have deals like buy 3 pairs for USD100 or buy 2 pairs for USD69.95. So if you've ever wanted to test how a pair of 501s would fit on you, it's definitely worth stopping by the store.
6. Abercrombie & Fitch, Hollister
Do you dig the laid-back, Californian aesthetic of Abercrombie & Fitch as well as Hollister? Well, it's good to stock up on your favourite t-shirts, hoodies or jeans when you're here in NYC! Hollister is a subsidiary of A&F, which is why I've lumped them both at number 6. While personally not a go-to brand for myself, there is both an A&F as well as a Hollister store at The Mills at Jersey Gardens (with an A&F store opening early March at Woodbury Common!), so you'll definitely be able to find good deals while you're there!
7. GAP, Banana Republic
Keeping with the theme of casual wear we have Gap, whose range of basic tops, bottoms and other clothing wear have been an American staple for years. Whether you're looking for some basic essentials to have in your wardrobe, flowy button-downs, comfy pyjamas or cute casual skirts and dresses, Gap's a great place to get it. I only occasionally shop at Gap in Malaysia, but in NYC, especially at the Gap Factory (the name for their outlet mall branches), you can get items for as cheap as USD 10.
For a more upscale alternative, with pieces that tend to be a bit more put together, head to its sister-brand Banana Republic.
There aren't many American sportswear brands as iconic as Nike, and it's definitely easy to find deals on Nike products, be it shoes, clothing or athleisure when shopping in NYC. For lovers of the brand, you'll want to check out Nike NYC, the flagship Nike store in New York that will blow you away with six floors of Nike retail offerings. For those just looking for a new pair of sneakers or want a Dri-FIT top to add to your exercise wear, head to the outlet malls or the aforementioned chain department stores - you're more than likely to find a good deal on the products.
9. Under Armour
While Nike may be iconic, you can't deny Under Armour has quickly come up in the sports fashion industry as a force to be reckoned with. And if you're looking to buy their sportswear, it's definitely cheaper in NYC. Similar to Nike, you can find it at the outlet malls, departmental stores, any number of their own stores all around the city. But the Under Armour Factory House at Woodbury Common or Jersey Gardens both will usually have pretty awesome deals up to 50% (sometimes even more!) off.
10. Lululemon Athletica
Lululemon is the sort of brand that, even in the US, gets comments on how pricey it can be. Having said that, many also rave over the quality of the clothing, and even Suzana, who has tried a pair of the leggings, says that there's a marked difference. So if you're ever in NYC, other parts of the US or Canada (where the brand was founded), you'll be able to buy it at somewhat cheaper prices than what you can find at home. If you visit the stores in the city, check and see if they have a "We Made Too Much" section, where they sell excess merchandise at a discounted price. If you head to the outlet mall stores, you can probably find further discounts, though be forewarned, the variety or the discounts usually aren't as blow-your-mind amazing as the kind as you can find at other more popular stores like Coach or Fossil. That said, it'll still be cheaper than back home!
11. The North Face
Are you a lover of the outdoors? Looking for a windbreaker or a puffy jacket for when you go somewhere cold? Then you might want to pop into The North Face and see what they have. The brand originates from the opposite coast of the US in San Francisco, but that doesn't mean that you can't find good discounts on their merchandise in New York! Head to their Woodbury Common outlet - you'll often find the biggest discounts on their jackets during the warmer summer months when they're letting go of the past season's stock.
I've mentioned some of the popular American sports brands, but don't forget to check out other brands like New Balance, Puma and Adidas - I once found a pair of gorgeous Adidas Ultraboost for USD100 or around RM400+ (they usually go for around RM600)! But they didn't have my size ?All of these brands have stores at both Woodbury Common and Jersey Gardens.
California footwear brand Skechers has become a much-loved shoe amongst our readers, who often rave about how comfortable they are as a travel shoe or to do lots of walking in. And you can often buy it for much cheaper in the States, including in New York! It's also quite easy to find - you can find Skechers in stores like DWS and Century 21, or you can head over to the Skecher Factory Outlet at Woodbury Common or The Mills at Jersey Gardens. The shoes often go from as low as USD40 (depending on the model) to USD60.
If you've always wanted to invest in a pair of Timberland boots but couldn't quite commit to the price tag (typically around RM600 - 800, or SGD200 - 300), then get it in New York! Again, you can find it at DWS, or head to the outlet malls. You can often find a pair of their basic 6-inch boots from around USD110-120, though there might be special deals on select styles too. At the outlets, they often have buy 1, get 2nd pair 50% off deals, so it might be good to go with a friend who wants to buy a pair too!
Who doesn't love a good pair of Chucks? These iconic rubber-soled shoes are a favourite of teens and adults alike (our writer Ili said they're her favourite shoe to travel in!). You can't really go wrong with having a pair of these in your wardrobe, especially when you buy them for cheaper prices in New York. I once bought a pair from DWS for USD30, though keep your eyes peeled for unique designs and patterns that you wouldn't be able to find back home!
You can't mention Converse without also giving a nod to Vans. While Vans are really widely available here, you can't pass up when you find a nice pair (which usually goes for around USD50), especially since you'll like find a lot more cool prints and colours while you're there.
If you're looking for more pretty walking shoe options, keep an eye out for Keds!
16. Samsonite & American Tourister
This is a very handy brand to buy in New York, not just because it's cheaper than what you can get back home, but also because you might need an extra bag for all the shopping you do! ? Samsonite and its sister brand American Tourister are both easily available at any major department store and also at the outlet malls, so you can usually find a good deal on luggage there, depending on what size and type you're looking for. I found the soft case luggage to be the cheapest (and with the biggest deals, usually), but keep your eyes peeled for sales on the hard case luggages too.
17. Corelle and Corningware
I never understood the significance of Corelle and Corningware until I moved away from home and settled into my own house - suddenly finding great deals on a set of Corelle dining ware seemed super exciting ?Also, can I just say I've never met a mother or an aunt who wouldn't appreciate some pretty Corelle plates or a Corningware serving dish as a souvenir? It makes for delicate cargo, but it almost seems a waste not to take advantage of the discounts on these brands (which are both based in the States) when you're in NYC. You can easily find them at many retailers (including Walmart, Target, Bed Bath & Beyond and any departmental store with a home section). Not only will you find a lot more variety in terms of design, but you also have the option to buy singles (instead of sets), meaning you can buy as many or as little as you want.
I can't miss mentioning Pyrex either! Featuring oven cookware and serving dishes made from tempered glass, Pyrex products are known for their versatility (they can be microwaved, placed in the oven, etc.) and long-lasting durability. Again, the variety and price point makes it hard not to want to pick-up some Pyrex goods while you're shopping in New York. From pretty casserole dishes to their iconic measuring cups, it'll be a nice addition to your kitchen.
There are many special mentions that fall under this category, some notable ones include:
- Lodge cast iron pans - you'll find any size you want, and usually for quite cheap! Check-out any of the stores mentioned above for Corelle.
- KitchenAid - It is much cheaper to get a KitchenAid mixer in the US than it is back home, but do note there's often the problem of the voltage. Most KitchenAid mixers in the US are made for 110 volts, while for Malaysia and Singapore the units run on 220 volts. While some say that the mixers do work with a transformer (not to mention, you'll need an adaptor since American power plugs are different too!), it's not really recommended as it can result in problems like overheating or other mechanical issues. Having said that, when I was in New York, I did find a kitchen supply store that sold KitchenAid mixers that used 220V (though sadly, that store has closed down). In any case, if you want to buy KitchenAid attachments, glass bowls, or their other kitchen items, it might still be worth it!
- Target is a great place to look for pretty cookware - with brands from notable cooking celebrities like Pioneer Woman, Hearth & Hand With Magnolia (the brand by Joanna Gaines, one-half of the couple behind Fixer Upper), Rachel Ray and more, it's be a kitchen and homeware haven!
Looking for some new sunglasses? Oakley is known for its more sporty eyewear and goggles, but if you're looking for a new pair for everyday use they lifestyle sunglasses too! Offering polarized lense and its proprietary Prizm lenses that help keep glares in check, keep an eye out for a good deal at the department stores, or head to the Woodbury Common outlet - they usually have 50% off your second pair deals.
Cosmetics & make-up
20. Various brands
It's hard to narrow down on which make-up brands would be cheaper to buy in NYC, just because I think that it depends on the brand, and also the particular item that you're looking at. For example, I was once looking for a Marc Jacob eye palette to buy as a gift for a friend's birthday, and the price in the States didn't seem that much cheaper than what I could buy from Sephora at home. Furthermore, I think that when you're in NYC, you get totally hypnotised by the sheer variety of brands that you won't be able to find at home (or not easily, anyway!) - from drugstore favourites like Elf and Milani to mid-range brands like Sonia Kashuk, to beauty community favourites like Glossier. Not to forget the online beauty retail space, with brands like Colourpop and Beauty Bakerie.
I will say it's easy to find discounted branded make-up products at T.J.Maxx, Century 21, Sephora, Ulta and various other stores, so you're bound to find a good deal on lip and eye products, blush, highlight and more as you explore the city.
And there you have it! 20 brands that would be perfect for you to shop for when you're in NYC. Take advantage of the amazing deals when you're in this exciting city and happy shopping!