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Hey! Not-so-big spender

From labels for less in SoHo to thrifty vintage treasures in Brooklyn, here’s my two cents on savvy shopping in New York City, which I originally wrote for The Observer newspaper:

Thanks to the pound-dollar exchange rate, we’ve been flocking to US shores to hit the stores – but since many locals claim shopping in Manhattan is pricier than ever, it’s still worth arming yourself with insider tips on the wisest buys. It’s no secret that the most satisfactory shopping finds are usually the worst signposted, so while retail landmarks like Macy’s are as hard to find as a cow in a haystack, exploit the easy-to-navigate street grid and seek out best-in-class bargains. The big thing in Manhattan right now may be exclusive no-sign-outside, need-to-know-the-right-doorbell-to-ring type places, but we’re not suggesting you come over quite so elitist, just wise up as to what to find where and when. As any fashionista worth their salt knows, tracking down latest-season Louboutins on sale is not just a success for style and wallet, but a big one in the boasting bank. As for one-off thrift-shop treasures that’d give Sex and the City stylist Patricia Field a run for her money, that’s pure anecdotal gold for anyone even half-heartedly style-conscious. Cross the bridge to Brooklyn or browse the neighbourhood north of Little Italy and even if you don’t stock up on purchases, you’ll soak up what gives this city soul in the process. And when it comes to cost, nothing’s more gratifying for shopping veterans than yelping ‘Gessowmuch!’ to pals back home, safe in the knowledge their price-tag predictions won’t get anywhere close.

Advice on when to go: To find out who’s discounting when, go to Great sales on summer stock appear throughout July and August and autumn/winter wear is reduced massively for Columbus Day, the second weekend in October. On Tuesday 4 November, America will be celebrating its new president, so you’ve no excuse not to splash out on new threads for Election Day, a date that sees further price slashes. Friday after Thanksgiving, the last one in November, is perfect for one-swoop Christmas shopping – but sharpen your elbows, it’s notoriously busy.

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