Best Place to Shop for Bargain Designer Brands in New York City

On my last solo trip to New York City, when I was unpacking my suitcase, I realized I had forgotten to pack a small, dressy purse. Yes, even me, the expert packer, forgets something important from time to time. Because NYC is a shopper's paradise, I wasn't worried about finding a suitable clutch but I was a little concerned I would have to spend more than I wanted to purchase this forgotten trip necessity. The thought of buying another small purse, when I have oodles of them in my closet back home, was a tad annoying. 

Once I had unpacked, I headed down to the concierge desk at the  Millennium Hilton New York Downtown Hotel and shared I needed to find a store close by where I could get a nice purse at a reasonable price. Gleefully, he said I had picked the right hotel in which to stay because the fabled Century 21 designer discount department store was right next door. I was ELATED because I have in the past shopped at Century 21 and have had wonderful luck with finding great bargains on designer goods there.

Century 21: The Best Discount Designer Department Store in America

For the readers who are unfamiliar with Century 21, it is the first and still in my opinion, the BEST discount department store in America that sells designer merchandise regularly from 25% to 75% off of its retail price. American and European high-end clothing, footwear, accessories, beauty products, linens, bedding , housewares and electronics pack the 150,000 square foot shopping emporium. Locals, tourists and the even well-heeled, rich and famous shop here because the prices are so compelling.

Shoes by Oscar de la Renta, Diane von Furstenberg, Steve Madden, Stella McCartney; clothing by Prada, Eileen Fisher, DKNY, BCBC, Ivanka Trump; sunglasses by Swarovski, Salvatore Ferragamo, Gucci; scarves by Versace, Moschino are some examples of the designer merchandise found at Century 21 with its most celebrated items for sale being its wonderful selection of coveted, high-end designer purses.

Oodles of Designer Handbags

When I walked in I was immediately overwhelmed by the different styles of designer brand and non-designer handbags. Gucci, Valentino, Hermes, Longchamp, Fendi at significantly reduced prices will make even the most discerning woman's head spin. I studied all of the different bags, clutches, cross body purses, totes, classic over-the-arm models and backpacks for over an hour. I found a wonderful small, non-designer clutch with a two tassel accent feature and a removable gold chain for right under $30. It was just what I needed at the right price!

Regroup and Rethink

Being the hopeless shopaholic that I am, I decided to go back to Century 21 before I left NY if I had time because several other items, a cool, faux, patent leather backpack and two Valentino bags, had caught my eye. I refrained from buying them on the spot but I knew if these items were still there when I returned it was highly likely they would be coming home with me. All three were deeply discounted. The small, cross body, tan Valentino bag retailed for $1,250 was on sale for $245 and the large, black Valentino tote was discounted from $1,200 to $400. The trendy backpack was $40. 

To Buy or Not to Buy: That is Always the Question!

For the next two days I struggled with do I need these three new bags for my wardrobe or was I just succumbing to an impulsive buying urge. If you love to shop as I do, it's always wise to delay purchasing a big ticket item. Accordingly, I rationalized the prices were too good to pass up and that I indeed could use these three items as additions to my purse/backpack collection. Yes, I pulled out my credit card and bit the bullet. Once I got home, I was extremely happy I hadn't pass them up!

So, the next time you are in New York City and you enjoy shopping for designer brand goods at significantly discounted prices head to Century 21. There are several locations of these stores throughout the NYC area but the best one is still the original store located at the corner of Cortlandt St and Church St right across from the 911 Memorial in the heart of the Financial District. It's open seven days a week with late shopping hours on Thursdays.

A shopping tip when visiting Century 21; avoid the crowds by getting there when it opens, 8:00am, and try not to shop there during lunch time or on weekends when it is packed with highly excited, aggressive shoppers.

One last tip; if you can't get to New York City to visit Century 21, check out its super website. In researching for this blog, I logged on to its website on Black Friday and you guessed it; I did some quality holiday shopping. I purchased a pair of Betsey Johnson black heels with a trendy "eye" graphic detail, a pair of Aerosole black lace ballet flats, a Free People lilac lace sleeved, tunic top, a two piece white with gold studded trim sweater set, a black Dirty Ballerina, open back jumpsuit and a red satin, "La Pliage" small satchel by Longchamp at a total price of $245.11 for a savings of $450 to include free shipping. Now that's what I call bargain shopping!!

Enjoy the following video which gives you a good overview of what it's like to shop at Century 21, the best discount designer department store in America.


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Author: Astrid Clements

Astrid Solo Travel Advisor CEO and founder, Astrid, has spent over 40 years traveling around the world. She is passionate about embracing the world’s diverse cultures and sharing with others the global need and personal benefit of cultural literacy. Her focus is on affordable luxury travel that is both substantive and fun! To read more about her and each one of our Solo Travel Advisors, head over to the About page!