From the elegant arcades of France and Italy, to the bustling shopping streets of the US and Japan, to the vibrant markets of Hong Kong and Dubai, the planet’s fashion capitals are brimming with impeccable menswear waiting to grace your shelves.
These shopping meccas offer something for everyone. The young and trendy can stock their closets with hip boutique togs and vintage treasures culled from thrift shops. Refined retail therapy is found in colossal malls and renowned department stores. Unique and inexpensive buys await in street stalls and discount outlets.
Here you’ll find eight of the finest shopping destinations the world has to offer. Be sure to bring a spare suitcase.
New York City
Saks. Bergdorf Goodman. Bloomingdale’s. Barneys. Henri Bendel. Tiffany’s. New York City is densely packed with luxury shopping legends, most famously along pricey Fifth Avenue. Downtown’s Soho neighbourhood is lined with designer boutiques and flagships, and a steady stream of off-duty models strolling the cobblestone streets. For more unique finds, hop aboard a subway bound for Brooklyn and its wealth of quirky thrift shops and flea markets. You’ll find no shortage of sartorial inspiration from the city’s eclectic street style.
London’s shopping is bold and broad, with something for any kind of patron. Oxford Street is the heart of high street fashion, while more alternative types find edgy threads in Camden Market, Brick Lane, Spitalfields, and Portobello Road. High-end shoppers head to Bond Street and Mayfair for the likes of McCartney and McQueen, as well as Rei Kawakubo’s Dover Street Market. Harrods and Harvey Nichols in Knightsbridge are musts for the elegant gent, and of course there’s the must-iest must of them all for tailoring types: Savile Row.
The wealth of luxury goods in Hong Kong is staggering. It’s been called the best Asian shopping city by the Global Shopper City Index, and thoroughly lives up to the title. Hong Kong’s long history as a hub of international trade has today made it a go-to for consumerism of all kinds, whether you’re looking for behemoth malls, trendy boutiques, high-end electronics, discount outlets, or chaotic markets. Read our full guide to Hong Kong shopping here.
No list of the world’s most famous shopping meccas would be complete without a shoutout to Paris. You could spend an entire holiday lost in the holy trinity of Parisian department stores (Au Printemps, Le Bon Marché, Galeries Lafayette), or roaming the Rue Saint Honoré and Champs-Élysées, or exploring the Marais for vintage gems. Fashionistos with designer tastes will find no shortage of places to splash out, but Paris shopping isn’t limited to the luxe. Cult concept store Colette is overflowing with trendy, tightly edited fashion and other goods that appeal to a younger, edgier clientele.
Everything’s bigger in Dubai. The notoriously glitzy city has practically redefined shopping with the Dubai Mall (the world’s largest shopping mall by area) and the Mall of the Emirates (which bills itself as the “world’s first shopping resort” and boasts an indoor ski slope). A more traditional spending experience is found in the Gold Souk, a covered market with so much glittering jewellery you may need sunglasses to make it through. Dubai is also famous for its many shopping festivals, including the annual Dubai Shopping Festival, which see massive deals sweep the city’s retail outlets to the delight of residents and visitors alike.
The world of menswear would be lost without Milan. Italy’s most fashionable city houses the flagship stores of all the country’s top designers, from Prada to Versace to Dolce & Gabbana. Shoppers with cash to burn will have no trouble spending at Quadrilatero della Moda or Quadrilatero d’Oro (the ‘Golden Triangle’), while bargain shoppers can find exceptionally stylish deals in Milan’s outlets and sales racks. Stop by the glass-roofed Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, which has been open since 1867, for one of the world’s oldest and most picturesque shopping experiences.
Hollywood’s A-list couldn’t walk the red carpet without the help of LA’s assorted sartorial offerings. Celebs and socialites (and those aspiring to be them) most famously flock to Rodeo Drive and Melrose Avenue for swanky designer stores. The Grove is the star of the Tinseltown mall scene. Those without movie star budgets pan for fashion gold at the city’s vintage shops and creative boutiques (try Venice’s Abbot Kinney Boulevard). For high street favourites like Zara and Uniqlo, take advantage of Los Angeles’ sunny weather and walk the shops of the Third St Promenade in Santa Monica.
Shopping in Tokyo is like anything else in the city: a frenetic, flourishing, mesmerising assault on the senses. A trip to Takeshita Dori in Harajuku offers a mind-boggling look at Japan’s youth culture. It’s bright and brash and won’t appeal to all shoppers, but it’s worth it for the spectacle alone. At the opposite end of the spectrum is Ometosando, often referred to as Tokyo’s Champs-Elysees, and glamorous Ginza. Akihabara is a haven for all your electronic needs and the epicentre of Tokyo’s nerd culture. As for the city’s most memorable shopping, it might be a toss up between the revered Isetan department store or the seven-floor raunch emporium M’s: Pop Life Sex Department Store.
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