Fast and Fashionable: The Best Affordable Clothes in NYC

January 9th, 2018

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There are perhaps more clothing stores in New York City than any other city on earth. It’s a shopper's paradise. From immaculate tailors to iconic brands, there are endless ways to burn through cash while adding to your already awesome wardrobe. We all have our limits when it comes to spending big on fashion--you can’t buy everything at Barney’s and Hugo Boss after all! When you’re in need of great clothes at a reasonable price, you’ll find there are plenty of affordable and awesome stores in NYC. Here are the very best of them. Zara: Zara has been selling clothes since the 70’s, but it’s only in the past decade that they’ve truly become an affordable fashion haven. Founded in Spain by business tycoon Amancio Ortega, Zara originally went by the name Zorba in honor of the classic film. When Ortega realized that there was a bar just around the corner bearing the same name, he decided to make up a new name for his store. That’s right, Zara has no actual meaning! Today, Zara is one of the largest international fashion companies, and they’ve got eight locations on Manhattan island alone. Most of them are located along 5th Avenue at regular intervals, so you’re really never too far from great fashion. Zara’s isn’t just a fantastic clothing shop for women, they’ve also got an amazing selection for men and children. Their stores are structured around a revolutionary supply chain which ensures they’re never lacking an item. Did that cute top you saw last week vanish when you came back to nab it today? Never fear, it’s guaranteed to be back on the shelves within the week! H&M: When it comes to ‘fast fashion’ there’s no store more ubiquitous and popular than H&M. They’re so popular, in fact, that we somewhat questioned their inclusion in this blog post! But in the event that you’ve been living under a fashion rock for the past decade, we’re here to bring you up to speed. The initials H&M stand for Hennes & Mauritz. Though the store is known for modern fashion, it actually started in Sweden all the way back in 1947 where it went by the name of Hennes. Hennes wasn’t the name of one of the founders either, it actually meant Hers. At the time they sold exclusively female clothing. When they teamed up with hunting apparel retailer Mauritz Widforss, the M was added. The store became the H&M we know and love today. Hers & His, more or less. These days H&M is kind of like the Starbucks of clothing stores. It seems like every corner of the city has one. Their omnipresent nature shouldn’t discourage you from checking them out. Their ever-changing line of affordable and fashionable clothing promises that you’ll always find something new and stylish. Bloomingdale’s Outlet: The name Bloomingdale’s has long been associated with quality, style and class. And by long we mean, really long. They were one of America’s first department stores, having been founded in 1872 in an effort to corner the upscale clothing market. Their popularity has waxed and waned in the many decades since their founding, but it’s always been hard to shop there without paying a fairly pretty penny. Their flagship store still proudly stands on the corner of 59th Street and Lexington Avenue, but they’re no longer an independent business. Macy’s, (one of their major competitors) acquired them ages ago, though they’ve done a great job at keeping the Bloomingdale’s name separate. Though the east side may house their flagship, it’s the west side that gets all the goodies. Their Upper West Side Outlet store is a secret wonderland where you can get Bloomingdale’s quality clothing at much more reasonable prices. Sure, it doesn’t have the polish of a regular Bloomingdale’s, and you might have to do a lot of digging to find anything you like, but the hunt is half the fun! Check it out. Beacon’s Closet: This blog post would be woefully incomplete without the inclusion of this true NYC original. You can’t talk about affordable clothes in NYC without mentioning an establishment that is this thrifty while somehow still remaining groovy as heck. Beacon’s Closet was founded in Williamsburg by Carrie Peterson back in 1997. In those days, Carrie was looking for a way to escape the drudgery of office work and opening a thrift store seemed like an adventure. She scraped together her original inventory from other thrift stores, the back of her friends closets, and her very own wardrobe. Beacon’s Closet soon added a small record collection. Coupled with their swanky clothes and Williamsburg location, they became the hippest thrift store around. These days, Beacon’s Closet has locations spread all across Brooklyn, and now even a conveniently located Manhattan store. It’s where you’ll find the kind of weird and wonderful clothing that doesn’t exist in the major chains. They’re still attracting hordes of young bohemian types to this day, and they even have a website where they don’t capitalize any letters. They’re quirky like that.