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One of the major perks of visiting New York City has to be shopping. Especially if you’re visiting from abroad, it can be tough to buy reputable brands of good quality. This post is about a New York City-based department store that you might not have heard of that specializes in designer brands at a significant discount called Century 21 Stores. This post discusses this discount department store and some tips for visiting!
Century 21 dates back to 1961 when it was found by the Gindi family in Brooklyn. (You can visit their first store in the off the beaten path Bay Ridge area today.) The store opened up more locations, including a larger Century 21 very close to the World Trade Center (Cortland Street). The collapse of the World Trade Center damaged the building, but the owners renovated and reopened the next year.
Compared to many discount department stores in the United States that you’ll visit (e.g. Marshall’s; TJ Maxx), Century 21 is fairly well organized, often by brand and style. It still is a discount store and you have no idea what you’ll find, but I believe that it’s important to come here without being in a rush as it takes time to browse the various sections. I recommend coming here for high-quality dresses, handbags, and jeans, but you’ll find a bit of everything (including clothing for men).
The flagship store is seven stories high, so you can imagine how much you’ll be sorting through. I recently visited the nearly opened Century 21 Store in Downtown Brooklyn, which is quieter than other locations. It’s still a great place to shop as it’s not as overwhelming as the flagship. I ended up purchasing a dress from a British brand that I love for 80% off the retail price, which was a steal.
The brands are a good mix of both European and American brands, so it’s really important to know your size ahead. Although you can try things on, it takes more time if you aren’t sure of your size as some are listed in European sizes. (There’s WiFi if you need to convert your size.)
I ended up trying on a few pairs of Levi’s. You’ll find other well-known brands of American jeans here, which are considerably less expensive than at retail stores. (I saw many jeans for $20-$40 when they would retail for more than $100 new.) Styles are typically 1-2 seasons behind although I’d say prices on average are better for name-brands than other shops (without getting lucky with a sale).
Surprisingly, a lot of people still don’t know about Century 21, but I hope that you find the clothing item of your dreams while visiting! There are more than thirteen stores at this point, but I’d recommend visiting the location at 21 Dey St for the best selection!