Sure, Paris is as chic as cities come but don’t rule out other fashion-forward hotspots. From hip Berlin to up-and-coming Vancouver, here are 5 stylish cities that are affordable to boot…no pun intended. 🙂
While not technically a “fashion capital,” there’s no denying that Barcelona has some serious style. If there’s ever a city to go outside your style comfort zone, Barcelona is it. From an over-the-top candy boutique to a 24/7 flower shop, this Spanish city quite literally has it all. Plus, several of our favorite beauty brands hail from Barcelona and aren’t available elsewhere.
Summer is the optimal time to snag deals but you can thrift shop any season. If vintage is your latest obsession, you’ll have a field day in Le Swing. Operating as two stores, Le Swing sells more cutting-edge styles whereas Blow specializes in all sorts of accessories like funky 80s sunglasses. Sometimes it can feel like a treasure chest, with the occasional Chanel bag or Hermès tie appearance.
Vancouver is having a major moment right now, especially when it comes to style. Thanks to a good exchange rate (sorry, Canadians!) you can upgrade your closet for a fraction of the normal price. This is especially true come sale season. For handmade arts and crafts, Granville Island is tough to top. Whether looking for First Nations art or intricately laced jewelry, this “island” does not disappoint.
Your British Columbia shopping doesn’t end there. Once an industrial factory district, Yaletown is now one of Vancouver’s trendiest neighborhoods. Shop for in-season clothing from a collection of boutiques or get your interior design wheels turning at The Cross. For well-maintained, second-hand wares and collectibles, try your luck at Twigg&Hottie on Main Street.
3) Buenos Aires
It’s not that Buenos Aires is affordable per se, but the exchange rate does work in your favor if coming from the US or Europe. If you’re more of a window shopper, you’ll get your fill of aesthetic beauty in the Recoleta. Buenos Aires’ “Paris of South America” nickname is mostly due to the architecture in this particular neighborhood. Naturally, you’ll find the most high-end shops here as well.
Like any chic city, hunting for goods is all part of the fun and BA is no exception. The stores around Plaza Serrano in Palermo are well-priced and if you strike out there, there’s always the street vendors in San Telmo along Defensa Street. Argentina is known for their high-quality leather so while it might sound pricey, buying it here is nowhere near what it would cost in the US.
4) Hong Kong
When it comes to Hong Kong, the city is full of contradictions. A taxi ride is dirt cheap while a glass of wine will set you back a good $10 US at least. For shopping, the spectrum is just as vast, which can easily work in your favor. With the exception of wine and cigarettes, most items in Hong Kong are sold tax-free, thus saving you money before even pulling out your credit card.
If its designer boutiques you want, it’s best to stick to Central on Hong Kong Island or Tsim Sha Tsui in Kowloon. To try your hand at haggling, take your pick of scenic street markets. The Ladies’ Market is a popular spot for picking up bargain-priced clothing and accessories while Temple Street Night Market is your go-to for watches, luggage and small trinkets.
Despite being a desired city to live, work and play, Berlin rents haven’t quite caught up with other Western European cities. As such, the cost of living is generally lower as well, which definitely comes in handy come shopping time. If you’re ready to splurge, head to Kurfürstendamm for designer stapes like Chanel and Prada. Otherwise, stick to a few of Berlin’s less eccentric shopping districts.
The Mitte/Prenzlauer Berg Border has several shops worth popping into, like Kwikshop that sells fairly-priced, locally-crafted clothes and thoughtful gifts. The Kreuzberg neighborhood is another must-see, and we’re not just talking about its epic street art. Shop organic clothes at Depot 2 or stock up on a handful of vintage and second hand clothes at Colours Kleidermarkt.
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