How to Shop For Designer Bargains in Milan
Written by Jaillan Yehia
Can you shop ‘til you drop in the Italian fashion capital, and still come home feeling virtuous? It turns out you can thanks to the city’s amazing outlet shopping. So here’s how to shop for amazing designer bargains in Milan on a high street budget…
Think of Milan and let’s face it, high fashion is what springs to mind. With high prices to match. But it is possible to enjoy a shopping weekend in the Italian style mecca and still have change leftover to check out the sites and soak up the atmosphere that the Lombardy capital has to offer.
The secret is to hit Milan’s plethora of designer outlet stores, where you can stock up on home grown names such as Armani, Dolce & Gabbana and Versace at up to 70% off – then use the savings to treat yourself to aperitivos and legendary Milanese stuzzichini (mini appetizers), at the canalside bars come sun-down.
Milan is home to a major concentration of outlet shopping, much of it from local design houses and nearby factories, bringing the prices down to very affordable levels – combine this with the fact that Milan takes fashion super seriously and the Milanese fash pack have zero interest in previous collections, and the result is unparalleled spoils waiting for you to snap up.
You should of course make a nod to art and culture by popping into a couple of classic tourist sites in between retail therapy appointments. The third largest church in the world, the Duomo, is almost as breath-taking as half price Prada (though you’ll need covered arms and legs to get past the modesty police guarding the entrance), while Leonardo Da Vinci’s Last Supper requires booking a month in advance and therefore some real forward-planning.
The main shopping street to head for in Centro is Corso Buenos Aires; this and the streets around it make up an unofficial outlet zone. Make sure you hit DMagazine, a well-regarded and smart factory outlet where you’ll find cutting edge labels along with traditional high-end designers, and if this doesn’t leave you with full bags and an empty wallet continue on to Il Salvagente a two-storey bargain palace just a short hop away.
Even the most serious retail addict will be impressed by the outlet complexes within driving distance of Milan – choose between Serravalle and Foxtown; each have hundreds of stores in a laid back faux-village setting and will do their damnedest to have you come home singing the praises of Italian fashion.
Making the most of Milan
This is the hotel equivalent to all those designer bargains you’ll be snapping up: a modern, stylish hotel in a great location in the trendy Navigli (canal) district, just a short tram ride from the sites and shopping.
You can park out front at no extra charge, and breakfast is included, ideal to set you up for a hard day of conspicuous consumption. Book in advance online and rates start from a bargainous €59.
You’ll need a car to get to either of the two major out of town shopping outlets, but driving and parking (see above) in Milan is easier than you might imagine, so don’t be put off.
Milan also has its own public bike rental scheme called Bike Mi which starts from just €2.50 per day, although you might struggle to get all your shopping on the back of a bike, so maybe save this for sightseeing! See www.bikemi.com for details.
The area around the hotel is home to Milan’s canal bars, each vying for trade by offering a better all you can eat stuzzichini buffet than the last, making the concept of eating dinner practically redundant. The area is also home to an antiques market on the last Sunday of the month.
In the city:
DMAG has 3 locations in central Milan.
Il Salvagente is a no frills two-storey outlet store in an unprepossessing building in the centre of Milan.
Outside the city:
Serravalle Outlet – Impressive outlet village, an easy and straightforward 100km drive outside Milan, en route to Genoa.
Foxtown is a 160-store outlet located just over the border into Switzerland, 50km from Milan. The complex also offers cafés and restaurants.
For more information about Italian outlet shopping visit the website outletadvisor – it’s not much to look at but provides an exhaustive online list of outlets in Italy.
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