Where to Find the Best Holiday Shopping in the World — and What to Pack for Each Trip
Arguably the best way to look forward to your holiday travels is to begin shopping for them. As vacation gets closer, your days at work consist of filling up your online shopping carts with vacation essentials and must-buys (Don’t worry, your boss is probably doing the same thing).
However, if you’re traveling to any of these 20 cities, voted the 20 best cities for shopping in our World’s Best Awards, there’s an added pressure to look the part.
While you’ll be doing much of your shopping while there (remember to leave room in your suitcase!) what you take with you is especially important. Fashion capitals in their own right, these cities will have you trotting through the world’s most exquisite markets, shopping malls, independent boutiques, and department stores.
We've rounded up the one item you’ll want to take with you to the shopping city of your choosing. Oh, and a parting thought? They all make for lustworthy gift ideas.
New York City, New York: Coach Varsity Jacket
The removable shearling collar with leather fringe on this iconic all-American varsity jacket by Coach is certainly an ode to the West and a symbol of team spirit. It doesn’t get more American than that. Plus, you’ll stand out in a sea of black puffer coats as you weave in and out the Upper East Side’s boutiques and extravagantly decorated department stores.
To buy: coach.com, $1,800
Tokyo, Japan: Balenciaga Sweatshirt
Streetwear was the biggest trend on Tokyo’s fall runways so you can’t go wrong with Balenciaga’s Femme Fatale sweatshirt. We recommend dressing it up by layering over leather leggings or a tartan skirt for an afternoon of wandering the local independent shops in 2k540 Aki-Oka Artisan.
To buy: net-a-porter.com, $825
Dubai, United Arab Emirates: Missoni Kaftan
This graphic yet modest Missoni dress is the only thing you’ll need whether you’re spending an afternoon in the Arabian desert or enjoying the luxury shopping and spas in this cosmopolitan city. Dubai is home to the biggest mall in the world, after all, where 1,200 stores, an ice-skating rink, art galleries, and much, much more await you.
To buy: net-a-porter.com, $4,080
Paris, France: Chloé Mary Janes
Home to the Mary Jane, Paris practically requires you to pack this classic silhouette by French brand Chloé. It’s the ideal heel height for a day of shopping and a last-hurrah visit to the beloved concept shop, Colette, before it closes its doors for good this December. Pair them with a mod mini skirt and black tights to maintain that understated Parisienne style.
To buy: net-a-porter.com, $795
Hong Kong, China: Attico Embellished Flats
Hong Kong is a major walking city. Whether you’re exploring the temples, roaming Temple Street Night Market, or walking Tsim Sha Tsui East Promenade into the evening for the famous light show, you’ll want to give your feet a break at night. Opt for a pair of fancy flats like these beaded canvas slides by Attico.
To buy: net-a-porter.com, $740
Singapore, Singapore: JW Anderson Patchwork Dress
Singapore is unique. It’s a global, urban city with a tropical climate. While you’ll want to wear lightweight, casual clothes during the day, pack one unique dress for evening as you’ll notice the locals like to dress up.
To buy: net-a-porter.com, $1,744
Florence, Italy: Salvatore Ferragamo Ballet Flats
Florence may be small, but it outranked both Milan and Rome as the seventh best shopping city this year. On your quest for the perfect perfume or artisan leather goods, Salvatore Ferragamo’s heritage Varina ballet flats will ensure all-day comfort. Not sure where to start your shopping tour? We’ve got some stellar recommendations from Salvatore’s grandson, James.
To buy: nordstrom.com, $550
Milan, Italy: Prada Crossbody Bag
For a long day of gift hunting in Milan’s Galleria Vittorio Emanuele, you’ll want to be hands-free. A tiny, structured cross-body bag from Miuccia Prada (herself, Milan-born) is the perfect solution.
To buy: net-a-porter.com, $2,400
San Miguel de Allende, Mexico: Pippa Holt Kaftan
Blend into the colors of San Miguel de Allende’s colonial city (voted by travelers as the best city in the world this year) in a vibrant kaftan by Pippa Holt. Made in Mexico, these kaftans are breathable for long, hot days spent admiring the artisan pottery, woven baskets, and embroidered clothing. Might we suggest dropping off your shopping bags back at the hotel for a quick Instagram photoshoot on the cobblestoned streets around town?
To buy: net-a-porter.com, $790
London, England: Burberry Rain Coat
London’s rain doesn’t stop the city from maintaining its position as a major fashion capital, so go prepared. Pack a stylish trench, like this transparent one by London heritage brand, Burberry. This way, you can show off your outfit through your coat without worry as you dart in and out of the vintage markets on Portobello Road.
To buy: burberry.com, $1,395
Chicago, Illinois: Versace Puffer
Chicago is known as the “Windy City” for good reason. You’ll want to pack a heavy puffer to keep you warm as you work your way down the Magnificent Mile. Fortunately, puffers and quilted downs have had a bit of a renaissance this season, so there are plenty of fashion-forward options to choose from. We like this one by Versace; it’s sleek and sporty and will keep you toasty all day. Not to mention, it’ll make for a great photo opp in the reflection of the Bean.
To buy: net-a-porter.com, $3,025
Aspen, Colorado: Alanui Cashmere Cardigan
Not everyone heads to Aspen for the slopes; the city’s walkable shops are just as alluring (and far warmer). Browsing the high-end shoes at Bloomingbird’s and designer dress selection at Distractions, you’ll fit right in draped in this luxe Alanui cardigan. It’ll easily take you from cozying up by the fire in your cabin to dinner in town, too.
To buy: net-a-porter.com, $3,245
Santa Fe, New Mexico: Nick Fouquet Straw Hat
Nick Fouquet started his line of luxury straw hats with inspiration from the American southwest. This style with warm, tribal details is the perfect accessory to bring along as you shop for Native American handicrafts (impossibly intricate turquoise jewelry, anyone?) in New Mexico’s unique pueblo-style capital.
To buy: modaoperandi.com, $650
Rome, Italy: Fendi Neoprene Sneakers
Home to the Fendi flagship store, it’s only natural to pack Fendi for your trip to Rome. These fun neoprene sneakers are the ideal travel shoe (as they’re easy to slip on and off) and will be a comfortable option during long days on foot touring the city.
To buy: net-a-porter.com, $850
Los Angeles, California: The Elder Statesman Sweater
This cozy, tie-dyed pullover from L.A.-based brand The Elder Statesman will serve you well for breezy nights in the laid-back surf capital. Don’t be afraid to stray from The Grove and Rodeo Drive as Silverlake’s Sunset Junction has some not-to-be-missed boutiques with shelves of giftworthy items, like Reform School and Clare Vivier.
To buy: net-a-porter.com, $1,665
Bangkok, Thailand: Silvia Furmanovich Earrings
Las Vegas, Nevada: Dolce & Gabbana Queen of Hearts Clutch
Everyone’s favorite casino capital is as glitzy and electric as you’d imagine, even when it comes to the shopping. Whether you’re testing your luck at the blackjack table or spending your spoils at the dazzling luxury shops on the Strip, Dolce & Gabbana’s Queen of Hearts clutch might just be your lucky charm.
To buy: bergdorfgoodman.com, $3,995
Hoi An, Vietnam: CINQUE Short Robe
This silk, fur-trimmed robe is the perfect topper for a day of shopping Hoi An’s ancient town, where custom gowns and suits are surprisingly affordable. The oriental prayer mat adorning the back is a fitting detail as you take in the history reflected in the architecture and temples throughout the city.
To buy: cinqueworld.com, $2,825
Seoul, South Korea: We11Done sweatshirt
One of the coolest fashion brands of the moment is Seoul’s very own We11Done. Be the first to buy a piece from this soon-to-be cult favorite before it makes its way to the U.S. market on Net-a-Porter this year. And make sure to bring a check-able bag for all of the cult-favorite beauty products you’ll be bringing back home.
To buy: raremarket.com, $230