Shop Till You Drop – Milan

Milan has developed such a high-end reputation for everything stylish that it has become a hunting zone for budding fashionistas seeking to enhance their stalking stills so they can track down and bag those designer prizes. Whether your fashion goal is stark minimalism or decadent extravagance, once you are snuggled into a cozy Milan hotel you can find some on Hostelbookers.com and you can devise the best strategy for tackling the glitzy jungle of the latest trends and hot retro gear. Here are a few suggestions for your safari…

Shop on the Streets

Devote sunny mornings to cruising through venues like the Mercato di Via Lorenzini, a flea market that had developed into an open-air clothing extravaganza. Stalls carry everything from gently-used vintage gear to brand new fashion overstocks from top Italian designer houses. Expensive watches, hand-made Italian loafers, silk shirts and beaded evening gowns are interspersed with gaudy jewelry, cheesy knockoffs and fake relics — but half the fun is honing that instinct for what’s worthy of your consideration and what’s just junk. Expect discover something you never knew you wanted until you saw it and just had to have it…especially since it’s usually a bona fide bargain!

Shop by Label

From Armani to Versace, Milan is where the top designers showcase the best of their lines in exclusive shops devoted entirely to their label. The Montenapoleone district in the center of Milan has the densest concentration of designer boutiques, along with stylish spas and beauty shops that have beauty experts who can tweak you out with the latest cosmetic tricks. Fashion designer teams like Dolce & Gabban provide on-site tailoring and advice on accessories so your new threads look as impressive you feel.

Shop with a Tour

For a crash course in Milan shopping without the hassle of driving or parking, sign up for a tour led by a skilled guide who understands how to apply “retail therapy.” For bargain hunters, the price of the tour is easily compensated by trips to outlet malls like Serravalle. You see, as a tour member you receive even deeper discounts on the already slashed prices you’ll find on high-demand names like Calvin Klein, Nike, Bulgari and Cavalli.

Shop by Gondola

For the ultimate fashionista experience, hire a private gondola to take you on a cruise of the romantic section of Milan, enchanting Navigli. Glide up to fashionable boutiques and eateries with entrances right on the canals. Shop for handmade Italian shoes, contemplate fledging designers’ cutting-edge styles or revert to tried and true fashions at vintage stores where they will not only perform on-the-spot alterations, they will suggest appropriate accessories from their ever-changing inventory. As evening falls, your gondolier returns you and your purchases to home port while you admire the sunset reflecting on the silky waters and pass under beautifully arched bridges trimmed with sparkling lights.

Where to Drop

Eventually, even the most die-hard shopper has to call it a day, and THE place to drop when you’re all shopped out and ready to play in Milan is the B:free Cocktail Bar at Via Lecco 21. A perfect place to show off your new threads and pick up tips for future excursions, this contemporary lounge sports a hot pink décor that somehow makes everyone look good. Expect fashionable drinks and artsy nibbles for a reasonable price.