Shopping in Milan is a must. I get asked all the time for advice for where to shop…while Zara, H&M and other usual suspects line the streets, they’re not authentically Milan stores. Any guide of the city will tell you about the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, Corso Buenos Aires, The Golden Rectangle, La Rinascente and Corso Vittorio Emanuele II. These are great for shopping and they’re all in your face, but as you may already be aware, Milan is a hidden city, so the most “Milanese” shops aren’t as quick to reveal themselves as the others where you can’t find at home.
So, here, in no particular order, are 16 stores worth checking out to take car of all your shopping in Milan needs. Some are so central they’re right under your nose, while others you have to scratch just a bit beneath the surface to find. I’ll keep updating this as I learn of more.
- Wait and See: This is one of the coolest places for shopping in Milan. Located in the 5 Vie quarter, the building is a former 18th-century convent and onsite, you’ll find women’s clothing from designers all over the world at different price points. Plenty of curiousities. Café on site. (Via Santa Marta 14; +39 02 72080195; closed Sunday)
- 10 Corso Como: You can read more about this mega store of sorts here, but even if you’re not planning to splurge, you must see this place. There might even be a photography exhibit on display which is free! (Corso Como, 10; 02 2900 2674; open daily)
- D Magazine Outlet: With a surprisingly central location for an outlet, you’d be remiss if you didn’t drop in to see if you can score a bargain as it’s located right smack on Milan’s Golden Rectangle. So among the brand name stores like Prada, Dolce&Gabbana, Fendi and more, there’s a chance you might find one of their garments for a fraction of the price. (Via Manzoni, 44; +39 02 3651 4365; Open daily)
- Rossana Orlandi: An absolute must, if only just to see it! It has so many things happening under one roof: design store, gallery and cafe. Objects and furntiture from designers like Jacopo Foggini, Fernando Mastrangelo, Emanuela Crotti and more. (Via Matteo Bandello 14/16; +39 024674471; closed Sunday)
- Antionioli: This edgy concept store founded by Claudio Antionioli sells garment sfrom edgy, daring designers like Rick Owens, Balmain, Raf Simons, Givency and more. The stunning space is located in the Navigli district. (Via Pasquale Paoli, 1; + 39 02 3656 6494; closed Sunday)
- Made in the Shade: Located in a former butcher shop, Made in the Shade’s dangling fixtures recall the space’s past incarnation. You’ll find clothing and accessories mostly from B’Sbee and Local Apparel (Ripa di Porta Ticinese, 53; + 39 02 58118785closed Monday).
- Excelsior Milano: You can easily spend hours in this multi-floor megastore located in the sidestreets behind Piazza del Duomo. There’s a food market below street level, and then you work your way up to find everything from clothing to shoes to blinged out iPhone cases. Desingers include: Dries van Noten, Christian Louboutin, Balmain, Givency, Proenza Schouler, Philip Lim, Manolo Blahnik and more. There is also a Tiffany&Co boutique inside. (Galleria del Corso, 4; + 39 02 7630 7301; open daily)
- Il Salvagente: Very famous among locals. Many earnest shoppers come to Milan in search of discount designer garb and you’ll find tons of it here at prices so low, they seem criminal. Beloved by locals, this is the “place” where you likely to make some good finds. You just need a little patience. (Via Fratelli Bronzetti, 16; +39 02 7611 0328; Open 7 days, but closed Monday morning)
- The Brian and Barry Building: In a similar style to the aforementioned Excelsior store, this mega-store spans several floors on which you’ll find mostly Italian brands, but with other designers thrown in for good measure. Just the experience alone feels like a museum. There are also good eats to be found including a small Eataly outpost and Asola, the rooftop restaurant from chef Matteo Torretta. (Via Durini, 28; + 39 02 7600 5582 open daily)
- Dictionary: This charming boutique has trendy streetwear brands like Maison Kitsunè, Libertine Libertine , Levi’s and more. (Corso di Porta Ticinese, 46; +39.02.8358212; Open daily, but not Sunday and Monday mornings.)
- Frip: Frip has been standing beside the Colonne di San Lorenzo since 1994 and today is still the place to find edgy brands like Pleasure Principal, Bernard Wilhelm, ACNE and more.(Corso di Porta Ticenese, 18; +39 02 832 1360; closed Sunday)
- Biffi: Opened in 1970, Biffi features a mix of both big name brands and emerging designers, including Hogan, Lanvin, Marc Jacobs, Naco Paris, Kenzo, Valentino, J Brand, Pucci, Fendi and more. (Corso Genova, 6; +39 02 83116052; closed Sunday
- Laboratorio Paravicini: I dream of owning amazing plateware (one day!) and when, I do, it will be from here. Everything is hand-crafted and they can pretty much customize any design you want from scratch. It’s truly one of the most special places in Milan. (Via Nerino 8; +39 02 72021006 ; Closed Saturday and Sunday, weekday afternoons are by appointment only)
- Funky Table: One of my favorite places in Milan, hands down. I go here and want to buy everything! Amazing ceramics and tableware from all over the world: Italy, Africa, China, UK and more. (Via Santa Marta, 19; + 39 02 3674 8619; Closed all day Sunday and Monday morning).
- High-Tech: This is the ulitmate Variety shop, even more so than Tiger. Come here for Italian kitchen ware; items from Asia, Europe and the rest of the world; furnitire, clothing, accessories, toilteries It’s all here. Enjoy! (Piazza XXV Aprile, 12; +39 026241101; open 7 days but closed Monday morning)
- Calzedonia: Now, I know this concept isn’t exactly Milanese as they are all over Italy (and France, London and more!), but Calzedonia deserves a mention because there’s no place quite like it for tights! Solids in every color plus lots of amazing black patterns, lace and fishnet choices. You’ll also find leggings and work out gear, as well as bikinis in the summer.
cover photo: Hannah Morgan