Let’s Get Ready to Rummage: NYC’s Style Stores


Sara Azoulay/The Observer

Walking into the store, I immediately notice the huge red signs reading SALE! everywhere and feel a tingle of excitement. I can always count on H&M for the delicious sales and great bargains. Buy a blazer 50 percent off? Don’t mind if I do.

Coming off a retail high in H&M, I head over to Forever 21. Although it lacks the bright red sale signs, there is never a shortage of cute accessories to choose from and the prices aren’t too bad either.

One of the best or worst things for the average American consumer, depending on how you look at it, are the many brands and stores to choose from. From Forever 21’s hip and funky apparel to the ladylike, prim-and-proper work attire of New York & Co., there’s something for everyone.

So we took to the halls of our very own Fordham College at Lincoln Center (FCLC) to see which stores really have the best clothes, best prices and most importantly, the best sales.

Forever 21 vs. H&M

Forever 21

Originally known as Fashion 21, the store opened in Los Angeles in its own building before finally opening chains in malls during the 1980s.

Known for providing girls around the world with stylish clothes at affordable prices and cute trendy accessories to complete any look, Forever 21 is a great store to shop at when in need of a good outfit for a night out on the town.

The stores offer different brands such as Heritage 1981, an all-American vintage brand with camel belts, ankle-grazing skirts, floral print button downs and geeky boyfriend jeans.

Average prices:

Tops: $14.95-$29.95

Dresses: $19.95-$22.80

Bottoms: $12.80-$22.80

Accessories: $2.80-$10.80


First established in Sweden in 1947 as a women’s store called “Hennes,” (Swedish for “hers”) by Erling Persson, the store name later amended to add “Maurtiz”(Swedish for “his”) after acquiring an inventory of men’s clothing.

The company has opened over 1,000 stores around the world including Denmark, the U.K. and Switzerland.

Although H&M does not sell individual brands within the store, they are widely known for their exclusive lines in collaboration with many iconic designers including Karl Lagerfeld, Stella McCartney and Jimmy Choo.

Average Prices:

Prices depend on which collection is in store at the time. In general, most clothes ranges from $15 to $30.

The Verdict: Quality over Quantity any day. Although Forever 21 has numerous brands and accessories to choose from, you just can’t beat H&M’s upper-scale style and chic designer labels for less.

Urban Outfitters vs. American Eagle

Urban Outfitters

Urban Outfitters started off as “The Free Peoples Store” in the 1970s in Philadelphia. They’re best known for their funky, retro clothing style, accessories and furniture. And if you’re looking for that vintage “Cosby” sweater, this is the place to shop.

Average Prices:

Tops: $29-$150

Bottoms: $24-$115

Dresses: $49-$248

Accessories: $24-$100

American Eagle Outfitters

American Eagle targets 15-25 year-old guys and girls. It now includes two additional collections: Aerie, which sells intimates and clothes for girls, and the recent 77kids which has extended the line to younger children and toddlers.

Known for their laid back, beach-casual wear,  T-shirts and warm sweatshirts with the famous AE logo.

Average Prices:

Tops: $15.50-$39.50

Bottoms: $39.50-$79.50

Dresses: $34.50-$44.50

Accessories: $9.50-$39.50

The Verdict: Vintage? Retro? Great sales? Urban Outfitters has more of a distinct style that everyone can identify with. You won’t have to worry about blending into the crowd with their stylish accessories.

New York & Co. vs. Express

New York & Co.

Founded in 1918, this retail store sells clothing for women of all sizes. It is a nationwide franchise, operating in 580 stores in 44 states. Though they offer casual wear, the store is especially great if you want to upgrade your work attire to super chic.

Along with their clothing, they have tons of accessories to choose from such as their New York & Co. branded handbags that will last you a lifetime.

New York & Co. do not usually sell individual brands. However, they do have a variety of clothing in each department.

Average prices:

Tops: $24.95-$39.95

Dresses: $56.95- $129.95

Bottoms: $39.95-$56.95

Accessories: $14.95-$24.95


First opened in 1980 in Columbus, Ohio as Limited Express, it eventually expanded into 550 stores in the U.S. It is now the sixth largest retail brand in the country.

At first, the company was known predominantly for women’s clothing, but in 1985, Express began to sell clothes for men as well.

Known for their edgy clothing for any occasion, Express has it all.

Over the years, Express has created a brand for men named King of Prides and a denim label called Rerocks for both men and Women.

Average Prices:

Tops: $19.90-$49.90

Bottoms: $24.90-$118.90

Dresses: $39.90-$128.90

Accessories: $12.90-$69.90

The Verdict: It’s a tie! Both stores have fashionable clothes, great quality and great finds. It’s only a matter of what suits your style.