From Glitzy Malls to Tailors: Where to Buy Clothes in Nanjing

From Glitzy Malls to Tailors: Where to Buy Clothes in Nanjing
By Thomas Hale ,

After some time in China, you will inevitably find that the glistening new clothes you brought with you are beginning to fade. In such cases, many foreigners will react in a knee-jerk manner and phone home for reinforcements, calling in a new wardrobe's worth of clothing. However, this may not always (or even often) be necessary. It is true that clothing is China is often fake and of poor quality, but Nanjing is host to a wide range of good quality clothing stores, selling Western clothes at prices that are not dissimilar to those back home. And even if you aren't looking to buy, but simply miss the fun of floating through various clothes shops, trying on new items and keeping up to date with the latest fashions, then a number of places can satisfy your needs.

1) Decathalon – sports clothing
One of the biggest problems for the expat community is buying adequate sports clothing. This is especially relevant because it is so easy to take up a new hobby or sport when abroad in order to better settle into your new environment. Many expats go so far as to get sports clothing shipped in from home, fearing (perhaps correctly) that poorly made items will not stand the ferocity of a sporting environment.

Thankfully, Nanjing has a store which deals with this problem. Decathalon is the biggest sports store of its kind in the city. It stocks a huge range of training shoes, t-shirts, shorts, bags and other specialist sporting wear (such as boxing gloves and backpacks), and a large staff team are available to help. Because of its status as a Western store, shoe and clothes sizes are designed to fit even the largest of customers. As a price-indicator, prices range from cheap to expensive. A pair of football boots begin at 129.99 RMB and go up to around 800 RMB (for genuine Nikes).

Decathlon迪卡侬View In Map
Add: Crossroads of Shuang Long De Avenue and Mai De Long Road, Yu Hua Tai, Nanjing, China.
Tel: 025-52401018
Opening hours: 9:00-21:00

2) Deji Plaza, AquaCity and Wanda Plaza
These four malls have been grouped together because they provide access to the very best quality Western clothing in the city. Deji Plaza especially, given its proximity to Xinjiekou (the heart of the city), sells the top-quality designer labels, such as Lacoste, Gucci and Prada. The prices are even more expensive than their Western counterparts, although not by a significant difference (a Lacoste Polo, for example, costs around 900-1000 RMB). Luis Vuitton bags, given their enormous status amongst the nouveaux riches of China, are best avoided, coming in at an excessive 3000 RMB or more. Even though these stores are the most expensive in the city, they do sell clothing of an outstanding quality.

The Western stores in AquaCity and Wanda Plaza are not quite as upscale, and may be more affordable to the average consumer. Zara, in the AquaCity mall, offers fashionable Western-clothing at a much more reasonable price. Dresses, for example, range from 400 to 900 RMB, whilst jeans will set you back around 400-600 RMB. Zara is well-established in China, leading its prices to be considerably lower than many other competing stores, such as French Connection. H&M, also based in the AquaCity mall, is another good Western store that, whilst pricier than back home, still offers decent clothing at a reasonable price. Perhaps most importantly, the styles and designs in these stores generally follow the mode at home.

All three of these malls provide the authentic American mall experience, allowing you to combine clothes shopping, Western food and a visit to the cinema or arcades.

Deji Plaza (德基广场)View In Map
Add: 18 Zhongshan Lu, Baixia District, Nanjing
Tel: 800 828 9598

AquaCity (水游城)View In Map
Add: 1 Jiankang Lu, Qinhuai District, Nanjing
Tel: 025 5223 3999
Opening hours: 10:00-22:00

Wanda Plaza (万达广场)View In Map
Add: 58 Yunjin Lu, Jianye District, Nanjing
地址:南京市建邺区云锦路58号 (近水西门大街)
Tel: 025 6818 1610
Opening hours: 10:00-24:00

3) Tailor-made clothing
One of the great highlights of clothes shopping in China, and especially in Nanjing, is the access to the very best quality tailoring at jaw-dropping low prices. Even though these are Chinese-owned stores, the tailoring is arguably Western clothing in all but name, given that the designs are Western, and Chinese tailoring is used for the majority of Western retailers.

On Hankou Xilu, just off the busy Shanghai Lu, you can easily find a row of tailors-shops, famous for their workers battling on into the early hours of the morning. A new suit, tailored to fit, will set you back around 600 RMB. As an added bonus, there is a wide range of fabric (and colour) to choose from, including some particularly garish varieties of maroon. Shirts can also be designed to fit perfectly, and cost around 100-200 RMB. With such quality products available at such low prices, it would be almost foolish to buy your business-attire anyway else in China. The quality of the fabric can be selected before purchase. Your clothes will be ready around one week after fitting.

4) Shanghai Lu boutique shopsView In Map
Whilst not Western as such, a brisk walk down Shanghai Lu will lead you to encounter a number of boutique-style stores selling clothes from Chinese labels that are often designed with a Western clientele in mind. Because of their Chinese status, clothing will be cheaper (jeans around 150-200 RMB); on the flip-side, the fashion, depending on the reader's tastes, may be rather hit and miss. Nevertheless, the atmosphere of the road and the range of stores it accommodates mean that it provides one of the best outdoor shopping experiences in Nanjing, away from the closeted claustrophobia of the Western malls. Take a walk down one of Nanjing's most famous streets and enjoy the atmosphere of the city whilst popping in and out of local but good quality clothes-shops.

Add: Shanghai Lu, Nanjing, (best to begin from the subway station)

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