Before going to Shanghai, I had heard the dreamy term Shanghai Shopping.  I knew that Shanghai was known as the Paris of the East and had some of the best fashion out there in all of China.  For most women, Shanghai is a shopper lover’s paradise where you can literally shop til you drop, all day long.

Although I must admit that I am not the most enthusiastic shopper (I only have ten pairs of shoes compared to the dozens that most women have), I did enjoy strolling Shanghai’s infamous fashion scene and admiring the huge variety of offerings.   After only a few days, I determined that there are more shores than the eye can see.  There are stores everywhere and quite honestly most of them, especially the designer boutiques and high-end shops, were empty.  Perhaps this is a sign of the economy. But it did make you wonder how the stores can stay in business when there is literally not a single soul inside except for a bored shopkeeper chatting on the internet!

In Shanghai, you can find anything the heart desires whether it be ribbon shops, button stores, chic up and coming boutiques or high-end retailers only for the ultra wealthy.  You can find it all in Shanghai if you have the energy, patience and perseverance to walk the crazy, congested streets of Shanghai to hunt and gather.

Here are some of my favorite shops I found along the way. Hope you enjoy!

For the locals or those inclined to do-it-yourself and make your own clothes….

I saw ribbon shop after ribbon shop…everywhere! 

Even shops dedicated to lace so you can make your own lingerie. 

There are also loads of yarn and fabric stores like the one above and below.  The fabrics were gorgeous (if only I knew how to sew!).  There are also lots of tailor shops in Shanghai where you can get your own suits tailor-made for cheap.  Too bad my husband wasn’t along. 

For the locals, affordable shopping…

Crazy, neon lights “junk” shops like these ones above…

Anything you can possibly fit and sell in a store….

Food markets were everywhere.  Street Food is a huge way of life as most Chinese eat breakfast and lunch out.  It saves time and is very cheap. 

Some of the streets had open market styled shops like these ones above.  I even saw live product demos right out in the street.  

For the fashionistas, the somewhat affordable new, chic boutiques of the French Concession…

There were rows and rows of these boutique shops…but not a soul inside….

For the rich…upscale shopping in places like the at the start of the French Concession and Pudong….outrageous designer boutiques that only the ultra wealthy can afford…

And finally…whatever you want…

I saw every kind of instrument shop imaginable.  Instead of all being together in one store, each kind of instrument had their own shop. 

I left Shanghai without buying one fashionable thing.  Perhaps I was overwhelmed, too cheap or just plain old tired and ready to get back home.  I wonder if I go back again someday, if all these shops will still be around or it will be one big strip mall? 

Stay tuned…more posts coming soon. 


  1. Thankfully I think it will be a long time before the individual entrepeneur in China is subsumed by chain stores – which don’t seem to appeal to mass market Chinese (probably because their margins are too high). Great and interesting post, thank you for sharing.

  2. Great post, Nicole. Sara and I both had a number of personally tailored pieces made when we lived in Vietnam. It was AMAZING what you coul get for the price–and a PERFECT FIT!

    Hope you are having a great weekend.


  3. My goodness! I absolutely adore those lace and ribbon shops!! Please, thirdeyemom, share with me where these delightful shops are located. I’ll be going coming October. My hobby is sewing and I make lots of handcrafts from soft toys to purses for family and friends as gifts..

    1. Great! The shops are very easy to find as they are everywhere. Just start on the Bund area and head inside away from it and you will see them, everywhere. Yes, you will have a great time!

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