Day One: Fifth Avenue
As soon as you’ve stashed your suitcases, head straight for Manhattan’s most fashionable promenade.
10:30 a.m.: Start your shopping engines at Saks Fifth Avenue. Peruse the ever-changing shop windows on the corner of 49th Street and Fifth Avenue before entering the main floor, where you can test out makeup, model the hottest bags, and gush over crazily priced jewels. Catch your breath in the fifth-floor café, SnAKS, which opens at noon. The store’s crown jewel—a shoe department with its own zip code that's packed with Alaïas and Loubs—is on the eighth floor.
Noon: Purchase something sparkly. Six blocks north is the city’s quintessential luxury boutique, Henri Bendel. Hurry upstairs for a new pair of Chanel or Marc sunglasses—you’re going to need some eye protection when browsing the gleaming cocktail rings, clunky resin bangles, and delicate silver chains. And don’t overlook the store’s own jewelry line complete with the trademark brown stripes.
1 p.m.: Dine at “the single greatest room” in New York. Continue a few blocks south to 52nd Street and Park Avenue for an extravagant lunch at The Four Seasons Restaurant, snagging one of the final reservations. Gentlemen, make sure to bring a jacket—or you’ll be wearing one of the restaurant’s.
2 p.m.: Bask in fashion’s brightest lights. Stroll back north to Bergdorf Goodman, a clotheshorse nirvana. Though all eight floors stock front-runners of fashion, the third floor spotlights today’s biggest stars—it's a Proenza, Vera Wang, and Marni mecca. For menswear, head across the street to the tri-level Bergdorf Goodman Men’s for a whirlwind tour of exclusive ties, notably Marinella and Bergdorf’s private label.
3:30 p.m.: Sample the sophistication of Barneys New York. After a short walk to Madison Avenue and 61st Street, shop around for hard-to-find collections like the elegant Moreau handbags sold here, and here only. Before you leave, indulge in an early afternoon cocktail at Fred's, the store’s beloved ninth-floor café.
5 p.m.: Rethink the little details. Steps away on 62nd Street is Tender Buttons, stocked with a breathtaking array of buttons, from plastic 75-cent versions to $7,000 antique cuff links. Gertrude Stein (whose collection of poetry gave the store its name) would be thrilled.
6 p.m.: Linger over the lingerie. Trigger some boudoir fantasies five blocks north at La Perla, a lingerie shop rich with fine lace and satin. Pick out an innocent, full-coverage piece or go for something wilder, like a siren-red corset. Either way, the store's cuts are famously flattering.
7 p.m.: Sup in high style. For those who plan in advance, the French stalwart Daniel and seafood spot Marea (named by New York's critics as the most ambitious restaurant of 2010) are perfect places to show off your new shopping finds.
9 p.m.: Buy an Apple in the Big Apple. A quick walk down Fifth Avenue, and you’ll stumble upon the enormous glass cube housing the dazzlingly designed Apple Store. Even if you own a PC, this 24-hour laminated spectacle is not to be missed.