For those on a budget I would humbly suggest Conway. This large scale department store reminiscent of Woolworth’s, sells men, women and children’s clothing at a very reasonable price. The clothing although not high quality are inexpensive. You can find some great knock-off fashions at a next to nothing price tag.
Along with clothing, Conway also sells a variety of household goods, small appliances and furnishings, toiletries and cosmetics.
Some of my purchases include decorative pillows, yoga pants, decorate t-shirts and stockings.
You can find a Conway throughout the city. Follow the Pink Bag!!
What to buy: Everything and anything you can need or what at a very reasonable price (I'm talking cheap, especially for NYC prices)
What to pay: Super reasonable, i.e. a women's "fashionable" blouse will set you back about $10.99
Old Navy and TJ Maxx in Greenwich Village are great for really cheap clothing (men's women's and children's) also Conways in the lower part of Broadway (below Macy's) is a great bargain store if you need some cheap threads.
Also the thrift stores are worth a look, you might even unearth some cheap vintage items and manage to put together a kooky outfit worthy of Carrie Bradshaw in Sex and The City. However I personally wouldn't recommend a tutu as streetwear when it's raining.
What to buy: Tacky souvenirs are in abundance on Broadway, especially near Times Square, so if you have always hankered after a replica statue if liberty or a crudely crafted mini empire state building, that's where you should head.
Personally I like all the bohemian vintage/rock t shirt stores around St Mark's Place in the East Village. Also in the village you'll find some great secondhand book stores. If you can be bothered to browse, you might find a treasure, and the prices aren't bad either.
Uptown, Tiffany's is worth a visit, although the masses of security guards are a bit intimidating.
Bloomingdales is swish, but to me, is just like any big department store in the UK (Lewis's, Peter Jones, Fenwicks,House of Fraser etc) high prices and designer names but that's about it.
Macy's I found to be a bit shabby, and again, like any UK dept store (it reminded me of the now defunct Blackler's store in Liverpool- a bit chaotic and old fashioned) but you really should visit if only to get one of the famous big brown carrier bags.
What to pay: If like me, you love second hand bargains, vintage, thrift and fleamarkets, you don't have to pay that much. It's just a matter of browsing and pounding the streets, which is a great way to get to know the city.