Isetan is a departmental store which sells many house hold items. More than just that, they do have small branded boutiques within the store. They do provided many services such as bulk purchases, gift wrapping as well as reservation of items. Isetan is conveniently located at five locations island-wide.
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Not for the fashion conscious
Isetan is essentially a melting pot of a mish-mash of brands huddled together under one overarching brand name. Most of the brands under Isetan are usually lesser-known brands that would otherwise have trouble taking off independently, thus prices may vary from item to item but are usually cheaper than what you will find at boutiques. I usually shop at Isetan to buy office wear/accessories that I would only wear once or twice for internships because most of their clothing are really uh, 'auntie' per say (yes, this is coming from an obnoxious 16 year old)
About a month ago I visited the Parkway Isetan in search of some office wear that I needed, seeing the racks upon more racks of clothing made me shudder in horror because some of the designs looked like they have been plucked out fresh circa from the 1980. The middle-aged sales assistant was very nice though, helping us through the various styles and dealing with my fussy teenage self who even refused one particular blazer because "the side pockets were fake". She at one point even took of her own blazer to help show me how a smaller-sized blazer would fit because a lot of the blazers there did not fit my tiny frame.
However, there are always some rotten apples that spoil the metaphorical barrel. There was one instance where I had gone to the same aforementioned section, looking for a white oxford shirt. The sales assistant there practically rolled her eyes in disgust at us when we asked if a particular style of oxford shirt was available or not. She had a very impatient demeanour all through our brief conversation and almost flat-out refused to help us at all! Thus, whether you get a nice sales assistant is really a game of Russian roulette, sometimes you get the nice friendly ones and sometimes you get the snappy, rude sales assistants.
As for product quality, the two white oxford shirts that I had bought have lasted until now, though I have only worn them for about two occasions. Though my mom isn't too crazy about the office wear there, as she claims some of the blazers we were shown were of not too great quality. All in all, I would say if you are looking for a more affordable wardrobe and aren't too fussy about the finer intricacies blazer cuts and fake pockets, Isetan is a good place to start hunting!
The clothes selection at Isetan is quite wide, and it caters to some plus sizes as well. The clothes are all decently priced, and you don't have to spend a fortune on buying clothes for yourself, regardless of your size. Since there's a large variety of brands at Isetan from the upscale to the not so upscale, there's products to suit any price range.
I've bought a clutch from one of the lesser-known counters two years ago and it still works fine, so don't be too quick to dismiss the products not displayed fancily. If you're looking for fresh cuts of meat, the Isetan Delicatssen is the place to go. I also tend to get my Japanese food ingredients here, because Isetan has one of the widest selections I've ever seen. You should definitely visit Isetan for the clothes and food products.
My mother-in-law and my wife used to make sushi on their own. I was always the one tasked to buy the ingredients. Isetan was one of the more convenient places to get the ingredients for Japanese sushi.
Buying Japanese food items was a big challenge for me because I was not able to read Japanese and most of the Japanese food items sold in Isetan only had Japanese words on the packaging. If I was lucky, some would have a small label in English on the packaging. I mainly depended on the pictures on the packaging and the size of the packaging or the feel of the contents to find the correct ingredients. Most of the times, I got all the ingredients correctly. There was only once I got something that nobody knew what it was and we didn't how to use it in our sushi.
Japanese all in one store
Isetan sells a wide variety of clothes of many different brands, and is perhaps the best one-stop place to get things of different brands all at the same time. While choices may be limited, the products are as good in terms of quality as compared to their boutiques and original stores.
Isetan also retails a variety of Japanese items, ranging from cookware to toys and crockery. The Supermarket in the basement of Shaw centre also sells the largest variety of Japanese food items compared to other places, and they also frequently hold events where they sell Japanese food from different parts of Japan, like Hokkaido and Sapporo.
Perhaps one thing you can try to catch at Isetan Shaw Centre is the way the store opens, similar to in Japan, there is a bell, and the staff open the door to greet you, and as you pass by they bow to you, making you feel like a VIP. It is truly a Japanese shopping experience at Isetan.
Variety of Brands in a small space
I do not really like going to Isetan unless I am desperate to find a certain brand of make up clothes or accessories. Isetan may have variety of brands but they do not have wide range of selections for those brands. It is understandable though.
You can buy great stuff here from home decorations and kitchen needs but you really must have patience in roaming around Isetan and asking the sales lady what you exactly want. Moreover, the sales people are really helpful and friendly. They use their 12 face muscles very efficiently to give you a smile even if you do not buy anything. Isnt it a refreshing sight?
Worth the closer look for amazing finds
My family and I visit Isetan frequently as my mother somehow always seems to be able to get her hands on some Isetan vouchers. Although from afar, Isetan may seem like yet another boring old departmental store that merely caters for the middle aged, upon shopping here, I have realized that this isn't quite the case.
Sure, Isetan does have some segments retailing boring work wear that isn't even worth the rummage, but it also houses fashionable street brands like Mango and Levi's. Whenever I hit Isetan, I always make it a point to visit the section for Billabong, and even though the items displayed in these sections are nothing compared to the sheer variety in the flagship stores, the items featured are usually the best of each season's collections, and worth the look all the same.
The snacks section at Isetan is amazing too. Since Isetan hails from Japan, there are often cute little Japanese snacks on display, and it can be really hard to resist putting them into the cart.
Don't diss Isetan for what it looks like just yet; It's really quite an amazing place.
Japanese food Heaven
I'm writing this review based on the Isetan at Shaw along Scotts Road.
Whenever I happened to be within the vicinity (along Orchard that is), I never fail to step into the basement of Isetan at Shaw. The supermarket is really a Japanese food heaven where you can find an assorted of Japanese imports, ranging from instant noodles, frozen food (such as frozen ramen anyone) or fresh seaweed. Many of the staff and customers are Japanese, judging from the language they speak, giving the place an additional Japanese feeling to it.
If you happened to be in there during the weekends, like I've been last Saturday, you will be amazed with the numerous stalls setup for food sampling. I tried the 100% apple juice, ramen, cheesecake and various other quirky Japanese food product as I did my rounds last Saturday. If you're around the area and happens to be itching for a bite, instead of buying the regular snacks, you can try touring this supermarket for all the food samples. By the time you're out, the craving for snacks should have been eased without spending a dime!
For a Japanese foodie like me, this supermarket really beats the others hands down.
look out for their close door events
I used to work at Isetan as a part timer during my holidays and one of the most memorable events was during their closed door sale event, only applicable to their card members. I had the privilege to walk the sale myself that day and bought many items myself as they are on great great discounts. Branded goods such as Braun Buffel were almost at a 50% discount. It was such a good buy!
I myself bought 3 pairs of working shoes during the closed door sale event. They were on 50% discount and I only paid about $50 for each pair. Considering that they are of good quality and are very very comfortable. Their cosmetics and perfumes were on great discounts too.
Look out for their closed door events and make sure that you are there if you want to catch some awesome deals. That is only if you're a card member.
I don't know. Personally for me, I'd rather not walk into Isetan unless I was that bored or desperate to find clothing. Reason being that although the store is large and sells most or otherwise every possible kind of clothing, there is a great lack in the kind of clothes that appeal to me. Most of the clothing at Isetan appear to me as dull, boring, and not for the young.
Whenever I am at the NEX outlet, I head straight for the back of the first floor, because that's where the nicer pieces of clothing for men are, although the prices are steeper, so I'd like to check out that area. Most of the clothing seem to lose various sizes by the time I check them out though, so I assume they should be the relatively more popular section.
Despite being a store that caters to all your clothing needs, I'd rather hunt for individual stores that could possibly sell nicer clothes, and possibly cheaper. Unless you couldn't care less about how you dress, make Isetan a backup place to look for your clothing needs. If you really want a store with a larger variety of clothes, Tangs would be a much better choice.
A shopping experience I'll never forget
I adore Sanrio.
So imagine my weeping joy when I found out that Sanrio resides in a happy pink place in NEX's Isetan. I just received my Isetan membership after spending half of my salary on FOX Kids' new collection and was getting ready to leave when I saw Heaven's light but in pink.
Needless to say, I abused my Isetan card endlessly and ended up going home with my bank account in shreds but I am a happy broke chick. The Sanrio here is a small Japanese haven of cutesy, money-wasting goodness and I enjoyed every moment of my money flowing out of my wallet.
I shall be nice and talk about the GUESS outlet here and I really like their dresses and layout. And I like the MNG for their eternal sales and everything is in good view so it's easy to shop but I am digressing to no avail, come here for the Sanrio if you're a weak chick like I am on Monday's.
What a beautiful experience.