One of my missions is to find good places to shop.
And so I relied on my Frommer's Beijing guidebook to give me suggestions.
After the trip to the Lama Temple, I headed to Ritan Shang Wu Lou. It's a short cab ride from the Silk Market, in a three-storey building called Ritan Office Building. Inside are various shops in different rooms. It reminds me of Hong Kong's Pedder Building, with a number of little boutiques selling mostly designer apparel, from Chloe and BCBG to Marni and Tsumori Chisato.
So while some of the fashions were nice, the prices were a bit steep for my liking. But you could try on the clothes if you could get the disinterested staff to help you. Most of them sat around in the hallway, chatting with each other and didn't seem to care if a customer walked in to their shops or not.
And the designer handbags weren't that much more authentic looking than the ones at the Silk Market, so I went back there to find me a bargain.
What's so interesting is that the staff are more interested in catching bigger fish (non-Chinese) so to them I look like a local and am able to browse around under the radar. And because I'm Chinese, the starting price for me is lower than for tourists. In the end I got a big Le Sportsac bag and two small Coach purses for US$22.22).
The search for bargains continues.