For many of us, vising a foreign country opens up a whole new shopping experience. Maybe we're looking for some fun new stuff for ourselves, or we feel like we have to bring something back home for all the poor suckers who didn't get to travel with us. Either way, you gotta know where to go and what to get.
As mentioned in other entries, I love the craft markets and think they are great places to find something for your friends and family.
In general, I have not found the clothes and some other products here to be of especially high quality, though they do tend to be pricey. This depends hugely on where you go and what you buy, but the average shirt in the window seems to cost about $50 and looks like it could fall apart any minute. My boyfriend bought me a little backpack that I used sporadically to take stuff to the gym and on one three-day weekend in Uruguay, but after a couple of months three of the four zippers had broken and the beginnings of a hole started to appear in the front. Not impressed. I hope you have better luck.
Here are some of the main shopping areas:
Santa Fe. This long street is lined with boutiques. You will find lower prices if you go back into some of the galleries rather than just popping into the shops with street-front views.
Florida and Lavalle. Both pedestrian streets, and both have a lot of clothing stores as well as tourist-focused stores for buying souvenirs and Argentiny things like leather goods.
The malls. Abasto, Alto Palermo, Patio Bullrich, Recoleta. The most impressive looking is definitely Abasto; it's worth a trip just to see the building. Otherwise, they're all about the same and not really places to find bargains.
San Telmo. This entire barrio is home to antique stores, and you won't want to miss the huge antique market if old stuff is your kind of thing.
Once. This is where I always get directed when I ask someone where to find reasonably priced goods, especially products for the home, like kitchen appliances.
Keep an eye out for stores that are going out of business -- this happens fairly often, which is easy to understand when you take note of how many similar stores are within a stone's throw -- they're a good option for finding some better prices.