American department stores have come a long way since my middle school mall-rat days. Back when my mom would drop my friends and me off to rove The Oaks Shopping Center for hours on end, Coffee Bean Iced Blended drinks in hand, high-end department stores carried the high-end designers. When it came to niche and emerging labels, however, the options were far more limited—much like our budgets, which were decidedly Limited Too at the time.
Fast-forward to the present day, and department store shopping (and mall shopping in general) is a whole new experience. Retailers like Nordstrom, Saks, and Barneys now spend a whole lot of time vetting rising designers, setting up highly curated pop-up shops, and bringing in exclusive items you won't find anywhere else. Ready to cyber-sift through the racks and reap the benefits for yourself? Keep reading to see and shop my favorite new items from the United States' best department stores.