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Rio de Janeiro is known for its beach subculture and local fashion reflects the informal, beach environment. Accordingly, couture/ high fashion and or formal business clothes are not particularly popular and will be difficult to purchase at attractive prices. Most clothing boutiques specialize in informal wear. Given the current rate of exchange between the Brasilian R$ and other currencies (especially the US $) there are not a lot of bargains to be had in Rio especially in imported goods, however, locally manufactured bathing wear, shoes, jewelry and crafts are still relatively good buys.
The most sophisticated shopping mall is the Leblon Shopping Center. Sao Conrado Fashion Mall is also considered one of the best places to shop for higher end clothes. The fanciest stores, especially for jewelry, are located in a relatively small area in central Ipanema around the intersection of Ipanema's main commercial street, Visconde de Piraja, and Garcia D'Avila. At the other end of the spectrum the barrio downtown known locally as Saara ( Sahara) is an area that might be described as a New York lower East side gone tropical. You can find lots of cheap chatchkas, doodads, and whatchamacallits in this barrio's narrow, pedestrian teeming streets. See http://www.saarario.com.br/.
On Sundays there is a famous arts and crafts fair, the "hippie fair", in Ipanema's Plaza General Osorio. More lower priced arts, crafts and momentos can be purchased at the fair held each evening along Av Atlantica between posto 4 and 5 in Copacabana. Antiques collectors might enjoy a stroll along the Lapa barrio's Rua do Lavradio. Additionally, a street fair is held in Lapa on the first and third Sat. of each month. Check with local guides to confirm time. The Casino Atlantico adjacent to the Sofitel Hotel in Copacabana houses an upscale antiques fair each Saturday.
For a comprehensive list of stores by category with location consult http://www.ipanema.com/shopping/ .