How to Shop Online

27 Oct

I live in Washington DC, the land that fashion forgot. I know what you are thinking…Michelle Obama changed everything, it’s a fashion metropolis!

If by everything you mean cardigan sales then yes, the city is transformed. Otherwise everyone continues to walk to work in sneakers.

Due to this lack of physical options, I tend to purchase a majority of my wardrobe online. Not to toot my own horn but if online shopping was an Olympic sport I would be Michael Phelps, pre-bong hit scandal.

Since I am ridiculously good at online shopping…toot toot…I thought I would share some tips for online shopping as well as some favorite sites. I know many people are reluctant online shoppers, and so to help open up the world of internet purchasing I put together this handy FAQ.

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

Frequently Asked Questions

Question: Why would I shop online rather than go to a brick and mortar store?

Answer: UGHHH, what is this the 20th century?

Going to an individual store takes a lot of time and energy. The selection online is far greater than in physical stores and you also don’t have to deal with crowds or annoying sales people. Stores might not always have what you are looking for, your size might be out of stock, and the price might be higher than what you are willing to pay. Online shopping allows you to search for exactly what you are looking for, compare the same item on multiple sites and coupons are available on websites like  RetailMeNot and CouponCabin.

Question: How can I online shop when I need to try things on before I buy them? I have cankles/ broad shoulders/I’m pear shaped in the winter and boy shaped in the summer. HELP!!!

Answer: This is where the online store’s return policy comes in. I rarely purchase anything that does not have free shipping and free returns, and if a store does not have this option, check the aforementioned coupon websites for a free shipping code. In terms of fit I would say know what looks good on you and your body type, but when in doubt buy two sizes, especially when it comes to shoes. I also prefer trying things on in the comfort of my own home and thinking about how the potential new purchase will go with my wardrobe.

Plus store lighting is atrocious and skinny jeans are really difficult to squeeze into in those coffins they call dressing rooms.

Question: I am so out of fashion, I don’t even know what I am looking for…where should I start?

Answer: This is one  of my favorite things about online shopping, browsing is so much easier. I would first start by visiting some websites that forecast the latest trends and offer recommendations on which bootie/shearling coat/maxi dress to purchase. I frequent WhoWhatWear, Refinery29 and TheCut for these purposes, as well as the latest fashion news. These are a good place to start if you are looking to get a little hipper or just go to feel inspired. I recommend signing up for daily emails so that things are delivered to your inbox without any effort on your part.

That’s what online shopping is all about – being simultaneously lazy yet fabulously dressed.

Question: Ok, you have convinced me to try online shopping, now help me find what I am looking for! I am looking for a pair of shoes to wear to my cousin’s wedding, where should I go?

Answer: Anytime you are looking for something specific, let’s say a patent peep toe sling back in eggplant, I would go to Shopstyle. Shopstyle is an aggregator – like the Huffington Post of fashion – that scans hundreds of websites for you and assembles everything that you are looking for in one place. Another similar site is Polyvore, which does the same thing in a different layout, and allows you to create your own outfits in an editorially appealing way.

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

Favorite Websites

These are the sites I frequent the most and offer the greatest selection for my style and wallet (eek, maybe not.)

Great selection for dressed up basics, frequent sales and coupons. I prefer the offerings in the summer and tend to avoid their shoes, although the mens footwear is quite nice. No free shipping but free returns. Added bonus that you can try things on in the store, or get things online and return/exchange them in person.

Online shopping mecca that runs the gamut from the latest trend items and more expensive investment pieces to everyday basics. VAST selection from top brands including harder to find designer goods and killer accessories – I always buy a few key items here each season. Free shipping and free returns within 14 days. Infrequent coupon offerings but their stuff goes on sale quickly and the sale selection is great. Often I discover things here that are beyond my price range and then search around on ShopStyle hoping to find the same item for less on another site.

The discount sister to luxury e-boutique, Net-a-porter, I love the Outnet! Amazing designer goods at rock bottom prices, frequent flash sales that slash prices even further. Inventory moves quickly here so its best to check out the Just In section and skip over things that have been lingering on the site for a long time. No free shipping or returns sadly, but each order is lovingly packaged in a giant reusable zippered tote that I use constantly to store out of season clothes or transport items to the dry cleaner.

Boutique retailer specializing in French and French-looking duds. It’s the next best thing to booking a trip to Paris for a shopping holiday, although with the high price tags it might end up costing the same.

The British retailer recently opened a stateside specific website. Huge selection of basics and trendier items both from their own brand and other labels. Free shipping and returns.

All of these sites carry footwear, but there are several shoe specific websites, all with great selection and generous shipping/return policies, that I strongly endorse: Piperlime, Endless, Lori’s.

There are a slew of other websites that I left off, but for now these are my greatest hits, feel free to leave recommendations in the comments.

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: