Anyone stumbling on this little corner of the web would think that I'm a bit fashion obsessed. Those of you who know me well will probably agree, then replace the word "fashion" with "style". See, I am not about the latest fad, copying what the it-girl du jour has worn to get her chai latte from Starbucks, or what the magazine editors think I should wear; what I love is collecting (ok, sometimes it's quite a big collection, as Hubby Dearest often points out looking at my wall of shoe shelves) beautiful pieces that I can wear over and over again, so it's no wonder some of my outfit posts feature coats which I've had for years. I love looking in my walk-in closet and rekindling with pieces from four or five seasons ago.
Lately I've not had much time or patience for on-site shopping, I find customer service varies so much and opening times are so haphazard that it's not worth my time, with a few exceptions: ordering online can't really compare with sitting on a leather sofa with a fresh coffee whilst trying shoes at Chanel in Brompton Cross (life is never black and white, so why should my shopping habits?)... I've become quite the expert online shopper, and most times manage to buy fashion at a discount. I know some of you struggle with online shopping so I thought I'd summarise some of the rules I follow.
1) Register on your favourite websites
Select which websites you love to shop on and register. Make sure you pick websites who have a good description and a fair delivery pricing, as well as an easy returns service; beware of restocking fees! My favourite fashion shopping websites are NetAPorter, ASOS, Farfetch and MyTheresa. Most will allow you to create a wishlist where you can put your lust-have pieces and monitor the inventory and price reductions. Also you'll get emails about special private sales, with discount codes just for registered customers. I have wishlists on no less than five websites at any point in time so whenever there is a sale I can pounce! Some websites will also give rewards points to loyal customers, redeemable for discounts. Make sure you're in the in crowd!
2) Keep an eye on outlet sites
I never fail to check out the "Just In" section of The Outnet, three times a week. I've found many treasures on NetAPorter's sister outlet, such as my beloved pink Victoria by Victoria Beckham dress, and I have long ago forgiven the fiasco of its first anniversary big sale. In fact I never again tried to shop the Outnet PR stunt sales, but I am a loyal customer of its main section, every week I visit and often I shop! Similarly there are websites such as Yoox and Shopbop which have permanent promotions, and that's where I've found my AW 2012 Alaia booties after having despaired to find them (thanks to a dear reader who pointed me in that direction!) If you don't mind old season pieces, this is the best shopping tip you can follow. It will save you hundreds of Pounds, Dollars, Euros etc.
3) Navigate the flash sales sites carefully
There are loads of flash sales websites, such as Gilt and Cocosa... They often have cool sales, but thread carefully as the delivery times make you think they use snails to deliver customers orders, and the return process is, well, the kind that makes returns nearly impossible.
So there, my dear readers, my top three tips for fashion shopping online, when you're on a budget. Short of writing here whenever there is a sale somewhere (this isn't the purpose of this blog, but there are websites who track sales) these tips should help you get some pretty good bargains out there. Ready? Set. Click! Happy shopping!