Sunday, November 1, 2009

Style Secrets: Online Shopping Uncovered

“I don’t shop because I need something, I just shop for shopping’s sake.”
Cat Deeley

Darlings, like the game of love, online shopping is an art, one in which the object of the match is getting the goods you desire at the price you can afford. There is no reason you would forfeit a perfectly good trip to the mall if you were in the market for something that you could pick up at the corner store. Non, the fact that you have turned to the world wide web to satisfy your style cravings is because you’re looking to obtain the unobtainable. Perhaps Forever 21 was out of your size in the tulle skirt you were eyeing; or maybe you’re craving an affordable replica of the Marc by Marc Jacobs Stam. Going Online is the perfect solution to either of these predicaments, as long as you’re armed with the ins, outs, ups, and downs of virtual shopping.

The Power of the Coupon I have seen one too many people cringe and duck for cover when they see others pull coupons out of their handbags at the store – in fact, I’ve done it myself. When you’re shopping Online, however, it is essential that you keep in mind the power of the coupon. I have saved countless amounts of money due to coupon codes that gave me free shipping, twenty-five percent off, and more. Therefore, search before you click. Don’t purchase anything until you’ve done at least a little bit of looking for a coupon code. Store websites often will not provide this information to you, which is why it’s your own responsibility to search for coupons that apply to what you want to buy. I recommend visiting RetailMeNot, Coupon Cabin, Coupon Mountain, Current Codes, and Coupon Code. I have had wonderful experiences with all of these websites at one time or another. While you can never guarantee that a coupon code will work, these sites provide them to you in an organized manner that will help you get the most for your buck!

“Whoever said money can’t buy happiness simply didn’t know where to go shopping.”
Bo Derek

Measure, Measure, Measure! You most certainly don’t have to be a fashion student to own a decent measuring tape. Please do yourself, and your wallet a favor by perusing it before buying anything Online. Unless you’re buying jewelry or other accessories, knowing your measurements is essential before shopping on the web. The typical measuring tape found at hardware stores is not accurate for this specific task – to properly know your shape, you need a tailor’s measuring tape. I recommend the Tape Measure in Ascot Pink Jewel from Aspinal of London. It’s $30, but it comes in a handy case, so you won’t have to worry about misplacing it. Once you have this in your possession, measure four parts of your body:

Bust - Wrap the tape around the upper part of your body, right under your arms, and over the broadest part of your chest.
Waist - Wrap the measuring tape around your natural waistline – no sucking in, we need accuracy!
Hips - Wrap the tape around the fullest part of your hips.
Inseam - The easiest way to measure your inseam is by using a pair of pants that you already own. Lay them on a flat surface, and measure the distance between the lap of the pants, and the hem of the leg.
Tips - When measuring, stand up straight and tall, and allow a little slack with the tape so you don’t end up with anything too tight.

Consumer Chit Chat Even when you know your measurements, it can be difficult to buy Online, because each store’s sizes are different. Some run big, some run small, and some are just right. I fall right on the cusp of two different sizes, so I always find myself debating for hours upon hours regarding which size to go with. What I’ve found to be the best method of choosing sizes, or simply learning more about a store, is to seek out the feedback of fellow shoppers. During a Chanel sample sale, it’s no surprise to find yourself in competition with other consumers; but when you’re shopping Online, they are your best friend. Yahoo! Answers is one of my favorite sites. Post a question about a particular store, and you will get answers from fellow fashionistas, all relaying their own experiences. Something I’ve just recently discovered is YouTube – or rather, the fashion/make-up gurus who post videos about “hauls” on YouTube. These people are, essentially, showing off their loot from Forever 21, AMI Clubwear, and other shops; but they’re also more than willing to provide a little insight into sizing, and their shopping opinions if you send them a private message.

Take It Back! Whether shopping Online or at an actual brick and mortar store, there is nothing I despise more than a bad return policy. While you may not pay much mind to a return policy when shopping in-store, however, it’s extremely important to read every bit of information regarding the store’s return policy when buying Online, because it may determine whether you want to shop there or not. Many stores don’t allow returns on accessories; others refuse to take back anything that is bought while on clearance, and similar scenarios. You must also take into consideration that, should you decide to return an item, it is at your expense – meaning you will have to pay the return shipping, which can often be pricey. While I recommend primarily shopping at Online stores like Forever 21, Charlotte Russe, and Wet Seal – places that allow you to return Online purchases in-store, as long as you have the receipt – even I can’t resist spending a little cash at places like Urban Original, Shopbop, and AMI Clubwear – Online retailers with amazing prices, and an even more amazing selection of items to buy. Use your best judgement when taking the purchasing plunge so that you end up satisfied in the end!

For Your Listening Pleasure I love a soundtrack when shopping. A handful of feel-good songs that put me in the mood to create a look du jour for a special occasion or simply snag a sassy top for a night out with the girls. Here are a few of my favorite songs to shop to. Enjoy!

Shoes - Tiga
Labels or Love - Fergie
Fashion - Lady Gaga
Short Skirt, Long Jacket - Cake
These Boots Are Made for Walking - Nancy Sinatra
Material Girl - Madonna
Look At Me - Geri Halliwell
New Shoes - Paolo Nutini
Supermodel - Jill Sobule
Diamonds Are a Girls Best Friend - Marilyn Monroe

“I like my money right where I can see it…hanging in my closet.”
Carrie Bradshaw

Happy shopping, darlings!

Fashionably yours!

Thanks to London Evening Standard, Lilies and Grapes, and Being a Girl Books for the pictures.

Don't forget to enter the No Foundation Foundation Giveaway for your chance to win No Foundation Foundation from Perricone MD.

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