When I was a teenager, washed denim vests and all, the mall was the mecca of social happenings. Granted, we couldn’t do much with our meager allowances, apart from the occasional movie, but gossiping by the water fountain while eating pretzels was good enough for us.
Alas, I’m all grown up now. The thought of hauling myself to the mall seems ambitious. The ease of online retail makes it all too tempting for me to sit in bed while “window shopping” for new shoes. For like-minded souls who prefer shopping in bunny slippers at home, I’ve gathered my favorite retail sites to peruse based on price and how user-friendly they are, a big deal when you can’t hold the actual cloth in hand.
1. AnnTaylor.com – Quintessentially classic businesswoman clothes that are well-made and never of dubious taste. They have petite and tall sections, and I love their “lookbook” where they put together different pieces so you can see how they work together instead of waiting until they arrive in the mail. (Also great for inspiration.)
2. ASOS.com – I’m so glad that ASOS opened a USA online store because I was blowing all the savings on these clothes by having them shipped from their UK site. This is a great go-to store for inexpensive trendy pieces when you don’t want to spend a fortune on basics or clothes that will be out of style before they wear out.
3. Avenue32.com – A luxury womenswear hub (from clothes through accessories) with a right-off-the-runway vibe.
4. Bloomingdales.com – With a 90-day return policy, this department store’s online version follows closely behind Nordstrom’s #1-best-return-policy. On top of that, their price range is fantastic – you can find sale items at low prices, as well as premium designer merchandise.
5. Bluefly.com – Picture an outlet store for designers that sells everything from clothing to housewares.
6. eBay.com – A great option if you don’t have qualms about used/vintage goods. I’ve been known to buy designer pieces on this auction site that have barely been worn or used.
7. Farfetch.com – Over 300 luxury-level, independent fashion boutiques are sold on this site.
8. Lastcall.com – Neiman Marcus’ outlet serves up designer fashion at slashed prices. You won’t find items straight off the runway, but if you can wait a couple of months you may just find it at half-off the price.
9. Lyst.com – Thousands of brands are available on this one e-commerce site. You can follow a brand, a store, or a specific item and you are alerted when it goes on-sale. No more scouring the web for your favorites.
10. Mango.com – As you’d expect from a company started by two brothers in Spain, the clothes tend toward the relaxed-yet-stylish, international young woman image. Picture affordable, often colorful, comfortable-yet-still feminine fit.
11. Modaoperandi.com – Order outfits straight off the runway (if you dare.) You will need to put down a 50% deposit but you’ll be the first in your town to receive the piece and sometimes the items don’t even hit the stores.
12. Nordstrom.com – Famous for their amazing refund policy (return anything, at any time, at any of the stores, no questions asked), the website offers free shipping and free return shipping as well.
13. Polyvore.com – Not only can you shop for a wide variety of brands (low-end to uber-high-end) but you can seek fashion inspiration from fellow Polyvore users who create “boards” where they place outfits they’d love to own. It’s like shopping and looking at a fashionista’s style board at the same time.
14. Revolveclothing.com – Hip clothing, but not inexpensive. Head here when you want some quality, mid-range priced au courant pieces.
15. ShopBop.com – Mid-priced, chic pieces for the young or young-at-heart. For example, you’ll find DKNY, but not Donna Karan.
16. StyleBop.com – One of the largest, designer e-commerce site where my favorite hook is their “shop by look” option.
17. Theoutnet.com – A designer discount site. Fashion outlet to the fashionable. You’ll sometimes find deals of 75% off list-price.
18. TopShop.com – Their flagship store in London is the largest fashion store in the world. Thank heavens you don’t have to a) fly to London and b) try to find your way around the building. Recently Kate Moss collaborated with the brand so you can probably imagine that the clothes are modern, youthful and have the stream-lined tailoring of the Brits. Prices are reasonable.
19. Zappos.com – The place to buy shoes online. Free shipping and I often receive my shoes the very next day.
20. Zara.com – Style of the absolute moment (word has it that the company only needs 2 weeks from concept to piece hitting the stores) expect to see trendy, yet classy items on this site. Extremely wearable, reasonable (but not inexpensive) pieces make this e-tailer a permanent “bookmark” on my computer.