Monday, October 1, 2012

Method to the Madness

*Warning this post may increase your chances of shopaholicism

Long lines, dressing rooms, and pesky sales people are easily avoidable during your shopping experience nowadays.

There's just something about online shopping that gets me every time. Yes, it has its downfalls. You can't try on the clothes and shipping costs are not always ideal. But what's better than shopping from the comfort of your own home? It's worth the extra cash for convenience. And honestly, I find most of my best deals online anway. I like to think of it as my "spiritual gift", but I'm pretty sure that's not biblical.

Anyway, here is a simple breakdown of my favorite clothing websites, tips, and tricks for navigating the cyber shopping world.

Protecting Your Identity: Set up a PayPal account. This user-friendly site is essentially my online wallet, with all the protection and great customer service that a shopper could ask for. Known for being the primary method of payment on eBay, PayPal is also offered on almost any website that you can purchase from. I recently won a necklace on eBay and paid via PayPal. However, the seller never had intentions of sending me my product, but before I was even aware of this, PayPal had cancelled my order and returned the money back to my account. They are always one step ahead and have proven to be the safest form of payment on the internet.

Fashion that Fits: A lot of the sites I frequent have their own standard of sizes. Old Navy tends to run one size bigger than normal (if you're a size 4, you're likely a 2) and Steve Madden shoes run one size smaller than average. I've found these things out through trial and error and by actually shopping at the store locations. Once you have an idea of what fits you, it's fairly easy to purchase the right sized clothing online. And if it doesn't end up working out, most websites let you exchange/return your items both online and at the actual store.

Do Your Research: As I've learned about the fashion industry and the difference between private label clothing, wholesale, etc. is that most of the time what you see in one store, you can also find at another. This is because there are tradeshows that happen multiple times a year where retailers and boutique buyers go to find their product for the following seasons. These tradeshows are jampacked with wholesale vendors who sell their product in bulk and at a fraction of it's final price in stores.

Uber popular stores like Forever21 and Charlotte Russe buy from these wholesale companies that produce on trend items for an inexpensive price. Since these massive clothing chains turnaround so much product, the wholesale company is willing to set up "private label" accounts--meaning they might create their original product but add the Forever21 label on it. If their contracts allow, a wholesale company might sell the same item to multiple stores who also want product with personalized labels--this is the reason why you might have come across identical items at two different stores.

Moral of the story: Certain stores might sell the exact same item for a higher/lower price than their competitor, which is why you should always do your research.

(*Read more about this in my bullet point below.)

My Favorites: Bear with me as my list of favorite sites might seem a tad random. My usual picks are feminine and easy-to-wear pieces. I typically purchase dresses, shirts, shoes, skirts, and accessories online (since things like jeans are something I'd rather try on in-store).  

  • Tilly's has been the spot for day dresses, basic t-shirts, and even the unmentionables (I'm not sorry for buying $.50 cent underwear on, they're adorable. No judgement). My most recent purchase happened on a day that all their sale merchandise was an extra 20% off. I bought two sundresses, a maxi dress, and a t-shirt for $25 (which already included shipping and tax). WIN. More often than not you can find a coupon code online for free shipping or an extra discount percentage  for Tilly's, a little trick I'll talk about down below.

  • is one of my favorite sites for shoe shopping. As I said before, many companies purchase the same product, but might sell it for a lower price than their competitors. For example, I am a lover of all things It's a perfectly curated online boutique of feminine and vintage pieces. However, I realized they purchase from some of the same wholesale vendors that Go Jane does. I had been waiting for Ruche to restock these perfect coral bow heels for my graduation outfit, but weeks came and went and they never did. was my backup as I searched for shoes to match my grad dress. To my surprise, the exact coral bow heels were in-stock on Go Jane, for $20 less and I even had a coupon code for 15% off my final purchase. I ended up paying about $23 less than what I would have paid originally. It pays (literally) to do be patient for the right deals to come along. (Also check out is very similar to Go Jane--for an awesome selection of jackets and shoes at super reasonable prices!)

  • is actually a wholesale clothing company based in downtown Los Angeles. I stumbled upon them by chance and decided to give it a try. Though some of their product isn't my normal style, I was surprised at how many great things I was able to find. My favorite things to purchase from LnL is dresses and jewlery. Oh, and did I mention nothing is more than $7.99? Uh-mazing. My favorite turqouise ring was only $1.99 and you can buy it here.

   Coupon Codes: Don't checkout your virtual shopping cart until you've searched for  extra discount codes on coupon websites. You can find them by Googling something like this: "Charlotte Russe Coupon Code October 2012." I typically will click through the first 5 links that appear. Once (if) I find one, I'll copy the code and then enter it into my shopping cart. I normally score a free shipping code or codes for up to 20% off, that can make a huge difference!

That's all the online shopping tidbits I have for you now. I'll continue to expand this list as I think of more useful tips. Happy shopping!

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