Christmas is so close, we can almost taste the Lebkuchen. As my friend Mr. Christmas of Portland would utter, there are 35 days left! Have you finished your gift finding, purchasing and wrapping? If not, I’ll give you a few tips from a self-proclaimed professional online shopper (myself) on how to save on gifts during this holiday season.
I don’t like shopping—well, allow me to clarify. I hate malls. Slugging through thousands of user-worn clothes while 16 year old girls mean mug me for posing a threat to take their manly, prepubescent man is an environment of my own personal hell. It doesn’t matter which mall or which store you’re in, you are bound to be pestered by over-eager men and women who are paid on commission (which makes it extremely hard to blame them for the pestering); a preteen child who is dressed in a way that they ought not to be; your olfactory perception will thrown off by the heavy scent of cinnabon, greasy pizza and boiled hotdogs; and there will be at least three screaming, mucus-covered children fingering the silk dress you were eying. If I can avoid that mess, I will. Readily.
Know what I’ve realized while avoiding shopping centers? Most of whatever you could ever want apparel wise can be found online, and for much, much cheaper.
There is some risk involved when purchasing from online boutiques. You don’t know if they’re legitimate sites (protip: if it looks sketchy, it is. Walk away. If you can’t tell a site that is legitimate from a MS Paint concoction, you need to surf the web more). You don’t know if it will arrive in one piece. You are risking that the article in question won’t fit. The best sites are the ones that have the measurements of the models and what size they’re dressed in—you’d be surprised by the amount of stick thin models who have to wear mediums in some brands. You’re going to find this more in outlet boutiques and less in stores like J.Crew, Madewell, Nordstrom, etc. This is much trickier with shoes, because every pair of shoe fits differently—I tend to buy those in-store, just to be safe. Some people enjoy walking in uncomfortable stilts, I figure that if I’m going to be walking around in something that makes me four inches taller and place all pressure in one concentrated area, I might as well be comfortable. Let’s just say that you’re already confident in your ability to take a risk or two!
I’ll list some boutique sites that I really enjoy, have had positive experiences with, include my reference link if you want to register, and hopefully score some sweet deals for the holidays!
– Fab.com. Fashion for men/fashion for women/home decor. This site is primarily home decor of the peculiar and unique variety. Want colorful and quirky? If you can wade through the hipsterism that nearly outweighs the cool products, you can definitely find something for everyone.
– Hautelook. Fashion for men/fashion for women/fashion for kids/home decor/beauty products. I really like Hautelook. They were recently bought up by Nordstrom (unfortunate for the slight price increase and the decrease of mid-range brands), but the selection tends to be excellent, the quality never lacks in anything I’ve purchased and the customer service is phenomenal. Although they don’t have them often, their “blowout” sales are freakin’ crazy! I tend to stock up on jewelry for my friend’s birthdays when I see one that I like.
– Ideeli. Fashion for men/fashion for women/home decor. While some of the clothes on this site definitely scream “hello, I’m having a midlife crisis and coping with sequins,” Ideeli generally has a pretty large selection of budget-safe brands. The only complaint I have is the timeliness of shipping—seriously, it’s something they need to work on. They’re having crazy promotions for the holidays, though, which means it would get to you in time for gifting. Woop woop!
– MyHabit. Fashion for men/fashion for women/fashion for kids/home decor. MyHabit has a lot of super cool brands and a pretty large mixture of super pricy brands (ie Derek Lam, Chloe) and smaller, more personal brands (Between the Sheets, Sweet Pea). It takes some digging for the fashionably frugal to find something budget friendly, but when you do, they aren’t tacky at all, and you can’t say that for everything (I’m looking at you beyondtherack). Best part? Free shipping.
– Stylemint. Fashion for women. Stylemint has some of the most comfortable cotton shirts! Ever! While the shirts may seem a bit pricy for some, it boasts an extensive sale section and all the products are made in the USA! Pretty cool, huh? However, I can’t vouch for the other Beachmint boutiques (intimint, shoemint, jewelmint).
Of course, I don’t buy everything from these stores and tend to wait for online sales to be slapped with a 30%-50% off coupons. Even if you have to wait for it to happen, it does, eventually, happen! For those, though, go to SHEFinds. They detail it in a way I never could here!
I know online shopping isn’t for everyone, but as far as I’m concerned, I’ve found my niche.