If, like me, you’re always greedy to buy but short on funds, let me share a few of my favourite haunts with you. These places are, to me, like a 20-pack of Marlboros to a reformed smoker….they drive me craaazy and always deliver something aspirational, no matter how much I avert my gaze. But if you’re gonna spend, then spend wisely (my motto – feel free to share/pass on to your children). So, here we go.
First up is www.vestiairecollective.com. Ah, Vestiaire, my old reliable, and a staple part of my daily life since I discovered it in summer 2012. It sells second-hand designer goods (and boy are they fussy about labels) but, being a French site, it’s particularly brilliant for all those chic, edgy Parisian labels like Maje, Sandro and The Kooples. Their vetting service is second to none so, if you buy a second-hand designer item, you’re guaranteed it’s genuine. Great savings to be made if you’re happy to accept ‘preloved’ goods (although, having said that, many of the items are brand new with tags). The site is okay to navigate but the app is much more advanced. The returns policy is a bit disappointing (as long as the Vestiaire labels are still attached, you can return an item but it is put back up for sale, meaning that you only get your money back if/when someone else buys the item). Still, I’ve made quite a few purchases here over the last 12-18 months and have always been happy. Another important point to note with regards Vestiaire is that it’s also a brilliant place to sell online. So, if you’re lucky enough to have some posh threads hanging around your wardrobe, unwanted, then stick them up on Vestiaire and make yourself a bit of spending money.
Second, www.theoutnet.com. The poor relation of netaporter.com, The Outnet sells on the last-season stock but, if you’re not too fussy about only owning clothes made yesterday (as opposed to three minutes ago), then this place is more than worth a look – and with every hot label from Marni and Alexander McQueen to Balmain on its books, it’s not exactly your typical ‘discount store’. The discounts are phenomenal, ranging from approximately 25% to 70% percent. Add to that the fact that every Friday the site throws in an additional discount on a specific theme (sequins, workwear, Parisian chic) plus the occasional Outnet sale and, well, wow. This place is definitely my go-to for occasion dressing – I find I can pick up really special designer dresses for a fraction of the original price. The site is also great for shoes and accessories. P&P is a bit steep but, for returns etc, they’re top-notch.
In joint second place, it has to be, without a doubt, www.asos.com. Asos has to be responsible for at least 50% of my wardrobe and no surprise. The site is huge and offers everything from men’s undies to designer iPad cases. It literally stocks everything, and at good prices with free P&P and regular sales and discount codes. Everything abut this site is a winner. If forced, under duress and physical torture maybe, to find a negative, however, it would probably have to be that the site is so mind-blowingly extensive that it can be hard to know where to start. Then again, that has yet to stop me…
Next up, myhabit.com. Again, this site just feeds the addiction. There are regular sales on designer labels, with listings at the bottom of the home page indicating who’s up next. The reductions are great but, being a US site, it’s not the most practical for European use, as P&P and VAT have to be factored in. Not my first choice of shopping outlet, but certainly worth a visit if you fancy a browse.
And of course, when you’re not browsing these four shopping meccas, it’s well worth signing up to other favourite stores for email updates. Internationally, Cos, Maje, Sandro, Stories…; in Ireland, Brown Thomas, Kildare Outlet Village, Seagreen, the list goes on….At least by signing up for news alerts, you’ll be informed as soon as a sale starts and you won’t be left mourning what could have been after it’s too late!
Keep an eye on this page over time, as I intend to come back and update it as I (undoubtably) discover more pocket-pleasing fashion sites. And, lovely readers, all suggestions will be gratefully received and passed on. What sites do you recommend?