Shopping Tip #5: Online Tricks of the Trade

If you’re upset because you missed the slew of holiday sales, are frustrated that you didn’t get what you wanted this past holiday season, or you’re just getting a jump start on resort wear / Spring attire, I’m sure you’ve realized: online shopping is now your best friend. Whether you have limited time to shop or you live in an area that doesn’t offer many retail stores that tickle your fancy, e-commerce can broaden your horizons. From designers you’ve never heard of to styles your town has never seen, the glorious land of Internet Shopping has helped (or plagued) women for years. Online shopping isn’t just simply shopping online. It allows you to bounce from site to site to hunt for a deal, whereas doing the same while shopping in person takes hours bouncing from store to store.You’re able to save time (theoretically) and money after a little practice.

Price hunting online is a skill to acquire. But it can easily be achieved with the help of a few particular websites. Everyone has their favorites, but here are a few of mine:

∞  ShopStyle: Browse top name brands on the site itself, or click on SALEAlerts where you’re able to 1. Enter your email address, 2. Designate which brands you care about most, and 3. Choose the frequency of which you would like to receive sale alert emails: multiple times daily, daily, or weekly. It all depends: How much do you like to shop? Or, even better: How full does your inbox get on a daily basis?

∞  Shop It To Me: 1. Designate your favorite brands, 2. Choose your size, 3. Let the Shop It To Me team do their work! As your chosen brands begin to put items on sale, you will receive email notifications about items that are actually in your size! This page gives you the full low down about their system. NOTE: Again, make sure you set the frequency that you would like to receive emails: daily, weekly, or twice weekly.

∞  Hukkster: The rookie on the scene, I fell in love with Hukkster and the Hukking team almost instantly. After signing in with either Facebook or Gmail, you’re able to drag their “Hukk It” button to live up in your browser bar. As you’re online shopping, click the button: your item is now saved to your “Hukks” in your account. Once the item goes on sale you will receive an email notification telling you so! Maybe it was out of your price range at full price, but sale price is on point 😉 Since the site was launched fairly recently (2012, I believe) not all sites are fully enabled (i.e. You’re able to designate desired color & size on Victoriassecret.com, but not on Nordstrom.com). Nearly all items are Hukk-able, but some offer further specification for what you’re looking for. I love this because my inbox is ALWAYS too full—this tells me about the items I actually want to buy, not just the brands I like. What’s not to love about that? (Stay tuned, I’ll be tweeting updates about more available sites as I see them!)


Another glorious trick to knocking off a few additional dollars to most of your online purchases: Online Couponing! I have finagled my way into getting 1. Free shipping, 2. Employee discounts (once, accidentally!), and 3. 10% off or more. While some people may be loyalists to a particular site for this, I simply type into Google such phrases as “[store name] coupon code” or “[store name] discount code.” Within seconds a slew of sites come up. NOTE: Not all coupon codes are created equal. Many are expired, but after quickly clicking and skimming the first 3-4 search results often times at least one of them works. Consistent sites that pop up are:

 

And remember ladies:

Shop smart, Shop confidently 🙂

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Shopping Tip #4: Clean Out Your Closet

With the holiday season looming ahead, I thought this would be something you ladies might want to start thinking about. Since the holidays always mean shopping, gifts, and giving, we seem to always acquire new clothing during these upcoming weeks. May it be from falling into the “one gift for you, one gift for me” trap, trading clothes with girlfriends as they’ve cleaned out their closets, or maybe you’ve splurged on a few extra Fall wardrobe pieces. Bottom line: it’s time to weed out the clothes you don’t want/like/need anymore and make room for potential new items.

I am one of those women who curates their closet. If I haven’t worn something new within a certain time frame, there’s a good chance I simply won’t ever wear it. Or, if I am not as fond about a garment when looking through last season’s clothes I will put it aside for donation to the Salvation Army. If I won’t enjoy it any more, someone else will. In finding out my own weird nuances about my closet, I’ve figured out some very handy tips that I think every woman will benefit from.

1. Keep all receipts paper-clipped to the tags until you actually remove the tags to wear the garment.

This will save time when looking for the receipt, and it will also catch your eye each time you’re in your closet. If you see the bulky paper receipt flowing down the sleeve of an unworn blouse enough times you will be more inclined to either rip the tags off and wear it, or realize that you have no idea why you bought the item in the first place. This exercise is a great way to realize which items cause you buyer’s remorse so you can consciously avoid making similar purchases in the future.

2. If you have not worn the garment after 2+months of owning—return it.

If you haven’t been concocting ways to wear that new blazer or pair of shoes, you’re not as in love with it as you thought you were the first moment you saw it. In-store displays and digital photography on websites can do wonders to entice shoppers to buy items they don’t really need. If you haven’t rushed to put it on yet, let it simmer in your closet for a few weeks. If you’re still not in love with it, back to the store it goes!

3. If you own items you have not reached for in 6+months—donate it.

Obviously seasons change within the course of 6 months, but if you don’t even reach for a particular garment within a Spring/Summer or Fall/Winter cycle then really ask yourself if you’re going to wear it again. If it sits in your closet for any longer than 6-7 months, donate it to someone who will get good wear out of it. If you really think your tastes will change back in that garment’s favor, hold on to it in a separate pile. But if it doesn’t even cross your mind for an outfit, give it away.

4. If you own items that you say “after I lose those 5lbs…”—donate it.

If the item didn’t fit you when you bought it, it won’t fit the more it sits in your closet. If you’ve owned it for a while and are anticipating a weight-loss to help you fit into something again be realistic with yourself: how long have you been telling yourself you were going to lose 5lbs? How long have you owned the garment? If the time frame is similar donate the item to someone who will actually fit into it. Or, use this as a wake-up call to finally take it to the tailor’s.

This will keep your wardrobe lean and up-to-date with your style. Who wants to go shopping now? 😉

 

 

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Shopping Tip #3: Do Your Homework

Being a savvy shopper is being a smart shopper. You should never buy a high-ticket item you like without shopping around a little bit. If I have my sights set on a pair of shoes I always check multiple websites and stores to see who has the lowest price (free shipping is a huge plus too!!). I say shoes in particular because I find myself doing this with shoes the most. I find a pair I fall in love with from Bloomingdale’s. Then I pop over to Zappos.com to see what price they have. Then I go to the brand’s actual site. Then I do a Google search. Then I compare all my findings and make my purchase.

It’s all about weighing your options.

This tactic isn’t for everyone; Some of my friends hate me for doing this. Certain women enjoy the satisfaction of obtaining the item in-person in-store once they see it; others enjoy the satisfaction of obtaining the item for the lowest price possible; then there’s me: I enjoy going to the store to try it on, see if I like how the garment suites me, then: ask about sales, shop around in stores, shop around online, compare pricing, make final purchase.

Shop smart, shop confidently 🙂

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Keeping Your Unmentionables Unmentioned

I want to first apologize for the incredibly poor quality of the following photos–I took them at night using my iPhone without a flash. I’m only using them to demonstrate a point: This is NOT OK to do. Never should a woman be donning a fun-backed dress with a nude colored bra blatantly showing. You are not deceiving anyone; even if your bra is a “nude” color, it does not simulate you being nude when it shows.

In the photo to the left, the blue box simply outlines where the dress’s decorative back is: it’s a simple crossback/racerback style made a bit more interesting with the differing widths of the stripes in the fabric. The lighter, smaller box outlines this bar-goer’s fashion foul because I know it may be difficult to see with the grainy picture quality. The photo to the right is just a side angle, and demonstrates that not all friends will be honest about how you look.

If a dress has an interesting back like this, make sure you are able to do the dress justice by wearing the appropriate undergarments to showcase both you and the dress’s design (this post & this post may help). This means minimal–if ANY–bra showing. This is not attractive nor flattering for this girl. I saw this fashion foul when I was visiting my hometown in July. She was out with a few other girlfriends to celebrate someone’s 21st birthday.

Regardless of whether or not you are the honoree for your fun night out, you should always dress to impress. I don’t say that to be snooty or to say that “you should dress to impress others.” I say that because you should dress to impress no one else except yourself. If you aren’t impressed by your outfit in some way (fit, color combo, style, trying something new, overall flattery), think of how that is linked to your self-confidence. Then think of how others will see you in that outfit throughout the rest of the night. How will you feel (mentally, physically, or emotionally) for the rest of your night? If your response is anything other than stellar, reevaluate your look for the evening.

Redefining “Practical”

Practical

It’s a word I hear too often here in DC, specifically when it comes to clothing and self expression. “That’s not practical, why would you buy that drape-y jacket?” “That color isn’t practical, pick a more natural hair color.” “That height isn’t practical, you should buy a lower heel.” You get the point. Since when has “practical” become so dull? Does something need to be classified as “impractical” for it to be fun to look at?

DC fashion is often too “practical” for my taste–too safe, too influenced by conservative suits and politics. Living in DC, I’ve noticed that Prep tends to be the norm, the “practical.” Prep may not be the norm of your hometown, but still, since when has there been a norm to fashion? Something that’s inventive and daring is always more interesting than something that’s safe. When I say daring, I don’t mean scantily clad or revealing, I simply mean not part of the norm, not considered practical by most.

My fellow DC style enthusiasts and fellow style bloggers make their efforts with every post to influence the women of our nation’s capital to be more inventive with their wardrobe. I applaud all of you! I love each of your individual styles, and wish more women everywhere were daring enough to express themselves through their clothing.

Regardless of where you live: DC, Rhode Island, Michigan, Nebraska–don’t be afraid to express your style to the fullest. Its an expression of YOU not of the “norm” you live in. ENJOY dressing yourself in the morning. And remember:

Practical ≠ Boring