February 25 2010
I used to hate shopping for clothes online. Why? I couldn’t understand how anyone could purchase something without trying it on. And yet, these fears have slowly been assuaged. With websites such as Asos.com, which allow you to return unsatisfactory items at no extra expense within 14 days of receipt – they even supply the packaging – life as an internet shopping devotee has become more attractive.
Perhaps it’s this increased facility or, if truth be told, my growing desire to hunt for bargains from the comfort of my own swivel chair, that has made me, even if I do say so myself, into something of an internet retail expert. One of my proudest shopping moments, for instance, came recently when I found a butter-soft black leather skirt (very autumn/winter 09) reduced from £150 to £40. Although it was selling on the aforementioned Asos.com website, I did not, in fact, stumble across the bargain there. Indeed, for all Asos.com’s considerable charms, their sheer hundreds and thousands of products, to be found in every nook and cranny on the website, makes finding a specific needle in an enormous haystack a little challenging.
This is where my new favourite, how-on-earth-did-I-cope-without-it-beforehand, website comes in. Shopstyle.co.uk is essentially a fashion search engine: type in, say, “black leather skirt” and it will source all the black leather skirts on sale from all the retail websites you can name (and they have a US version too – www.shopstyle.com). Skirts then emerge, in an easily navigable stream, from retail sources that range from Asos, Net-a-Porter, Topshop and Urban Outfitters to Browns boutique, and in a range of price points.
Click on the desired item, and you will be taken directly to the relevant website for a closer look. Imagine the time-saving in that? Needless to say, life as an avid internet shopper has been good ever since. And where would I have been without my black leather skirt?