This week, I started a Pinterest Board called “Virtual Closet . Fall 2015“. Basically, I’ve spent some time on each of my favorite clothing sites and have been pinning my favorite looks to one spot. I like this better than creating shopping carts on various sites because then I have all of my favorites in one place. They don’t disappear, and I can compare my finds from each store.
Believe it or not, I do have a method when online shopping. It’s similar to my creative process when I’m brainstorming photo ideas: I start big and narrow down.
Usually, I start by browsing on more expensive sites. I like to read the product descriptions and learn about cuts, materials, and fits of each garment. I also like to see the trends from big designers. It’s a great use of the imagination. 😉 Next, I move along to inexpensive sites, like Forever 21–they have almost every trend posted to their homepage in a timely matter. It’s fun to find similar items to the designer pieces at a lower price point! Sometimes I copy key words from a product description into Google to see what else pops up so I can check if there are similar items out there I may like better. It’s just a matter of deciding what to splurge on and where to save.
For instance, I find plenty of super cheap (and cute) denim from places like Forever21 & H&M, but I know it’s likely they won’t last. My favorite place to splurge on denim is Madewell–in fact, it’s what they’re known for (and for being J. Crew’s ‘sister store’). I worked there for a summer and fall and learned a tremendous amount about the denim crafting process, make and wash of each style of jean. Each store has a “denim bar” where the stylists help guests pick washes, sizes, and cuts that best work for their body type. Their denim is really a work of art–I especially love the high rise options.
The entire time I’m browsing, I add anything I like to my Pinterest Boards, and/or shopping cart, and let them sit a while. I find it’s nice to remove myself from the screen after some time because when I come back, I’m usually already over a handful of items, so I remove them.
I don’t always make purchases when I go through this long process. In fact, I often feel rewarded enough just looking at the items, and it inspires me to dig deeper into my own closet to get creative with my daily styling regimen.
As nerdy as it sounds, I really like to study what various shops are carrying online before I go shopping. That way, I don’t feel so overwhelmed and I can have a sense of direction and focus.
I love to check the SALE/CLEARANCE section of any site I’m on (or any store I’m in). There are always some hidden gems. In college and just after, especially when working in retail, I was kind of a serial shopper so I spent a “little” money on a lot of items. It always ended up costing me more in the long run. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve really gotten to know my personal style, so it stops me from buying something just because it’s trendy. This winter, I put myself on a spending freeze to help prepare for the expense of having a baby, and it really opened my eyes to how much money I saved when I wasn’t shopping all the time. I allow myself to shop now and then, but that hiatus helped me to appreciate the rewards of saving and living with a more minimalist mindset.
Overall, I try to find a good balance of high quality pieces, and inexpensive, fun looks. When I’m spending more on one thing, I don’t buy as much and I really appreciate the item more. I also really love to support local designers, boutiques, and artists when I can and I’m always open to finding new places to shop!
One last bit of advice: follow the washing instructions given to you by the stylist/sales associate for every item you buy. If they don’t break it down for you, read the tag carefully. I rarely dry my clothing, and I almost always do a cold/delicate wash cycle. I like to hang my items up as soon as they’re done washing. I will add that a steamer was one of the best purchases I’ve ever made to keep my clothes looking crisp and put together on a day-to-day basis. Nothing ruins a great outfit like sloppy wrinkles!
My Favorite Places to Shop:
MADEWELL [I worked at Madewell in the summer&fall of 2013] & J. CREW & J. CREW FACTORY [all the same company]
FREE PEOPLE & ANTHRO & URBAN OUTFITTERS [all the same company]
FOREVER 21, H&M, TARGET & OLD NAVY
I hope this post was helpful! Follow my Pinterest boards for more upcoming online finds!