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A passion for online fashionCreated by Verity in Being You, Fashion and beauty
Many of us live to shop, but there are ways of getting your dose of retail therapy without having to pound the pavements, brave the crowds and deal with indifferent sales assistants. Thanks to the catalogues and the Internet, there’s a whole world of shopping options out there, which will have you looking your groomed and glamorous best without even having to leave the comfort of your own home.
In fact, when you think about it, why would anyone ever want to shop on the High Street? You have to rifle through disorganised racks to look for your size, which will invariably end up being in the stockroom, while the fitting rooms, as well as boasting horrifically unflattering lighting, are often not even big enough to swing a teabag in, let alone the proverbial cat. By the time you emerge, sweaty, disgruntled and dishevelled from its cramped confines, how on earth are you supposed to feel good about what you see in the mirror?
On that note, there’s another factor that’s worth taking into consideration before you sally forth to the shops. In recent years, the lines between age groups, and what’s appropriate for them to wear, have become increasingly blurred; gone are the days of matronly granny wear, with many of the fashions worn by women in their 20s and 30s also worn by women of 40 and over. While this is great news for young and young-at-heart grannies, the choices available can make shopping a little daunting and even intimidating. If you’re going to try on a pair of skinny jeans and decide that they make you look like mutton dressed as lamb, it’s preferable that this conclusion should come from you, rather than from the disdainful eye of the 22-year-old sales assistant. You can also get some very useful, non-intrusive fashion advice on-line from experts.
Far better, then, to select clothes ‘remotely’ where you can see at a glance whether your desired item, size and colour is in stock, and have them delivered to you at home, where you can try them on in the space and comfort of your own bedroom. This will also give you the opportunity to try items on with pieces that you already have in your wardrobe. After all, it can be hard to visualise how outfits might work together, and impractical to take existing pieces shopping with you.
Sure, there’s something to be said for being able to touch and see clothing before you buy it – but internet shopping is so sophisticated now that the images are crystal clear, often with options to enlarge or view from a different angle. Full details, including fabric composition and care instructions, are generally also given.
What about delivery charges? Due to how competitive the market is, these are usually minimal, and often waived if you spend over a certain amount. Most companies will also offer periodic discounts and specials on postage and packing; signing up to receive newsletters when you register as a customer will give you access to notification of forthcoming delivery promotions, as well as sales, specials and new season’s items (Boden is great for this!). Returning items is also relatively cost-effective, especially when you compare what you would have spent if you’d ventured out to the shops: factor in travel costs, plus the restorative coffee and cake that you’d inevitably need (and deserve!), and you’ve easily clocked up just as much, if not more, than delivery and return combined would have cost you.
For those of us who don’t have a particular flair for fashion, online shopping can also be a boon since most of the clothing websites you’ll find will offer outfit suggestions based on the item you’re viewing. For instance, if you’re looking at a shirt, you’ll often be offered a handful of trouser or skirt options that would work well with your choice. It’s much the same as what a sales assistant might do – but makes you feel far less awkward and pressured – and saves you the bother of having to trawl through the site for coordinating pieces.
One last benefit of ‘remote’ shopping is the sheer scope of what you’ll find on offer. After all, not everyone lives in a big city with a plethora of shops at their disposal, but everyone can access catalogues and the net and get their hands on a far broader range than their local shops offer.
Once you start shopping this way, you’ll find no end of places to stock up your wardrobe. If you’re totally new to it, you may be more comfortable with buying from brands that you’re familiar with from the High Street, such as Marks & Spencer, but once you’re in the swing of buying remotely, branch out into brands and labels that are purely internet and mail-order based – you’re bound to be the best-dressed and most-informed granny around!
By Sarah Rodrigues