People worry about shopping for apparel and accessories on the Internet since they feel it's risky — that an item may not look like the picture or be the exact color or right size. TODAY style contributor Stacy London explains how to shop the Internet with serious style savvy:
How to find the best sites
Use a search engine to find the kind of item you are looking for. Better still, search for the name of the designer you like. Most designers have Web sites, and even if you can't purchase from them directly, the site will usually tell you where you can purchase their items in stores and online. Additional tips:
- Look at magazine credits for site listings.
- TV shows like "Gossip Girl" actually tell you what the actors are wearing and where to find the items on their Web site.
Finding a good fit
When purchasing clothes, look for sites with extensive FIT guides like Nordstrom.com. Their site has an advanced search feature that allows you to shop by size, brand, color or price. They provide fit recommendations based on body type, make notations describing exactly how the clothes are cut and offer diagrams for measuring your body in the customer service section — and you can engage in a live e-mail chat with a customer service representative while you shop.
Affordable accessories Zappos.com has more inventory than any bricks-and-mortar store. They have 3 million products and more than 1,000 brands. They carry hard-to-fit sizes, even vegan shoes! You can search by style, color, material, brand, price, size, even heel height! Look for free shipping and return on good sites like this. They pride themselves on customer service and representatives can also help you choose bags as well as apparel for your shoes.
Bags: We all love big fancy designer bags, but they are so expensive and there's a new "it" bag every season. At BagBorrowSteal.com, you can rent the of-the-moment bag by the week or the month and return it for the next one! Of course, if you fall in love with a particular bag, you can buy it from the site as well.
Jewelry: There are great bargains to be found on Web sites devoted to modern jewelry. On MaxandChloe.com, you can search within price ranges that start under $50 and go to over $500.
- Bluefly.com, where you can find designer clothing and accessories discounted up to 40 percent. They also have a great fit guide at bfly.com (a sister site) for up-to-the-minute contemporary styles.
Plus perfectPlus-size is the most underserved market in the fashion industry. There is a limited selection of places to shop, but more resources are popping up online all the time. LeeLeesValise.com is a store in Brooklyn devoted to women size 10 to 28. Lisa, the owner, prides herself on working with designers to come up with great designs to serve this market. Her Web site allows everyone access to her inventory. She does podcasts on trend reports, style updates and best fit for your body. And if you have questions, call her while you peruse the site and you will understand the true meaning of "retail therapy." She'll be your best friend by the time you hang up.
Trying the trendsWant hard-to-find, emerging or high-end designers for apparel, accessories and shoes? Don't live in New York or L.A.? Or near a supertrendy boutique? One-stop shopping is easy at RevolveClothing.com. Working with celebrity stylists, RevolveClothing.com has seasonal style guides, trend articles and forecasts, celebrity style features and look books created by the designers themselves. Together these features create a "virtual stylist" to help you get an entire outfit and that celebrity style just right, and they also offer free shipping and return.
Note: All the Web sites in this segment are secure. But as a precaution, when purchasing items online, use an actual credit card, not a debit card. Should your card be used for fraudulent purposes, it will not affect your actual bank account, and credit card companies ensure that you are not charged for purchases you did not make.