Top 10 online shopping tips

KATHLEEN LEE-JOE
Last updated 13:32 18/03/2013
Online shopping

DIGITAL STYLE: Lookbook images from Equipment's latest collection, which can be pre-ordered on quick-to-get-stock site Moda Operandi.

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I blame online shopping for the suffering of my social life. On many a Friday eve, you'll find me making fantasy online shopping collages while dropping chip seasoning onto my keyboard, a much more attractive option than cover charge and overpriced alcohol. There's no guiltier pleasure than clicking 'Checkout Now' near midnight and few things more satisfying than finding a FedEx box on your front porch.

Going online comes up tops for convenience, variety and cost, but can be overwhelming. With so many options out there, it's hard to know where to start. Just like navigating your way around a multi-storey, spiral-structured shopping centre, you need a plan of attack. Here are some tips for taking the stress out of the situation.

1. Get tips on how-to-wear from different websites. Thinking of buying something but stumped on how to style it? A lot of online stores stock the same items, but pair them with different things in their display photos.  You could wear this shirt like this or this.

2. Actual shopping centres are sooo early '00s. There are now online shopping emporiums like FashioNZFarFetch and Polyvore that act like search engines for clothes, allowing you to find exactly what you want based on brand, style, colour and size.

3. You can't always trust virtual catwalks and augmented reality "change rooms" to give you an accurate sense of fit and feel. Cue "showrooming". The sneaky practice of visiting physical stores and trying on their wares, before looking them up and buying them for cheaper online. We're not the only ones, right?  

4. Don't drop an exorbitant amount on 1-2 day shipping. You may be giving patience a slap in the face, but is that slap really worth $32 on top of your already-expensive purchase? There's so much pleasure in getting a shipping number and tracking your package right to your door.

5. Have a read of customer feedback, but be wary of website recommendations (you'll find yourself loading 20 things into your cart if you were to blindly follow Amazon's). Reviews on the other hand offer great pointers in terms of quality and what size to order.

6. Check for promo codes. A lot of websites have free shipping offers, student discounts and savings upon signing up to their newsletter. You just have to do your research.

7. What do you do when you can only find that rare Kawakubo cocoon coat on a Japanese website that doesn't provide an English translation or ship to Australia? Try a proxy service. They'll converse with the retailers on your behalf, bid on items and organise shipment, from wherever your dream item happens to be. Just do your due diligence and check for reviews first.

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8. Don't be scared to buy vintage online. According to WWD, online consignment stores are the best place to score designer bargains since flash-sale sites.

9. Psst! Tuesday isn't just cheap pizza and movie day, it's also the day online shops tend to post sales and upload new items.

10. You have your go-to shops in real life so why not have a list online? We've compiled a few of our favourites worthy of a bookmark.

Our Top 10 Shops Worth Bookmarking

Boohoo - This site is all about affordable fast fashion. 

Thanks Yo - An NZ site that stocks hip labels like Ksubi and Stolen Girlfriends Club. 

My Chameleon ­ - This Australian store ships to NZ and offers a carefully curated selection of emerging labels, for any style chameleon. A favourite among the blogger set! 

Moda Operandi ­- The first retailer that lets you pre-order looks straight off the runway. It ships to NZ. 

Barneys - They have recently moved their famous Warehouse Sale online!

La Garconne - We love their darling, tomboy-styled editorials.

The Grand Social - We go here (and Maximillia) for a good blend of Kiwi and Aussie designers. 

Etsy ­- Where you're paying for craftsmanship, not a brand name.

Claire Incorruptible - Belinda Humphris' amazing online destination for vintage ready-to-wear or couture.

Shop Ghost - This technically isn't a store, but is an online 'zine, with amazing wish list items curated by super stylist Stevie Dance.

- Daily Life

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