Category Archives: Online Shopping tips

Online Shopping Tip: “I’m sick of chain store crap!”

I hear ya girlfriend. The chain stores here are….shocking. That’s the only word I’ll write and refrain from unleashing. And we’re not just talking about quality but the ridiculous prices that are charged for those poor quality items. Shopping centres here in Australia are just as bad, filled with the same chain store after chain store. I swear if you’ve been to one Westfield, you’ve been to all of them because you just end seeing the same signs over and over again. However, having said that, if you’re like me and you’re busy and time-poor and barely have time to yourself, then the local shopping centre will just have to do if you need to go shopping. I hate to admit it but that’s what I used to do – duck down to the shops at work during lunch time and quickly buy the skirt or shoes I need for work and yes, it came from Witchery/Cue/Saba/Country Road/’insert name of chain store’.

Now that I’m on maternity leave, I’ve been enjoying the luxury of browsing through and finding some brands and designer that get me really interested and excited. Some are local, some are overseas but it’s refreshing to find some of these designers and boutiques that are different, unique and definitely not trying to copy the latest runway fashion.

So for those who want to look for something different or in need of style inspiration, here’s a few of my favourites…

1. They All Hate Us

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Fashion/lifestyle blog by 2 bestfriends based in Sydney. I LOVE their style because it’s exactly my style! Distressed denim, t-shirt, blazer or leather jacket and a classic bag is my idea of the perfect outfit.  I get so much inspiration from them and they use a wide variety of pieces to style their outfit – from the high end designer bags to simple cheap t-shirts from chainstores. It’s the way they style the outfits which I love. They also let you buy 10 key items they have picked each month so you can essentially copy their outfits. You can check out their website or follow them on instagram.

2. Anine Bing

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A Danish model/singer/mum and now designer. Again, I’m drawn to her collection because of the simplicity without it being boring kind of style she has going on. I’ll warn you up front – the pieces are NOT CHEAP but they’re good quality. I love her shoes and when I’m off my spending ban, I’m definitely buying those moccasins which are handmade. Shipping is free worldwide which is good and she has a lookbook if you’re looking for more style inspiration.

3. The Coveteur

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A great website showcasing fashion and style from all over the world. They have ‘Coveteurs’ who are people famous in their field and profiled on the website. Some of these coveteurs will have an open closet where you can shop similar items to those shown in their closet if you find something you really like. Or you can just go straight to the shop on their website where they have partnered up with a few merchants offering a range of brands that are not toooo mainstream. The Coveteur will just act as the middle man if you wish to purchase. Regardless of whether you by or not, I love this website and all the different styles that are shown here as well as some great reading – there’s bound to be something for everyone and no doubt you’ll get some great style ideas.

4. Basically Boutique

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An Australian online store which offers a select range of designers from around the world. Designers include Josh Goot, Viktoria + Woods (my FAV) and some less known ones such as By Zoe, Nicholas, Secret South. They also have a blog so you can get some styling ideas.

5. Joy Hysteric

Based on in QLD with a full online store, they mainly stock Australian designers such as Josh Goot, Dion Lee, Karla Spetic (LOVE), Camilla and Marc, Christopher Esber etc. It’s a great one stop shop for Australian designers, especially the ones I like. They offer free shipping if you purchase over $150. Keep in mind there’s HEAPS of other online boutiques that also stock Australian designers – these guys aren’t the only ones so if you have something in mind, shop around. 

5. Viktoria + Woods

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This is a standalone brand but one of my absolute favourites. Australian brand launched in 2003, their style is simple, wardrobe staple items that will last seasons and seasons. They’re known for their wool collection and most of their clothes are made in Australia. I want practically EVERYTHING in their current AW13 collection! They offer free shipping if you buy online.

So if you have the time, look around. There’s sooooooo many different brands, designers and styles out there – we are spoilt for choice yet due to price and time constraints, I think we tend to gravitate towards the ‘easier’ choices. If you want to invest in classic staple pieces, diversify your wardrobe and create your own style, I think you need to venture out of the normal shopping centre type of stores. I’m not saying they’re all bad, just don’t feel the need to support large chain stores all the time when they’re either copying the high end designer stuff or ripping us off with made in china crap.

Enjoy browsing and hopefully you get a little inspired to adventure out!

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Online Shopping Tip: Online shopping security review

With all of my posts encouraging you to shop online and save money, I thought it would be a good time to have a refresher on online shopping security and how you can be a bit smarter and adopt some simple practices to ensure you have a pleasant online experience.

Besides using your common sense, here are some of my tips based on my online shopping experiences:

1. DON’T STORE YOUR CREDIT CARD DETAILS!

A lot of merchants will give you the option of storing your credit card details with them for future use. This way, it’s convenient for you next time you make a purchase. The only thing they can’t save is your CCV. PLEASE don’t do this. Of course this seems so much easier, images (3)especially on sites you buy from frequently but it’s just not worth the risk! Whilst merchants need to abide by certain regulations and have minimum standards in place when storing credit card information, of course it’s not foolproof and if that site gets hacked, then your credit card details are in the open market. It might take additional 5 minutes, but manually enter your cc details EVERY time you make a purchase. Trust me, if you buy online often enough, you’ll memorise your card details so in time, it’ll be super quick. And this way, you can at least minimise the risk of your card details getting hacked.

2. Use your credit card, not your debit card

So these days, you can use your debit card to make ‘credit’ purchases. The difference is thatdownload (1) your debit card will withdraw the funds from your bank account to make the purchase. If you do use your debit card for online shopping and your card details become compromised or the merchant does a dodgy on you,  not only does your recourse options become a bit more limited but your savings account – your cash – is open and vulnerable.

If you use your credit card and something happens, you can dispute the transaction and usually get your money back. If you use your debit card and something happens, it becomes harder to say you had nothing to do with the transaction when the money has gone out of an account in your name. For online transactions, credit card is the way to go.

3. Make sure the payments page is secure

I’ve explained this in the online shopping basics post but will reiterate it again. When you have reached the payments part of the checkout process and you are about to enter your card details, just have a quick glance at the screen to check 2 things:

  • the website address starts with ‘https’ not ‘http’ as it usually is. The additional ‘s’ means the page is secure
  • you can see a padlock on your screen either at the bottom right hand corner or at the top next to the website address.

See screenshot below.

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4. Confirmation email after placing your order

Whilst this isn’t a failproof test, a legitimate merchant should have proper processes in place so that as soon as an order is placed, an email is generated and sent to the purchaser informing that the order has been received. After this, each time the order status changes, you should be receiving email updates to that effect. Lack of such emails could mean the site is fake and they have just taken your credit card details – and when you check back a few days later because you haven’t heard from them, their whole website could be gone. So if you don’t receive any communication from the merchant, get onto it ASAP and contact your credit card company straight away – you may even be able to stop it before they put charges on your card.

5. Read store reviews

There’s been a few of these sites popping up – a place where customer review online stores and you can look one up prior to making purchases. These sites will pay for people to write reviews as a way to incentivise them – it’s not a lot so you would have to be consistently writing reviews to earn anything remotely decent. Also, you need to give them proof of purchase – order number from the store you are reviewing – so they know you’re not just making things up. These kind of places can be handy if you want to buy from a store you have never tried before. If a lot of people have given poor ratings with bad comments, then you know to stay away. These are the ones I know of:

www.estorereview.com.au

www.productreview.com.au

6. Contact the store

If you’re still really unsure of a merchant and you still really want to order from there, then download (2)contact the retailer before placing the order. If the website doesn’t even contact details, then definitely stay away – it screams ‘I am dodgy and will take your money!’ If they respond to you timely and seems legitimate, then I guess you can go ahead and order from them. Having said that, I’m very particular about where I order from and even if another place is selling for cheaper, if I have never heard of them (and I know a LOT of online stores) or the website doesn’t look good enough, then I wouldn’t go near them. Again, use your common sense.

Hopefully some of these tips serve as a timely reminder as you all go about making online purchases. We do tend to get a bit lax as time goes by and that’s when you can make a simply, silly mistake and your card details become compromised.

Happy smart shopping and hope you all got your Mother’s Day presents ready!

 

Online Shopping Tip: “I need to buy clothes for my husband!”

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So I had a few other posts I was going to write up but over the weekend, my husband decided he needed new business shirts for work and of course, I would be the one to look for them and buy them at the best price. After almost 8 years of marriage, he and I both know that I know what looks good on him better than he does and so it’s easier if I buy it for him. And this got me thinking – I’m sure this is a very common occurrence in many households…..and whilst it wasn’t always like this for us, especially before kids, now it’s just more efficient if I buy for him and he can try it on at home. We both save time and time is precious when you work full time and have 2 kids to spend time with.

So for all you lovely ladies who are nice enough to buy clothes for your other half, I’ve put together some sites you might like to browse…

Saks Fifth Avenue, Bloomingdales, Neiman Marcus, Barneys New York – your usual department stores in the US have a great selection of menswear online. Formal, casual, shoes and accessories – this can be your one stop shop if you need to buy across different categories. As with any overseas purchases, just be careful with shipping, return policies and sizing. Oh, and don’t pay full price – they have promotional and sales events very frequently so wait and score a good deal.

Harrods, Selfridges, Debenams, John Lewis, House of Fraser – UK department stores that again sell a range of menswear from different brands and deliver to Australia. I think Harvey Nichols is the only place that doesn’t deliver (feel free to correct me if I’m wrong – my UK knowledge is not as strong as the US!)

If department stores aren’t your thing or don’t have what you’re looking for, how about some of these?

Charles Tyrwitt

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UK brand specialising in mens businesswear and women’s shirts. I found them through my sister in law who bought her groomsmen’s suits and shirts from here and found the quality to be fantastic and very reasonably priced. They’ve set up an Australian website so you can purchase in AUD. They still come from the UK so will take a bit of time to be shipped but at the moment, they are having a great sale and shirts are cheap as $40 for high quality non-iron 100% cotton business shirts. With variable sleeves lengths and customisation available, I can’t speak more highly of this brand. Better than Thomas Pink any day!

Mr Porter

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The men’s version of Net-a-Porter, Mr Porter stocks a range of designer items specifically for men. Suits, shirts, accessories, bag, shoes and casual wear, this site is great if your man wants a high end brand or you’re looking for a special present for an occasion. Just keep in mind delivery is £20 but the service is the same exceptional service as Net-a-Porter so you’re in safe hands.

Matches Fashion

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This Net-a-Porter equivalent has a mens section as well and currently have some good sales. They stock mainly European designers so if you’re not familiar with sizing, cut, etc, it’s going to be a bit hard. Having said that, some high end brands are discounted by up to 60% so might be worth buying and then having alterations done here. I just saw a gorgeous Gucci cashmere men’s jacket for 50% off and stylish men’s chinos also at 50% off.

Paul Smith

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All my friends from the UK love Paul Smith and one of my friend’s husband will only buy Paul Smith suit and shirts. It’s definitely a lot more metro style suiting rather than traditional with bright colours, stripes and patterns being a feature of their shirts and accessories. They have an online store and do deliver to Australia but shipping is a bit steep – £30 so best to know your man’s size before you buy. You can always try it on here at DJs but obviously stock is very limited. They have good sales so you can wait until then.

Ralph Lauren

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These guys don’t deliver to Australia BUT I had to put it in because firstly Tyson Beckford eye candy… and secondly it’s my husband’s favourite store – he pretty much only wears Ralph Lauren because it fits him the best – and lastly, because it’s so cheap in the US that it’s worth buying and using a parcel forwarding company to ship it here. Especially during sale times, you can buy men’s shirts and knits for real cheap compared to here. I remember buying my husband’s Ralph Lauren cargo shops at the Vegas outlets for $20 and he LOVES it and wears it practically every day. I think men’s shorts at Target in Australia are $20. Subscribe to their mailing list and you’ll receive notice of sales and extra discount on sales. If not, try yMacy’s – I think they might be the only US department store that will ship RL to Australia.

G-Star

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I love G-star denim for men – so sexy! Shame my hubby can’t fit into them – he’s a bit chunky and G-star is cut a bit small. Great stylish casualwear for men (not a fan of the women’s range). They have an online store in Australia and prices are comparable to the US – it’s not ridiculously overpriced and so definitely worthwhile buying it locally. They offer free shipping and free returns (30 days) on full priced items so there’s no reason not to buy!

Revolve Clothing

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One of my favourite online stores also a men’s section stocking a wide range of designers. It’s mostly casualwear and I wouldn’t recommend it for suiting anyways given they’re not specialists in that area. If you’re after American brands like True Religion, Fred Perry, G-star, Jack Spade then this place is great. Free shipping to Australia on purchases over $100 and free Global Express delivery if you order over $300.

I’m a little hesitant to suggest sites such as ASOS and the Iconic as the fashion there is for Gen Y or Z or whatever we’re up to right now as they’ll feature tight skinny leg jeans or whatever the latest craze is. However, a lot of the chainstores also have menswear – so your Country Roads, Sportscraft, SABA, Oxford, Witchery. I’ve honestly never bought menswear from there so I can’t comment but check it out and wait for the sales.

Finally, before you buy, just make sure you know your man’s size and style. Sounds obvious but there’s a lot of variables when buying clothes – collar size, sleeve length, slim fit, classic fit, relaxed fit, double cuff, single cuff, collar style, leg length, waist size, skinny leg, boot leg, dark wash, light wash, point shoes, square shaped shoes, shoe size, shoe width, laces, buckles, belt size, etc, etc – you get the picture. And final piece of advice – don’t buy something you would like him to wear – based on my experience, he’ll wear it once as a token gesture and then it’ll get lost in the bottom of the drawers never to see the light – buy something you know he’ll like.


Shopping is still shopping, even if it’s not for you so enjoy!