Online shopping seemed to drain the color from the whole process, and I’d miss the thrill of handing over my card to a helpful shop assistant and walking out swinging a nice bag. However, recently a shift has taken place: a handful of fashion sites being talked about – by fashion desks to the Front Row – have proven to be total game-changers for me, changing the way I shop and even how I dress. You might not have heard of them (yet), but they will be your new favorite fashion friends.
Best for high-end accessories without the designer price tag.
Keeping it a secret this far has been helped by the unpronounceable name (sounds like: oo-ter-kway, FYI). Think Zara’s sophisticated, older sister (both brands are owned by parent company Inditex). There’s a strong focus on accessories and lots of covetable ready-to-wear – luxe leather separates, ’70s wide-legged trousers, great shirting and shoes you’d never guess were high street – perfect for building a workwear wardrobe that’s far from boring.
Thousands of shops and brands in one easy-to-navigate space.
With three million fashion items from over 11 thousand designers and stores, Lyst acts as a ‘shopping facilitator’, taking the hard graft out of getting your hands on that must-have piece. Dangerous.
I’ve found it especially useful – no more Googling for hours on end, looking for a particular item. If a piece has sold out, you can ‘Lyst it’ to receive an instant notification as soon as it goes on sale or comes back in stock anywhere in the world – great for sell-out brands such as Vetements. I have a Loewe bag on mine.
Arguably the chicest website in the world.
Co-founded by stylists Vanessa Traina and Morgan Wendelborn in 2013, this e-boutique is a mecca for minimal fashion, beauty and homeware, all packaged up as an aspirational lifestyle brand. It’s where I go when I need inspiration and tip-offs on new brands – denim line AMO and jewellery designer Charlotte Chesnais to name a few.
There’s also an offline counterpart in New York and LA called The Apartment, which acts as a shop-come-living space and is so impossibly stylish you’ll want to move in.
Oh, and make sure you sign up to the newsletter – it’s one of the only ones you won’t want to delete.
Missed a must-have piece from last season? Chances are you’ll find it here.
A social shopping site for pre-owned fashion items; you have to be a member to buy and sell on here (there are over four million of us to date). Sellers have to submit a picture of the item they wish to sell for approval by Vestiaire’s ‘curation team’. If it makes the cut and sells, the item is sent to Vestaire’s headquarters to be checked for authenticity and quality, before being beautifully packaged and sent to the buyer.
To save time, I have alerts set up for my favourite designers (Prada, Céline, Gucci) and dream purchases (an Hermès Constance bag – I said dream), and if anything comes up that matches my description, I get an email.
My last buy was a pair of nearly new Céline shoes (black low heels, which I wear to work, on dates, pretty much to death), at a relative snip at under £120. I also sold a pair of bejewelled pool slides bought in a sweaty-palmed sample-sale frenzy, for close to what I paid. Could this spell the end of fashion ‘mistakes’? I like to think so.
For unique and well-designed pieces at high-street prices.
Since its inception in 2015, London-based Finery has been gaining a loyal fan base who look to the brand for well-curated collections, unusual designs and the kind of attention to detail that isn’t exactly synonymous with the British high street. You won’t find a Stella McCartney knock-off here, but you will probably find something you love more.
Finery London is my go-to for evening and occasion wear. Last year I bought a pair of navy satin trousers with a matching top that I wore throughout the summer as an alternative to the usual party dress. This season, I’ll be investing in their slip dress as soon as it hits the site.