Saturday, 8 September 2012

Let Me Roll It To You

Friday's outfit, paperwork-marathon perfect: light, stretchy, and comfy as a nightie. The only issue is this dress tends to go a bit Isadora Duncan in the wheels of my desk chair, but that's well-offset by being able to sit cross-legged or feet-tucked-up. 


maxi dress: Damoa, Beyond the Rack
t-shirt: WalM*rt (desperation buy)
obi belt: Elizabeth Kelly London, etsy
bag: Charming Charlie
boots: Fluevog Presence Intuit, last worn here together with same jacket and bag

necklace: gift from dear friend / colleague / supervisor Lauren ~15 yrs. ago

Over the past year, I tried out online "event" retailers Beyond the Rack, My Habit, and Haute Look out of curiosity. I bought 1-3 items from each site, including the dress and jacket in this post. Each retailer is distinct, but I lump them together as "a way of shopping." *Note that I wasn't asked to provide opinions, or offered anything in exchange, I am just telling y'all as I don't have anyone to talk to about this stuff!  


pleather jacket: Coffee Shop, My Habit

Due to inaccurate sizing information, this dress needed alterations to be wearable, which of course affected total price and added a certain pain-in-the-butt errand factor, you know the one. I had the option to return, but not to exchange for size - and since only the odd item on that site appeals to me, I decided to keep and work with it. Aside from the time and extra expense, I was happy with the dress once it fit. 

For hotter weather and / or slightly fancier occasions, it is awesome un-layered and with these funky wedges and turquoise scarf, but I would have frozen in the office air conditioning and also always make sure to give my feet a break after wearing shoes such as I did the previous day




Though I quite like and do wear everything I purchased, I had a couple of other concerns with Beyond the Rack and found that their customer service wasn't great. I had no difficulties at all with either Haute Look or My Habit, but wouldn't say that this way of shopping is a real fit for me, and I don't anticipate doing a whole lot more of it. I might check out an "event" featuring a brand I particularly like, but I delete most of the emails unread. I sometimes enjoy to look at the offerings on My Habit for entertainment purposes - while beautiful, the prices mostly fall well outside what I would consider spending on clothes.


Back to rolling, looks like my tripod's gone off-level - oops! Sorry for the seasick mood. 

Factors affecting where I'm at include:  
  • how much time it can take to look through the sheer volume of stuff, the vast majority of which doesn't interest me
  • an impression that, for the most part, the "deals" aren't significant, also considering shipping, how duty / taxes are managed, post-purchase alterations, etc. 
  • the several weeks' shipping time
  • having no option to exchange an item for the same one in a different size
  • though you certainly wouldn't know it from much of what I'm wearing in this post, I'm becoming a more ethical consumer, with which this model likely wouldn't jive

Do you shop at this kind of online retailer, or have you ever? It may be a North American thing: they send you daily emails with a number of time-limited shopping "events" of a few days' duration which might feature a particular brand, type of clothing, footwear, jewelry, or household item. I'm still curious about who or what type of shopper this really appeals to. What's your guess? 


40 comments:

  1. Perhaps because I live near a major city, I've never purchased ANYTHING online. Nothing. My husband does but I never have. With clothes and shoes, I need to see, feel, smell, and try on. Plus, I think I'm scared that once I have a successful shopping experience online, I'll be in huge trouble, oh-me-of-little-restraint!

    Your outfit is glorious and you've extolled the virtues of your maxi so well; those are exactly the reasons I love them so much. The colors are are really pleasing and the boots are insanely gorgeous.

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    1. Thanks, Jean! You are right - it does have the potential to create a monster! I sometimes miss living in orreally near a major city, and would say that my relative isolation and perhaps unusual tastes play a role. I always think hard before clicking "buy," plus a few negative experiences definitely keep me thinking twice.

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  2. Very seldom do I shop online outside Canada because when you ship with carriers that offer secure tracking numbers, etc., you get dinged an additional $50 (usually) in brokerage fees, which, when you're buying an inexpensive item, hikes the purchase into the not-worth-it category. I don't know why this country hurts private consumers like this. It didn't used to be like this... And I usually don't buy online IN Canada either because I've been conditioned to freak out about shipping.

    That said, I'm glad you went to the effort here. This maxi is grand. Too bad about the extra labour to make it so. I appreciated your reviews.

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    1. Yes - I've had a couple of wildly disproportionate charges, despite my semi-educated guesses ahead in factoring those fees into the cost of the item. Domestic shipping too - I KNOW - what is with that??? Such a pain. I have to REALLY really want an item! And sometimes I REALLY really do!

      Thanks - I do feel kind of grand and sweeping in this dress, and I've got the dust bunnies at the back of my hem to prove it. :)

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  3. Beautiful dress! I have similar issues with wearing wide legs or drapey style clothing while sitting at my desk. I'll be quite honest that I usually switch into pajamas when I come home for the day. I'm quite enamored with your necklace. It's got an ancient feel to it - sort of like Godric's tattoo in True Blood if you've watched that.

    I've done a lot of browsing on Hautelook and Glit. I even had a $10 credit on one of them, but I've never actually felt compelled to purchase anything from any of the sites. I usually opt for sites with really good return policies, some kind of reviews, and free shipping. Or I go whole hog and ebay things, but usually the 'risk' is offset by the cheap price on ebay.

    As for window shopping? I love browsing the Outnet. It's got all the biggest designer names and some of their "cheaper" lines.. but they're still outside what I'd ever pay for clothing (my shoe versus clothing costs are wildly different). However for eye candy, it's my favorite site for browsing without ever feeling compelled to buy.

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    1. Me too - I am in pj's within moments of arriving home - it's part of "arriving!" The habit started many years ago when I had a kitty, as a practical way of cutting down on clothing care, protecting things from fur and claws, cooking / eating mishaps, and couch-rumpling. :) Oh man, I wish I had time to catch up on True Blood - I think I'm a couple of entire seasons behind.

      My impression is that Haute Look has nicer things than Beyond the Rack. I've just had a small handful of ebay experiences, which have been positive. Yes - Yoox and The Outnet - haven't bought anything there either, but similar offerings to My Habit (which I like because there's not way too much stuff to look at so checking out the email can be really quick).

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  4. Amber, that dress is magnificent! That print and those contrasting colors in general look really great on you. And that necklace(!!!) Drool.

    I buy online all the time, probably because it's a lot easier to in the US? I understand that it's a lot more consumer friendly here, in regards to return policies, shipping times, etc. The only thing that really stops me from buying anything from a particular seller are shipping fees. Not too long ago, I was about to buy a vintage necklace from Beacon's Closet's online shop. The necklace itself was about $15 but then when I went to check out, they gave me a shipping quote of over $20 (wtf!!!!!!!!!!). Otherwise it's quite rare that I buy new clothing and accessories from a large online retailer. When I do, it's usually from Zappos which has an excellent free return policy.

    I remember one time when I was temp-ing at the Ayn Rand Institute, I overheard a conversation with the main bookstore agent with a Canadian customer. Apparently the customer had ordered a crapton of books and the Canadian postal carrier would only give the books to them if they pay taxes on the merchandise, which came to over $100. Of course the online bookstore couldn't really do anything than say something like, "Huh, that sucks for you" - albeit, more politely.

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    1. Thank you, Audrey! It can be a challenge to find prints which are muted enough to suit my colouring, yet vivid enough to suit my taste, and this one works. I wish I could more easily carry off black & white graphics like checkers or polka dots, but they end up wearing me instead. :)

      I am envious of Zappos! For a few years, they had a Canadian branch, but the stock was pitiful in comparison. I had searched for years for a replacement black messenger bag (in the Rainy Days and Mondays post), finally found this one via Zappos and had it shipped to my parents during their extended stay in Texas. The hoops! Forget returns entirely.

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  5. I'm learning to kick my habit of buying on line. I really need to see how it fits first.
    I just have to tell you how gorgeous you are in ALL your outfits. Just outstanding!

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    1. Thank you, Joni - that is so, so nice of you to say!

      I could definitely develop a habit - I like when something special is on its way to me! - but "fortunately," a couple of ill-fitting items and outrageous customs fees keep me from getting carried away.

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  6. I purchase very few things online, and when I do, half the time, I'm disappointed. So, unless I'm just DYING for something and it's a reputable brand that I am familiar with, I take my chances trying to find it in my area.

    LOVE the dress though! And the necklace - LOVELY!

    XOXO
    -Daisy Nguyen from PS BANANAS fashion blog:
    http://psbananas.com

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    1. Thanks Daisy! Sounds like you're a "think really hard about it" person too.

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  7. Your ensemble looks great. The dress is reminiscent of a cubist painting I think.

    I don't buy anything online. Well actually I'm not buying anything anywhere lately. But even before that, I need to try stuff on. See it, touch it, etc. Oh, I have bought books from Amazon, art supplies from Blick, but they don't need to fit all that well!

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    1. Thanks so much!

      Books and art supplies are always a good fit for sure! :)

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  8. I love the different shades and textures of grey.
    Wonderful dress, jacket and boots.
    XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

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    1. Thank you, Sacramento! Greys are a favourite of mine.

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  9. Oh no, an Isodora Duncan with a desk chair would be so awful, and well perhaps a rather ignominious end :o I do love the graphic dress, and all the grays and blacks (of course I do). You and my boss do so well in Charming Charlies; I go in and am completely overstimulated and confused. The few times I've been in, I've just picked a color or two, and stuck with those.

    I tried a site similar to Haute Look because my boss got some great shoes and bags, but the shoes ever fit when it arrived. Luckily, they did fit my boss. A nonreturnable multiple jewelry set was virtually unusable for me, but again I did manage to split up that set of accessories among friends. I've shopped online with regular retailers like Banana Republic, Target, Loft, and Nordstrom. Overall, the experience has been good, especially if I can return items locally.

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    1. Oh Lynne, I hear you about the overstimulation - if I didn't have my mother with me, I don't know if I could even go in there. As it is, our eyes get all big and jittery, and we are overcome with the urge to decorate ourselves.

      Your crummy experiences turned out nicely for your boss and friends! If I need it, find that the quality of customer service makes a huge difference in whether or not I'll consider shopping somewhere again. The challenges associated with returns definitely keep me cautious!

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  10. Love, love the dress. The whole outfit is just beautiful. Getting my skirt caught in my desk chair is why I rarely wore one to work. Now I just have to worry about the dogs stepping on it when they follow me around.

    I have done very little shopping via the stores you mentioned, but I do a lot of online shopping to get things that are not available in my area.

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    1. Thanks, Debbie! I appreciate that coming from you - someone who totally rock'n'rolls the maxi dresses! With dogs on your hem. :)

      Yep, the area-related limitations are a huge part of what keeps me shopping online as well.

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  11. Interesting clothes. I like how your taste is different 'cause it exposes me to clothes I like but didn't know existed.

    When I started dressing, I only bought online because I was too afraid to shop in person. There are downsides to that, which I experienced. Now, I shop in person regularly and have overcome my fear. I prefer shopping in person but will snag something online if it's unusual or interesting. Also, most of my shoe-purchases are online because stores don't stock Giant Size.

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    1. Thank you so much, Ally! Getting to see others creativity is why I love my fellow fashion bloggers so much. "Unusual or interesting" is totally where it's at for me! Plus, feet of tremendously extravagant size. :)

      Kudos to you for overcoming your fear - I deeply respect your capacity for courage.

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  12. No,I don't shop at online retailers,mostly because I am a tight arse!
    I have 2 necklaces very simialr to yours,one from Thiland and one from Laos.....clearly they are related!
    That frock is awesome,fab print.I rarely wear maxi's noadays,as they get caugfht in everything!Especially as I am a cyclist....I have destroyed many maxi's in the past whilst cycling,so I stopped wearing them,pretty much.Although I did happen to have one on yesterday!
    Butune Anvil now?? I did like the Evil.
    X

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    1. Thank you, Helga! You have such amazing pieces in your wardrobe, and I am always in awe of my fellow bloggers' shopping adventure posts!

      P.S. It has always been Anvil ... though I could sign off on posts with an evil laugh: "MUAHahahahahaaa!"

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  13. I do not shop at such places, though like you, my inbox is inundated with offers. I much prefer my thrift stores. I AM admiring that bag though!

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    1. And some amazing things you have found there!

      I really enjoyed your Window Shopping series as a reflection on different kinds of retail experiences. I so often feel like a stranger in a strange land!

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  14. The only online e-tailer I've ever shopped from is Fluevog, and that doesn't really count. I prefer to see and touch the item and try it on before I buy it. I also prefer to shop locally and support my city's businesses whenever I can, so much of my shopping is second-hand.

    Love the dress on you, though - very pretty. My long skirts also do the Isadore Duncan thing.

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    1. There is amazing shopping in your city - I love your posts about your thrift hauls and stories of your favourite places!

      Seeing, touching, and trying on is really important, and I would totally prefer to be able to do so. There are some things, like sandals, jeans, bras, where fit is so important and I tend to have fit issues (to put it mildly) which I would never buy online unless it's a replacement of an exact-same thing. I did that with a bra, as no one who carries the only bra in the world that fits me in the colour I needed had it in-store in my size over months of popping in at different locations in my travels.

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  15. The only places I buy online from are Ebay, Etsy and Amazon, and I've had no problem with any of them. I don't even bother looking at sites like Net-a-Porter or Beyond the Rack as the prices are out of my price range for clothes. I'd rather go spend an hour or two browsing through thrift stores than on the internet! I loooove that necklace, and the various shades of grey (just like the book!) that you are wearing. The dress is very cool, glad you were able to make it fit. I get my long skirts caught in the wheels of my chair at work often, one of these days I'm going to rip something.

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    1. I can definitely spend hours happily rummaging through thrift stores when I can get out and about too. Thanks for sharing your experiences and preferences, and your kind words, Shelley!

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  16. Hmmm. I haven't tried this type of shopping, but it sounds interesting, though I'm mostly a thrift shopper. Sounds a little bit like QVC, but completely online.
    I'm seriously digging that dress. I love your unique style.

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    1. Wow, you are totally right Sheila - it would be like QVC! Thanks for your awesome comment. :)

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  17. I'm a bit like a dog, in that I've got to sniff around. And not throught the virtual trees! I like to rummage, and most of the things I buy because there is some element that appealed to me. I very seldom look for anything specific, but I'm always on the lookout for something interesting. I'm not worried if it doesn't go with anything. It will at some point!

    Cheers from England,
    Rosemary from www.foreveronthecatwalkoflife.blogspot.com

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    1. I love your intuitive approach to shopping, Rosemary. I can definitely relate to that, as some seemingly very unusual buys for me were early harbingers and eventual cornerstones of whole new pockets of style which eventually opened up, so I trust that in myself as well. Thanks!

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  18. The pattern and colors of in your maxi are beautiful....like a painting. The necklace is stunning too. You have such a unique and fabulous wardrobe.
    I think I've only purchased one article of clothing online. I have purchased a few inexpensive jewelry pieces and some discontinued (but new) cosmetics. I prefer to see something in person, hold it up to me or try it on, and get a better sense of the item, rather than a virtual experience, prior to buying. Plus, I am so spoiled by thrifting prices now that I can hardly bear to pay retail....even if it's on sale. But, then again, I do not have any pieces as lovely as yours either. I think that's just a matter of individual style and comfort though. You have a style all your own and it's wonderful.

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    1. Oh Lisa, you have AMAZING thrift prices where you are! I was saying to Megan Mae recently that anything locally to me at similar prices is total crud, but you look like a million bucks! Thanks for your perspective, and the awesome feedback.

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  19. I can see how comfortable you are in this gorgeous maxi! With your slim figure the obi belt is a brilliant addition, as is those incredible shoes and the jacket. The bag would be very welcome in my small closet - it's one of those things I'd always be able to find room for!

    Due to the very limited selection available in Denmark I shop most of my clothes online, abroad. Postal services here are so expensive that it's much cheaper to have things shipped from the UK, than domestic! Being part of the EU ensures consumers' rights are observed almost everywhere so there's not a lot of hassle with returns. Unlike in Canada, I understand!

    Finally I have to say that, had I still lived alone I would have decorated my home in a very similar style to yours. Looking at your pictures is in a strange way like coming home!

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    1. Thank you so much! I especially like the bag because it fits my daytimer (appointment calendar which is like my other right arm) inside.

      I'm glad you have found ways of accessing online shopping which work for you - it is so interesting to hear others' experiences!

      Where I take my photos is in an old barn on the property - after clearing out an unbelievable amount of junk, a random and whimsical arrangement of objects remained. :) Glad you feel welcome here.

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  20. I do love this maxi dress, despite it's dangerous tendencies towards self-harming in the chair wheels! It looks like it fits perfectly, so the alterations were a great success.
    I have shopped online in the past for clothes and shoes but I only buy from Ebay now, at cheap prices where it's not the end of the world if the item isn't right. I can usually resell or find someone to give things to anyway. I have bought shoes from online retailers who offer free returns, as the ranges on offer are so much bigger than I could find in my city's shops.
    Oh and I think that necklace is fabulous! xxx

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    1. Thanks, Curtise! Must always mind the wheels. :)

      I'm still dealing with the one situation where an item (and it's hard-won "replacement" as well) was unwearable, but yes on the passing things along. Being willing to deal with an item not being right is definitely a factor, and you have a very level-headed approach.

      I'd be terribly sad if I couldn't access glorious shoes from Away!

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Thank you for your comments!
- Amber