26 Best Online Fashion Shopping Sites
Every year a new stat is released (usually around holiday shopping time) indicating how online shopping is upping it’s numbers. Well in advance of that rushed Christmas/Hanukkah/New Year’s Eve crush, we’ve opted to get a head start on things by compiling our list of favorites in the thick of summer. Aside from being well-timed for catching sale season, for planners, it’s a jump on budgeting for fall threads. Take a look at our go-to picks and let us know if there’s more to add.
Net-a-Porter.com offices. Photo: HerryLawford, Flickr
As far as e-tailing goes, the website founded by Natalie Massanet is the gold standard. The items are beautifully shot, and if you’re not ready to invest in that statement bag of the season, you can always wonder at amazement on how that stunning Alexander McQueen runway piece is already Sold Out after hitting the Just In category. Under the details section is also where I look for tips on fit, which has proven more reliable than other sites I’ve tried. Did I mention there’s great customer service? Brides-to-be (or serious shoppers) can order a dress to try on and return free of charge.
With a selection of luxury designers (and particularly of the Euro variety), this Florence, Italy-based retailer has actually had a bricks and mortar shop since 1930. The long-standing heritage hasn’t stopped it from embracing the web whole-heartedly. The site is easy to navigate and images can often spin around for full views. Expect brands such as Giambattista Valli, Givenchy, Haider Ackermann and a smattering of smaller Italian labels.
This Princeton, N.J.-based shop has a solid offering of contemporary designers (Alex Wang, Phillip Lim and the like) plus some coveted insider labels such as Lanvin and the Olsen twins’ The Row. It’s strategy that’s obviously paid off. The retailer opened it’s second store, clocking in at 3,500 sq. ft., in Dumbo, Brooklyn.
If you have the time, it’s tough to beat Asos in quality versus the price. There’s a tremendous selection of the house label and inventory tends to move fast. The company generally stays on top of trends (although perhaps less so than Topshop) and is something of a one-stop shop.
Liberty department store, London. Photo: luisvilla, Flickr
When it comes to ambiance, Liberty is my favorite London store haunt. Along with a solid shoe salon, there are of course, the famous Liberty prints in a variety of incarnations. Pay special attention to the limited edition designer Liberty collaborations. The selling point though, is really its product mix. With a smattering of both high-end (Alexander McQueen, Etro), buzzy (Markus Lupfer, Michael Van Der Ham) and price-conscious lines (Equipment, See by Chloe), it’s tough to browse without clicking “add to cart.” Stellar accessories department.
After a serious site revamp, this UK department store had readied itself for the e-commerce battle. Pieces are more fashion forward than your prototypical US shop and that’s a good thing. In footwear, there’s designers such as Nicholas Kirkwood, Sophia Grace and Rupert Sanderson. Label hounds will find the established luxury lines too including Givenchy, Balenciaga and Stella McCartney.
With a fully integrated store and online stock, you could say that Nordstrom is the Wal-Mart of fashion, but that wouldn’t be giving the Seattle-based department store enough justice. Known for its buyers who place orders with precision (and to great sell-through), the selection isn’t always fashionable, but chances are you’ll find something quite wearable.
In the online luxury department, this German site with an international reach is the closest thing to Net-a-Porter. For European shoppers, it’s also the only site that offers Balenciaga’s ready-to-wear collection (especially enticing since designer Nicolas Ghesquiere’s Fall 2011 runway was stellar).
Colette store in Paris, France. Photo: Incase, Flickr
Over the years, Colette has kept its insider’s reign on the nouveau and chic. There’s unexpected collaborations, recently Kris van Assche with EastPak, and great lines to explore such as Delfina Delettrez and Quai de Valmy. There’s also a curious juxtaposition between street (sneakers for sneakerheads) as well as the latest collection of luxury labels like Emilio Pucci. With a pumping song to greet each shopper, be prepared to turn down the volume if you’re surfing from work.
With it’s downtown NYC following, Oak could have gone the way of higher price points, but it’s stuck to its ethos of edgy contemporary designers (Alexander Wang, Factory by Erik Hart and Chrishabana jewelry) for a decent expense. The house line has excellent t-shirts, updated each season to reflect the trend. There’s also their in-store offshoot A-OK that offers up and coming designers at a very reasonable price tag. The general vibe is urban-egdy so beware colorists: the palette is mostly white, black and all the shades of gray in-between.
What started off as a purely contemporary website headquartered in Wisconsin, has become a e-retailer behemoth ranging from Alice + Olivia and Tibi to Thakoon and Giuseppe Zanotti in its Designer Boutique. Despite offering some serious fashion, the site’s feel is approachable and almost friendly. Certain models are in regular rotation, which lends a familiar cast to the site on each visit. A for breadth of products
I’ve scored many a deal on the site’s sales (which equates to extra savings on already discounted prices). The amount of stuff is tremendous so be prepared to devote yourself to some committed browsing. Check out the Alaia and Balenciaga offerings. I’ve also scored some Pierre Hardy sandals for much less than originally advertised.
There’s something charming about this site from the website design to the buyer’s mix of ladylike fits with a city-sophisticate eye. A great go-to for brands such as 3.1 Phillip Lim, Thakoon Addition and Margiela’s MM6.
It’s not just NYC that has a monopoly on U.S. shopping. Melrose Avenue store TenOverSix has a site that feels clean and sunny. The buyers eschews cheesy Hollywood stereotypes – no Playboy glittery dresses here. You’ll find labels like LD Tuttle, Rachel Comey and Vena Cava. There’s a strong selection of sunnies, naturally.
Offering both women and men’s clothing, the site has a simple and appealing layout with an international mix. You’ll find Mulberry from London, Iro from Paris, Km Rii from Seoul and A.L.C. from New York.
I stumbled upon this site while searching for Pamela Love wares and have been a regular visitor ever since. The jewelry selection is particularly worth a visit from Arielle de Pinto’s hand-crocheted chains to Bliss Lau and the aforementioned Love. The dresses veer towards feminine cuts by Imitation of Christ, Mara Hoffman and Shakuhachi.
Created by the folks behind Revolve Clothing, Forward Forward functions as the spendier, fashion-curious sister. Younger designers such as Timo Weiland and Kimberly Ovitz sit alongside Viktor & Rolf and Rue du Mail.
This Santa Monica mainstay is the place to go to score the latest L’Agence pieces. For California girls at heart, there’s also an easy-going selection of dresses by Joie and Patterson J. Kincaid.
Photo: tonnoro, Flickr
The quality isn’t always top-notch, but at these gentle prices, things are usually worth their buy. Great for sundresses, basic tees and also with a nice choice of affordable footwear that you won’t be afraid to walk the city in. UO has been upping its offerings with a recent boutique-in-shop of sorts. Think tough-to-find Scandinavian labels like Carin Wester. Sales can’t be beat.
There are legions of Alex Wang fans everywhere it seems and now they can score slouchy tees and hip city-slick dresses in one click. (Inside track: If you sign up for the email, you’ll also receive alerts for online only sales.)
A must-stop for shoe fanatics on a budget. Generally on-trend, most styles come in under 100 GBP with a healthy selection near the 50 GBP range. This UK shop sells threads too, but the footwear is where it’s at.
While we’re on the topic of British shoes at a good price, Kurt Geiger is a reliable source for any savvy online shopper. Footwear are usually of the sky-high platform variety but just imagine how they’ll look perched on a bar stool.
Great photography coupled with a nose for heritage trends has made the re-imagined J. Crew (under the helm of Mickey Drexler) a fashion favorite. The site is easy to navigate and there always seems to be some new arrival that is an update of an American classic. Solid customer service.
Topshop Kate Moss launch. Photo: loungefrog, Flickr
The fitting room lines at the Soho, NYC Topshop store may stretch for eons, but you’re smarter than fighting the crowd. If you know your UK conversion size, the fast fashion site is a smart way to get around the usual crush for the celebrity-loved wares.
Always on the hunt for the next new thing? For the strongest selection of up and coming designers, head to Opening Ceremony where young and forward-thinking (Markus Lupfer, Christopher Kane, Altzurra, Rodarte, Hakaan) strut their stuff in one global fashion smorgasbord. It’s also the place to go for limited collaborations including one with Hong Kong retailer Lane Crawford and an ongoing project with Chloe Sevigny.
One of my favorite bi-coastal boutiques, with stores in L.A. and NYC’s Nolita neighborhood, Creatures of Comfort has nailed the ideal mix between global fashion (Christian Wijnants, LD Tuttle and Zero Maria Cornejo), comfort and price point. A wonderful shoe collection too.
By: Bee-Shyuan Chang