I spent the last 2 years working full time, commuting nearly an hour each way, having and raising a baby and still trying to put a made-from-scratch dinner on the table each night. Needless to say, I didn’t have a lot of time for anything outside this list. Especially shopping at my favorite stores. So I became quite adept at shopping online.
Pros to shopping online:
- You can do it when you have time – online stores are always open.
- No annoying sales people. I’m sort of anti-social when I shop. I don’t want to make “friends” with a commission-based sales person even if they do lie and tell me “those pants look great on your @$$.”
- More selection. With online shopping you’re not limited by one location’s lack of inventory.
- No commute. I love this feature. I’d rather pay for shipping than fight traffic myself.
Tricks of the trade:
- Have a tape measure handy. Each online retail outlet has a different sizing chart. And most are accurate for their products, so measure yourself before blindly selecting size 4. (Another perk to shopping online – nobody but you knows what size you’re buying).
- Don’t get lured by the new arrivals. One of the best features of shopping online with the sale rack. Online websites have these under Sale and Clearance. You can get fantastic deals one items that were hot only a month ago and pay 40% less than everybody else did back then. Items like winter items go on clearance in the middle of winter – not at the end, so you’ll still have plenty of time to use them.
- Use Promotional Codes. Every shopping website has a place for promotional codes. Before I became internet shopping savvy, I passed by them. Now I take advantage of them every time. You can get promotional codes from the magazine or emails your favorite shopping websites send you. OR there’s a fantastic website I use for everything I buy online. It’s called Retail Me Not and it provides a one-stop shop for promotional codes for a zillion different websites. This is a must use when shopping online.
- Buy from retailers who have local stores when possible. Not only is it good to shop local, but if something doesn’t fit, you can return it and exchange the item for more money since you used a promotional code and saved so much when you bought it online!
- Return Without Regret. Use websites that make it as easy as possible to return items without paying shipping again. See below for retailers that provide free return shipping labels.
Great shopping sites for working professionals
- SmartBargains.com Pros: This has got to be my favorite online retailer. Smart Bargains offers designer clothing for someone on a budget. Plus they have this great email feature that emails you personalized deals based on your spending habits (be forewarned they will email you a lot). Another great feature is the Smart Shoppers Club. Basically you join for $7.95 and you get $2.95 shipping on every order. It’s fantastic. It’s worth joining even if you only order from there twice. I love the cheap shipping and they provide return labels so you don’t have to pay shipping twice. Cons: No exchanges
- Victoria’s Secret Pros: VS isn’t just a great underwear retailer. Victoria’s Secret has high quality professional clothes too. I especially like their sweaters, shirts and dresses. You usually have to order quite a bit to get promotional codes. They also provide return labels and make returning very simple. Cons: The clothes run a bit small, so overestimate your size. Pants tend on the shorter side. Shipping is on the expensive end (unless you’re using promo codes!)
- Ann Taylor Loft Pros: I really appreciate Ann Taylor’s focus on Petite sizes. I’m 5’8″ so I’m not petite but I appreciate their focus on small people because I can imagine it’s hard to find clothes that fit when you’re short. Anyway, they have long and regular too, so don’t worry. Anny Taylor Loft is a great website for the working gal – their slacks fit great, they have nice sweaters and shirts and they are consistent in their sizing charts. They also feature easy returns. Cons: Sometimes everything looks the same and their selection gets a little monotonous.
I’ll continue this topic as time goes on. But this will help get anyone started who is trying to increase her professional wardrobe on a budget.