Fashion Hacks: Online Shopping Edition

The best insider tips and tricks to scoring that perfect piece

sjp shopping
(Image credit: Archives)

There will always be the woman who bookmarks Net-a-Porter (opens in new tab) or MyTheresa (opens in new tab), adds the latest arrivals of her liking to her cart and chooses next day shipping—voil, online shopping accomplished. But some of us enjoy the thrill of the hunt a bit more. Seasoned online shoppers (it's our profession, after all), we've picked up a few tricks along the way. Below are some helpful hacks to getting your size, finding the best price, and overall winning the game of Internet spending.

1. Deals on Steals: When shopping on high-street sites like H&M (opens in new tab) and Topshop (opens in new tab), always do a quick search for coupons on Google. You'll be surprised how often a 20% off is available.

2. Extreme Sizes: If you have very small or very large feet, always search by size on sites like Zara (opens in new tab), because there are limited styles that come in sizes 5 and 12. This way you won't be tortured by styles you can't have.

3. Community Access: Join newsletters if you truly like the site—it's the only way to know about pre-sales, special friends-and-family deals and the like. It won't feel like spam if you actually love the brand or boutique. To that note, unsubscribe from any newsletters that rarely pique your interests to keep your inbox focused.

4. Cosign Consignment: Sites like The Real Real (opens in new tab) and Bib & Tuck (opens in new tab) are great for sourcing past-season and vintage items at a deal—just be wary. If you love that Alexander Wang dress from Spring 2011 and it's there and in your siz, do a quick eBay (opens in new tab)Yoox (opens in new tab)The Outnet (opens in new tab) and Bluefly (opens in new tab) search to make sure the same piece isn't currently available for less. It's easy to impulse purchase when you think it's a steal—think of it as a virtual sample sale.

5. Flasher: Sites like Gilt (opens in new tab) and Rue La La (opens in new tab) are truly like virtual sample sales. Employ the same quick search tactics after you add your desired piece to your cart. You have ten minutes and it can save you a lot.

6. eBay For Life: eBay (opens in new tab) has gotten considerable competition in recent years, but it's still a huge marketplace with endless stock. Always use a site like Snipe Swipe (opens in new tab) to do your bidding for you. It assures that you will only spend what you would want for any given item and not get lost in the competitive spirit. I am also personally obsessed with creating alerts on eBay for items from past seasons that I am on the hunt for.

7. Let Apps Work for You: Widgets like Hukster (opens in new tab) and Keep (opens in new tab) allow you to receive alerts when your favorite in-season pieces go on sale. You use them like you would a Pinterest widget except you're inputting your exact size and color preference. I was able to nail down my favorite Prada shoes last season this way. I won't say I use them often, but it's worth it for the important things in life—like Prada.

8. Use Your Wish List: Similarly, sites like Shopbop (opens in new tab), which allow you to maintain an account wish list, alert you when your list items go on sale. If you're not the widget type, it's a great alternative.

9. Don't Be a Sell Out: Sites like Net-a-Porter (opens in new tab) and Matches Fashion (opens in new tab) have options to receive emails when an item you love comes back into stock. It can be well worth setting up an alert. I couldn't get my hands on a Delfina Delettrez single pearl earring until I did this at Matches. You also sometimes realize maybe you didn't want the piece as much as you thought you did once it's available again. Money saved is money earned.

10. Jetsetter: We love international e-commerce sites like MyTheresa (opens in new tab)Stylebop (opens in new tab) and LN-CC (opens in new tab) and sites that have international boutiques like Farfetch (opens in new tab), but there are some conversion issues that arise. Often denim brands can be more expensive or a dress can be as much as $200 more—or less—on one site than another. Just do your research on Polyvore (opens in new tab) or ShopStyle (opens in new tab) for that particular item to make sure you're getting the best price. Again, these sites can be a great resource, but always pay attention to international taxes and shipping costs. What looks like a deal can turn out to be quite expensive. Luckily, many of the bigger sites are including international costs in the price shown and providing free global shipping.


Image courtesy of Everett Collection

Kerry Pieri
Kerry Pieri

Kerry Pieri is Harper's Bazaar's Digital Fashion/Features Director. Kerry oversees the fashion vertical for, including launching digital covers, styling celebrity features, and managing recurring features including Brand Watch and My Life in Three Looks. In addition, Kerry edits the “best of” each season, from shoes to bags, denim and coats, and is consistently looking for shifts in the fashion realm to lend a voice. Kerry formerly served as the Editorial Director of and as a producer at Full Frontal Fashion. She lives in New York with her husband Steve, and baby girl Lila Sky.