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Cyber retail therapy: Your guide to online shopping

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Posted: Friday, February 1, 2013 1:15 am

If you have a little holiday money to spare, you may be in the market to splurge on some purchases, and more importantly get some clothes for the frigid Gainesville weather. But you’ve exhausted Gainesville’s best boutiques, consignments and hidden treasures and honestly who has the time to shop anymore. Internet shopping is no secret, but where to shop online is the true test of a fashionista.

1. Hautelook: Hautelook has the same charade going on as sites like Gilt and Rue La La where designers are brought in to have specific sales. But what I like about Hautelook is that they stray away from the norm and have many more themed sales instead of just exclusive designers. For example, right now they have a slew of items that are Valentine’s Day themed. So instead of consenting to a single designer prison, you are free to explore multiple designers to find that perfect red dress for Valentine’s Day date night. Or lingerie, if that is your cup of tea.

2. Tobi: Tobi is the Forever 21 that no one knows about. It is incredibly cheap and is essentially disposable clothing, but if you’re looking cute tops or are desperate to try a fashion trend (think floral pants and up-down skirts) Tobi should be your drug of choice. Then, when you wear the floral pants one, convince yourself you looked extremely unfortunate in them and never wear them again (I may be speaking from personal experience), you won’t feel as bad because you only spent $14 in the first place.

3. Gilt: There are other places like Gilt out there, but I am a strong believer that Gilt always brings the best deals and best designers. For instance, I was really trying to buy my boyfriend a watch for Christmas. But, as I soon found out, watches are so disgustingly expensive. On Gilt I found a watch, worth over $700, and bought it for $150 (Note: please do not tell my boyfriend. I left the $700 price tag on it when I gave it to him on purpose). Gilt also has great deals on the items you really want like clothes, shoes and accessories.

4. Shopbop: This store had me at “free three-day shipping and free returns.” Shopbop is a bit more on the expensive side compared to Tobi, but it takes all of the mind games and sale hunting out of your online experience. The site’s “lookbooks” give you Vogue-worthy outfit ideas, without all of the research on your part. The only problem? You’ll be left wanting everything but be stuck with a college student budget.

5. Piperlime: The store, which is owned by Gap, brings in a bunch of adorable designers, combines them with some celebrity fashion icons and voila! You get the perfect outfit for your next luncheon, formal or just get that pair of sequin shorts you’ve been waiting for. Piperlime also has free shipping and returns, which makes it easy to send those items you weren’t quite sure were worth the splurge back to Piperlime heaven. What I love most about Piperlime are the shoes. They have a great selection of pumps and wedges at very affordable prices. And as a bonus, they also have a ton of sales.

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Contact Blogs Editor Cara Chiaramonte at cchiaramonte@alligator.org.

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