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Online shopping mistakes to avoid

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How not to get caught out when shopping the sales this holiday period.

We are a nation of online shoppers. Be it on the commute to work, inbetween playdates at the park or Sunday-night sofa-slouching, if there are card details and wi-fi to hand we can turn it into a bona fide shopping opportunity. Between 2015 and 2016, the average online weekly spend grew 22 per cent, while this year it is predicted that 1.61 million of us globally will use e-commerce, with it taking just six minutes to place an online order.

There is no doubt that online shopping is a wonderful thing, not only for its utility (anything that facilitates the acquisition of new stuff without having to leave the house is saintly), but for its cheering abilities. Who hasn’t found solace on Zara’s sandal page during a particularly crappy day? But what happens when it all goes wrong?

Earlier this month, Dee Lewis caused a Facebook meltdown when she posted pictures of the dress her daughter had ordered online for her prom. What was undoubtedly supposed to be an elegant creation of the Beyoncé 2015 Met Gala ilk turned out to be a badly fitting see-through body stocking with what looked like tissue paper stuck on the bum and a curtain stapled to the hem. Needles to say, it was not as advertised.

Lewis’ shoddy prom dress is just one of many #onlineshoppingfails that have recently been doing the rounds on social media. There is a lesson to be learnt and valued...be careful what you click for.

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But while these mishaps undoubtedly have a funny side, online shopping mistakes are incredibly annoying, not to mention it can be expensive. How many items do you have hanging in your wardrobe that were brought in the sale but you never wear?

So, in the interests of saving us all time, money and sanity, I’ve rounded up the best online shopping tips that I divulge with clients on a weekly basis. I want you to be able to shop the sales with confidence and only buy clothes that you love! Happy shopping!


DON’T BUY ANYTHING UNLESS IT’S PHOTOGRAPHED ON A PERSON

I don’t buy anything I can’t see on a model. Even though the model is nowhere near my size or height, it still gives me a better idea of size, fit and proportion than something that is shot flat or on a mannequin. This rule even applies to bags and earrings. Same applies with the next rule...

WATCH THE VIDEOS

I always watch the videos on sites like ASOS, Gap and Matches to get a better idea of how the fabric moves, real-life colour and how something sits on the body. Usually, if I'm dithering over the photos, the video makes my mind up for me.

SHOP WITH A LIST

Always have a list in front of you when shopping in the sales that way you will not over-buy, buy the wrong items and get distracted by shiny things that you do not need. Consider what your wardrobe really needs and then go for it!

SIZE DOES MATTER

When shopping online (or indeed in a shop), do not buy anything that you're going to slim into. You won't. And even if you do, you'll have looked at it too many times and will want something new. 

WARDROBE STAPLES

Now is the chance to by those wardrobe staples that you always covert when shopping online but just can't bring yourself to buy because perhaps they are too expensive or they aren't 'sexy' enough. This is the BEST time to buy them! That amazing leather biker jacket will feel so much more stylish if brought in the sales. A pair of new skinny jeans in a different wash, you will thank yourself everyday you brought them. You can never go wrong with buying black Winter boots in the sale, wears per purchase are huge!

CHOOSE THE CHEAPEST DELIVERY OPTION

Read the terms and conditions and only ever buy things that you can return and get your money back on if it doesn’t work. (For example Reiss only give you store credit for your returns). Always go for the cheapest delivery option – if you’ve already spent £20 getting it to you, it can be tempting to think, “I might as well keep it,” even if it’s not right (if something doesn’t fit, send it back before you even think twice). Also, don’t be influenced by tags that say things like “selling out soon”. These are lies that sites use to push you into making a purchase.

STAY SOBER

Do not do drink ’n' shop in the evenings. A client did just that and bought some yellow culottes which were God-awful in the cold light of day. It is best to shop first thing in the morning, when you have a clear head rather than in the evening with a glass (or 2) of wine in hand!


Got it? Great. Time to put that all into action. But if you just can't face scouring through the sales then let me do the hardwork for you with your online sales Edit. Email me now to get yours before everything sells out!

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The big coat edit

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The clocks have gone back, the nights are darker and it's finally getting chillier! It's not all bad news though as you can now wear your winter coat, scarf and hat and style out the Winter months confidently. The other good news is that there is loads of sales on at the moment so it is the perfect time to buy a new Winter coat for the season.

Coats are a weakness of mine and a good coat can update your style very easily. In the northern hemisphere it also, sadly, happens to be the piece you will end up wearing most from October to March. So with that in mind, it is really important you spend time thinking about what you really need and want out of your coat. Practically speaking, there are two main issues that need to be considered when buying a new coat: one, as this is a big wardrobe purchase (possibly the biggest of the entire year), it has got to be spot on. I’m talking goes with everything, fits like a dream, is warm but not bulky and, importantly, looks a knockout. The second is getting all of that without spending the sort of money that would buy you a small car. Style speaking, think about colour, shape, trend and remember one size does not fit all - you're leopard print fur coat might be someone else's poison!

So to help you here is my AW17 winter coat edit with 5 new season's styles to pick from, including discounts where I could get them! Buy now and you will love wearing it everytime you put it on.

Follow my pinterest board for more coats inspiration - 2017 Coats Style


1. CHECKED COAT

If there is one coat that sums up the season, it’s the double-breasted, checked, tailored style. A smash hit among fashion editors at Paris Fashion Week, this is all about 2017 power dressing. Try Whistles or Zara for crombie check coats or French Connection for smaller checks. This large check coat from Marks and Spencer currently has 20% off if you have a Sparks card.


 

2. RED COAT

Red is the fashionable colour of choice this Autumn and I would suggest that a fabulous coat is one of the easiest ways to wear it. Check out M&S and Jigsaw (its signature wool “Grace” coat is pricey, but something you’d have for ever).  Fantastic for chucking over jeans or a grey jumper, as famous fashion designer Bill Blass once said, “When in doubt, wear red.” This Mango masculine coat is currently in the mid season sale for £39.99 - what a bargin!


 

3. STATEMENT COAT

The beauty of a statement coat is that you can be wearing any old tat underneath it and no one would know. If your coat smiles, the rest of the world smiles along with you. And for this reason, this season’s panache for bold, jazzy coats is great news. If you’re not into the aforementioned red, then have a go at pink (this pink one form Boden has 25% off with code - DW33X4L4), green or colbalt blue. Or there’s my personal favourite, leopard print, always a great statement.


4. TEDDY COAT OR FUR COAT

My vote for comfort coat of the season goes to the bouclé slouch coat, aka “The Teddy”. Knobbly, bobbly and oh so cosy, this has a whiff of the 1960s, but has a very new-season nod to texture. Fur has also made a triumphant season return with this season seeing it being bolder than ever. Fun, colourful and not traditionally classic, faux fur is a great eveningwear alternative that will add a little wow factor to the plainest of looks. Check out Topshop and Zara for their Teddy coat's and Mango for some fun colourful furs. This tabacco number from Warehouse looks very appealing and has currently 30% off it online.

 

5. THE POSH PUFFER

The coat that defined 2016. Although puffer coats might not be quite as significant as this time last year, they are sticking around and for good reason – they are incredibly toasty. If you’re worried about looking like the Michelin Man, then check out Whistles forest green velvet puffer, which is easy on the puff-factor, but still fabulously warm. Currently is on discount on House of Fraser, from £159.00 to £127.20. Or REALLY stand out of a crowd with this metallic gold puffer jacket from &other stories.

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Why Marks & Spencer should be your shopping destination this season...

Marks & Spencer stripe embroidered long sleeve blouse - £29.90

Marks & Spencer stripe embroidered long sleeve blouse - £29.90

In the trend-driven industry that we occupy, there are a handful of stores on the high street who dominate the market. ZaraH&MTopshop… These brands are the first to mind when in search of the season’s must-have pieces. And for good reason. These fast fashion stores have saved us a pretty penny throughout the years, offering both trend-led designer-inspired pieces as well as wardrobe basics we couldn’t be without. But maybe it's time an 'old' favourite comes back into the fashion front row...

Enter Marks & Spencer.

While it excels in the food department, its clothing range has previously failed to hit the mark among the masses, even after collaborating with fashionista Alexa Chung, her ranges have failed to help it's declining sales. But this year Marks & Spencer has revamped its under-performing clothing section, starting with a Spring/Summer collection which is led by the current bout of trends and style. Featuring statement sleeves, asymmetric skirts, ruffled shirts, an abundance of florals and high-waisted trousers, the SS17 collection is more trend-driven than ever before but at great affordable prices. 

When shopping instore and online recently I am surprised by the amount of items that I want to buy. The it piece of the summer, peasant blouse with embroidery (as I am wearing), was £29.90 and currently sold out (see white version here). Other items I saw and liked were great summer dresses with sleeve and embroidery detailing, a bold stripe skirt, bright coloured blouses great for work and evening, and also some fabulous shoes. I have tended to focus on the M&S Collection range, as this seems to be the one that has upped its style steaks, so no buying from Per Una! By focusing on classic shapes and incorporating modern aspects, you’ve got something for everyone in one shop again. 

I think you will be surprised at the stylish new pieces on offer at Marks and Spencer currently, here are my picks of the current range online, let me know if you have brought anything from there recently;


1. Looks as good as a designer pair of trainers 


2. Bargain Summer dress


3. Spotty evening blouse


4. Grab a summer cover up bomber


5. Embellished big bag


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how to update your summer wardrobe

Another season, another wardrobe?

In reality not likely to happen, but also there is no need. Despite the common feeling that in order to stay on trend we must replace our entire wardrobe at the start of each new season, that is just not the case. Investing in a few select pieces has the power to refresh your current wardrobe, transforming it from “so last season” to “so on trend“. So, although the British weather is predictably 100% unpredictable, the one thing we can count on is adapting our wardrobe to ensure we stay stylish no matter what the summer may bring.


I am not saying to ditch your last season buys completely, I'm still reaching for some of my favourites from last year. More if you are looking to give your wardrobe a fresh update for Summer 2017, then these are the pieces to note. Now the sales are in full swing it is a great time to purchase these items and look upto date for the rest of the summer.


Here is my top 5 biggest trend items from last year and the key pieces that are set to topple them off the top spot for this summer of style.

1. Tea dress

The reverent slip dress is stepping into the shade this summer, in light of our reignited love of the tea dress. A printed dress like this will not only see you through the current summer season but also for years to come. Think Kate Moss for Topshop circa 2007.  Barbel Ruched Dress- Finery London, £59.00

2. Kimono

The beloved bomber jacket isn't going away anytime soon but for a seasonal update, I want to fill my wardrobe with elegantly de-constructed kimonos that ooze the feeling of summertime. Layer yours over a pair of jeans and a tee for the perfect day-to-night look. Long printed kimono, Zara £59.99

3. Denim mini skirt

Transport yourself to sunnier climes with the skirt of the moment, the denim mini. While the midi version was hot last year, we cannot get enough of the shorter style for the summer months. Why not cut your midi one down to mini and reap the benefits of up-cycling! Denim mini skirt, Warehouse £25.00

4. Straw bag

Revel in the charm of a basket tote this season. Ideal for those last-minute “Quick, the sun is out” trips to the seaside and picnics in the park, a straw tote is 2017’s upgrade on last year’s bag about town, the bucket. Invest in one this season and you’ll find yourself breaking it out every summer to come. Pom Pom straw bag, ASOS, £21.99

5. One shoulder top

The collarbone is still fashion’s favourite erogenous zone but this season, be coy about showing it all off. Swap your Bardot blouses for cool, clavicle-baring tops which can be dressed up or down, and aren’t refined to just the summer months. Cotton bright green one shoulder top, Warehouse £12.00

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