Review: shopping sites

ALDO – AMERICAN APPAREL – ASOS – CALL IT SPRING – FASHION NOVA – MISSGUIDED – TOBI – KROCHET KIDS – LOKAI – LOVE YOUR MELON 

 

I have a dirty little secret. Okay, it’s not a secret and it’s not so little… And it’s not really dirty either. What I’m trying to say is hello, I’m a shopoholic. I mean, it’s not really my fault. Within the last few years, the Internet has made it extremely easy to feed my insatiable hunger for new styles, beautiful designs and outfit-making shoes. I shop from bed, at school and at work, pretty much anywhere and anytime. I rarely step foot in a mall unless it’s for a last minute gift or outfit. It definitely has its perks- no waiting in line or slow mall walkers, being able to stay in the comfort of your own home, and having a way better selection than just the stores around you, giving you an edge of individuality among your community by collecting your wardrobe from all over the world. However, there are a few downsides; expensive shipping/duty, the risk of not fitting into what you bought or it not looking like the photos, and those vague shipping times like “2-4 weeks” when you’ve got a big event in 3 and a half weeks and don’t know if you can take the plunge. I’ve compiled a list of a few of my favorite online shops to steer you towards or steer your clear of, to make your online shopping experience as delightful as mine are!

SHOES

CALL IT SPRING/ALDO SHOES

In North America, this is my absolute favorite spot to buy shoes online. I often buy my sandals in the winter and boots in the summer (it sometimes feels like torturing myself, having to wait a few months to wear them), but they have amaaaazing sale prices at the end of each season!

Pros:
• reasonable price for good quality product
• incredibly fast shipping (usually within 48 hours, never more than a week)
• Spring offers free shipping on all orders (Aldo is free after $70)
• if your shoes don’t fit you can return them to the nearest store and they will order a new pair to the store or to your home for no extra charge
• up to date on latest trends in footwear and accessories
• comfortable, well made products

Cons:
*just to play Devils advocate, because I have nothing bad to say about this store
• they only carry their own brand of shoe, so for those who like diversity, it can’t be your one stop shop for all things footwear

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*this haul cost me less than $100CAD

CLOTHING

AMERICAN APPAREL

Okay, so I already raved about AA in my salute to swimsuit article, but I’m just going to mention them again for a few reasons:

Pros:
• good quality clothing
• AA is trying to create a movement with sweatshop free products
• the online store has way more selection than in your local shop, and their sale section is stocked and not just with the XXS weird colored items
• items always arrive quickly (3-6 business days, rarely comes on the 6th day and I buy from here semi frequently)
• shipping is only $8, or free on purchases over $60CAD

Cons:
• sometimes sale items will be back ordered, but even so: they will be shipped within 5-10 business days (not that tragic)

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ASOS

I first shopped here upon recommendation of one of the girls in my school squad, who like me can’t help but browse in class…

Pros:
• they carry a lot of minimalist, trendy styles
• shipping is cheap, or free over $45CAD
• my order arrived in the middle of the estimated shipping time (which is about 6-10 business days)

Cons:
• in my opinion, slightly overpriced for good, but average quality clothing (I bought 3 basic crew neck tee’s for about $30CAD that I could’ve bought for half the price at Forever 21, that would’ve been the same quality)

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FASHION NOVA

I was drawn to FN because of their curvy looking models on Instagram, because normally brands have models that are about size 0-2. I have no problem with that, but that’s not the size that I am so I thought their products would fit me well.

Pros:
• the jeans are higher rise for us girls with a bit of booty, and have a nice amount of stretch while not being a cheap, jegging feeling
• the clothes fit really well on my body, because I’ve got a smaller waist and bigger thighs. I found for most items I had to choose a smaller size than I normally am
• they have a huge selection of both casual and formal items
• the prices are pretty cheap, and they have a sale for nearly every holiday! (Stay tuned on their Instagram page)
• shipping is only $10 to Canada, and orders arrive in 5-10 business days

Cons:
• orders usually arrive closer to the end of the estimated shipping time
• a friend of mine made an order with FN, used their size guide and found everything was still a bit snug… Although my items fit nicely, I often buy sale items or only make a small haul on my first try at an online store to judge what their sizes will be for other items (to avoid return shipping costs)

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MISSGUIDED

When the lace-up long sleeve tops started making their way onto every other basic girl’s Instagram page, I couldn’t help but go on the hunt for one of my own, which led me to Missguided.

Pros:
• tons of items, especially newly popular styles
• using the code “newbie” got me 35% off my first purchase (sometimes the codes change but they always have one for first time shoppers advertised somewhere on their site)
• the clothes were good quality
• standard shipping is free, and express shipping is only $9!
• customer service representatives are very helpful and friendly

Cons:
• two out of the 6 items I received did not look like the photo (both were awkwardly long)
• prices aren’t brag-worthy
• I received some difficulty upon placing my order; I first got an email from FedEx saying my order shipped. Then they emailed again saying the seller cancelled the shipment. Then I received an email from Missguided saying my package was on its way. The final email was one saying my package was delayed and to contact the store. I sent an email, to which I was answered quite quickly… My package was stopped at customs but was on its way. This all only took about 24-48 hours, but I found it quite unusual.

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TOBI

I was reeled in by promises of “50% off your first order” following me from page to page on the site, and the suspiciously low sale prices….

Pros:
• tons of items
• good quality for the amount they cost
• 50% off your first order! So tempting

Cons:
• shipping is only free on orders over $131.12CAD (otherwise it’s only $13.11), but it takes 2-4 weeks to arrive
• expedited parcels cost a whopping $40, and still take at least 1-2 weeks to arrive
• all 3 times I ordered from here, my clothes came at the end of the estimated shipping time
• I’d also like to point out that their swimsuits are unreasonably overpriced, and I bought a size medium that fits about an extra, extra small. Even with 50% off, not worth it!
• *PSA: CUSTOM & DUTY CHARGES WILL ROB YOU AT THE DOOR* Seriously! I was charged over half the price of my actual package, which cancelled out the excitement of the 50% off.

There’s a saying that goes: fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Well shame alllllll over me, because I tried again with Tobi but with less items (the first time I bought nearly half the store), thinking customs/duty would be more reasonable or it would show up faster. Nope and nope.

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I just want to point out a few of my favorite charity sites to shop online from, because despite the price, shipment times or items, I’m all about giving back!

KROCHET KIDS INTERNATIONAL for toques and all other knitwear. They also have really cute, hippie-vibe clothes and backpacks. KK international is an organization that employs women who otherwise would not be able to work, with fair wages and opportunities for growth. Each purchased item has a hand-signed label from the woman who made your item… From the woman that will be able to provide a better life for herself and for her family by your purchase.

LOKAI bracelets are a great gift, because not only are they unisex, but they come out with colors of bracelets exclusive to certain causes. If you have someone in mind, you can buy a bracelet to a cause dearest to their hearts, like breast cancer, Alzheimer’s, etc. Lokai has a great message. There are two different colored beads on each bracelet- the white contains water from Mount Everest, the highest point of the earth with the message: at your highest, stay humble. The black bead contains sand from the lowest point of the earth; at your lowest, stay hopeful.

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LOVE YOUR MELON in their own words, “is an apparel brand dedicated to giving a hat to every child battling cancer in America as well as supporting non profit organizations who lead the fight against pediatric cancer”. Need I say more?!

Please comment below and let me know your favorite/least favorite online shops or especially brands who give back! Thanks for reading!

Xx

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