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Online Luxury Shopping on a Budget

Get through the fall and down economy in fabulous style with these sites


Shopping has always been an obsession (some call it an addiction) of mine. Online shopping hasn’t made my “condition” any better. The ease of sorting by designer, price, sale offerings; I don’t know how people shopped before the Internet. Now, before you label me a complete nerd, I do still love going to the brick-and-mortar stores for the shopping experience. I love touching and smelling the clothing and meeting the designers or associates selected to represent the brands I hold dearly to my heart. So I haven’t abandoned brick-and-mortar altogether.

However, since shopping online I have found killer deals and easier ways to save extreme amounts of money, all while easing the strain on my bank account balance. Never have I found such deals in brick-and-mortar stores as I do online. There are hundreds of authentic online discount sellers (I do not believe in knockoffs!) just waiting to be explored! In this day and age, we have to save — although I believe it’s every woman’s right to enjoy designer fashion and remarkable style at an affordable price. So having shopped far and wide, I’m here today to give you my top online shopping sites to help you get through the fall and the economy in fabulous style.

Gilt Groupe (gilt.com): With some of the most luxurious and highly coveted collections available, The Gilt Groupe is my favorite and most recommended online shopping portal. You can shop the site’s super-high-end collections at prices up to 70 percent off retail. Each sale lasts 36 hours and features hand-selected styles from a single designer. Designers include Chanel, Missoni, Marc Jacobs, Chloe, Valentino and many more. This is a shopping experience you don’t want to miss. Membership is free but access is by invitation only.

HauteLook (hautelook.com): This is another one of those sites that you simply cannot afford to wait to join. Hautelook offers exclusive, limited time, online shopping events, which feature the hottest fashion and brands discounted to 75 percent off retail. Like The Gilt Groupe, this site is free to join, but is not by invitation only so there is no waiting time between you and your shopping. Take it from the experts: HauteLook was chosen by People Magazine as one of the top 15 ways to save money, while Extra called it a “virtual shopaholic heaven.”

BlueFly (bluefly.com): BlueFly calls itself the ultimate hookup for the fashion-obsessed. And they’re not lying one bit. This site’s core competency is discounted fashion, and they do it well. Very well. Discounts range from longtime designers like Prada, Gucci and Chanel to emerging designers like 3.1 Phillip Lim and Alexander Wang. Savings start anywhere from 10 percent and can go all the way up to 80 percent off retail prices. I love this site because it’s easy to use, the selection and quantity is plenteous, the prices are extremely sensible and they’ve learned how to use social-media tools like Twitter and Facebook to better understand their customers — and that makes the fashionista and social-network junkie in me smile! Put all of these together and you get a rich, joyous shopping experience for a fraction of the brick-and-mortar price.

ShopStyle (shopstyle.com): As a shopping aggregator, ShopStyle is the online equivalent of browsing the aisles of the world's most fabulous store. With thousands of designers and brands just waiting to be explored, ShopStyle not only brings them all into one place but has also incorporated social tools into the shopping experience. You can sort products listed by designer, brand, store, sale items, price point and color. You can also set up sale alerts so when items you’re watching later go on sale, you’ll receive e-mail notifications. Genius!

What are you waiting for? Get joining and start saving — you have no more excuses! Now you can look fabulous and chic and still be able to afford a night out with your girlfriends. Bottoms up, my budget-conscious fashionistas!

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