The secret’s out: While sample sales and high-end fashion outlets were once-upon-a time a thing of Sex and the City folklore, new online fashion outlets mean that cheap chic is now the order of the day, with luxury labels on offer at up to 80% off.
No need to set your alarm clocks and queue for hours, just sign up to e-mail alerts, and get your label lust fix at a snip (without losing a limb). We bring you our top picks of the sites offering you high end fashion for lessâ€¦
1) The Outnet: This is the exclusive designer outlet where everyone is invited. Brought to you by former fashion editor and founder of Net-A-Porter, Natalie Massenet, the Outnet offers every style hunter the opportunity to find that designer item that will set their heart a-flutter. Crammed with a blockbuster mix of over 200 designer labels including Marc Jacobs, Luella, Chloe, Christian Louboutin and Miu Miu among others, Outnet offers top-drawer womenswear, shoes, and accessories with 50-80% off.
Each month the Outnet hosts time-limited Pop-Up Sales, Giveaways and Going, Going, Gone Sales that make it all the more exciting. We are huge fans of this site. Items are easily searchable by brand, genre, keyword, colour, and even by trend. Everything is chosen with the same good taste and trend-conscious eye that has rendered Net-A-Porter a hit – making Outnet the most fashionable fashion outlet online.
Our Fashion Tip: One rule of play: Make quick decisions as there’ll be limited sizes of each item. To increase your shopping odds, check back on Tuesdays and Thursday when the virtual shelves will be restocked.
2) Chiconomise: Brainchild of Apprentice winner Michelle Dewberry and edited by Samantha O’Neill, not only does Chiconomise let you know about all the latest sample and online private sales, but it also brings you the most exclusive deals and offers on everything from beauty to dining, travel and going out. While Chiconomise is maybe more of a locating service than a retail website, it offers fab credit crunch tips, bargains of the week, and gives plenty of promotional codes for all your favourite retailers. We love this site as you really do feel like you’re part of a girly club! While the new website is still under construction, all you need to do is sign up to the free newsletter and let the best discounts, sales and bargains appear in your inbox week after week. I’m already hooked – Keep watching this space!
3) Koodos: Founded in 2006 and with over 250,000 members, Koodos often referred to as “the online Mecca – is the most established online fashion outlet for deeply discounted luxury and fashion brands. With designer labels including Fendi, Burberry, Roberto Cavalli, Jimmy Choo, and Yves Saint Laurent, Koodos offers the most coveted women’s and men’s clothing and accessories at prices up to 70 per cent off. This is a great and easy-to-manoeuvre website with some great names, but it doesn’t quite have the luxury feel of Cocosa and Outnet. Our Fashion Tip: Check out their independent blog Bargainista for instant online codes and sample sale details.
4) Gilt Groupe, Ideeli and Cocosa: The upside of these three member sites are their exclusivity: Only a smaller number of shoppers will be competing for amazing one-off deals. Gilt Groupe hand selects both established and up-and-coming designers for their online sample sale events with merchandise reduced by up to 70 per cent. The site typically offers five to six sales each week and each designer specific event is usually held over a 36 hour period. Past sales have included Bulgari, Marchesa, Thakoon, Dolce & Gabbana and Alessandro dell’Aqua. The only catch with Gilt is that you’re locked out of the site without an invitation to join. But you’re in luck ladies, Gilt’s private membership is free and exclusive to My Fashion Life readers. Click here for an invitation.
Cocosa is an invitation-only luxury fashion retailer for style-savvy shoppers, offering members exclusive access to 48-hour-long private sales. This site prides itself on catering for the serious fashionista as the Bauer Media buying team (yes, the publishers of Grazia) handpick only the most covetable designer fashion and accessories directly from the designer. Brands include House of Holland, DVF, Erdem Peter Jensen, and Lacroix. Cocosa differs from others with its niche boutique ambience. The labels and clothing are very limited and packaging, delivery and returns policy are all top notch. The atmosphere is quite exciting: upcoming sales are counted down by the hour, so it’s up to you to log on and snap up the best buys before anyone else. No need to get down and grubby, simply point, click and buy from the comfort of your own home. And with free membership and cherry picked designer fashion at amazing prices – what’s not to love?
Ideeli recreates the feel of a sample sale without the need to duck and dive as you reach for heavily discounted pieces from Oscar de la Renta, Celine, Zac Posen and more. There are also weekly giveaways that have included handbags from Balenciaga, Chloe and Escada. Ideeli is the only site to offer the option of membership levels; First Row membership is $83 a year and provides exclusive access to giveaways and first dibs on sale merchandise, while Second Row membership is free and by invitation only. First Row members gain access to sales an hour earlier than others, which is not a bad deal, since most events end within three minutes. Ideeli bills itself as being the only member site to offer not only discounts on luxury merchandise, but also exclusive shopping events, giveaways, editorial links and community.
Our Fashion Tip: Single items are offered for sale or giveaway each day at random times so be sure to sign up to email alerts. If you do opt for full membership, you’ll get a $25 credit for any referred friend who becomes a buyer.