Stuck in the web you're spinning: a guide to online shopping

Interwebs, you've made us into slipper-clad, coffee-mug-clutching pajama monsters, hunched over laptops with no need to even open the curtains to be connected to the rest of the world. So we're kind of isolated sometimes. But that doesn't mean we can't be isolated in style. At the request of a couple of my buddies, I've compiled a list of my favourite online clothes shopping haunts. And guess what I'm wearing while I write this? A hoodie from Wal-mart and pink and blue polka dot pj bottoms. So much for style.

First, a general comment on shipping. If you live anywhere other than the States, the shipping charges can be so ridiculous, you'd think you were asking them to hop in a canoe and row your parcel over, fighting off sharks the whole way. So the first thing I look for in an online shop is cheap or free shipping, in my case, to Australia.

And about sizing, I try to shop in familiar territory where I know my size.  If I've never tried on the brand before, I tend not to buy unless it's irresistibly cheap or just plain irresistible, and in those cases, I might buy a size up so it can be altered to fit.

1.

JCrew

I love JCrew. The quality of their product usually justifies the price, they’re not afraid of pattern or colour, and they always have tons of stuff on sale.

They absolutely pass my shipping criteria: $10 flat rate shipping to Australia, and whoever rows their canoe is like, so fast.

2.

Anthropologie

Aside from really unique, pretty prints and cuts, what I love best about Anthropologie is that customers leave reviews on each product, and some people even post handy photos. It gives you a good idea about how things fit real humans, whether the fabric warrants the price, or how true to screen the colour is.

Shipping is a bit more expensive: flat rate $25, but often their stuff falls into the irresistible category so I just suck it up.

3.

Urban Outfitters

This is Anthropologie's scruffy, edgy little sister. The clothes are a bit younger, there are more polyester dresses and plastic shoes, but I still usually find cool casual stuff here.

The shipping to Australia is $10 for orders up to $49.99, and free for orders over $50.

4.

ShopBop

Once you get over how stupid their name is, you discover that these guys carry a squazillion different amazing brands. Their stuff can be more high end, read: expensive, so I like them best for bags, shoes, and jeans.

In a brief aside on jeans, I would just like to say that Earnest Sewn jeans are THE BEST JEANS FOR WOMEN THAT EVER EXISTED IN THE WHOLE ENTIRE WORLD EVER. No other jeans hold a candle to Earnest Sewn. They're expensive, but you can't put a price on making your ass look fantastic. ShopBop used to carry them, but not anymore. Humph.

They have free international shipping and literally - but not actually literally, it just seems that way - you click "order" and seconds later a delivery guy is ringing your doorbell.

5.

 ASOS

I began my romance with ASOS when I discovered their maternity range. So much cute stuff, and so cheap. Because I'm in Australia and our seasons are opposite, everything current season for me was on sale. Hello cheap coats with belly room aplenty.

Fun fact: they also sell clothes for people who aren't knocked up, and like ShopBop, they carry a massive range of brands, and unlike ShopBop their sale section is packed with crazy-awesome deals.

These guys have free international shipping, but it takes about 10 days.

There you have it folks. Now pull out the plastic, go forth into the matrix and shop your brains out.