In the digital age, online flash sales are the new way to shop.
They’re addictive—I’m a member of several flash sale websites. I get their e-mails twice daily and check out the discounted designer merchandise on a regular basis.
Gilt Groupe, Rue La La, HauteLook, The Outnet and Billion Dollar Babes are just a few flash sale sites, offering products ranging from funky ikat pillows and wine to European men’s wallets, Marc Jacobs handbags and vacation packages to Turks and Caicos. Though becoming a member of one of these sites occurs through invitation only, the six degrees of separation theory suggests that you probably already know someone who can get you in.
As a college student, buying designer items might not be the most practical thing for you to do with your cash. However, with discounts as high as 50 to 85 percent off, your parents, friends and bank account would be proud.
The key to successfully navigating these sites is to have both speed and a clear idea of what works for your body type. Since shoppers are sometimes only given 24 hours to purchase items—which may only be available in “limited quantity”—it is a good idea to know your measurements and budget ahead of time.
To give you a glimpse of what a flash sale experience is like, here’s a rundown of my ultimate favorite of the bunch: Gilt Groupe (www.gilt.com).
Gilt Groupe is one of the few retailers that boasts increased sales during the recession. It’s the one-stop shop for anyone interested in living a luxury lifestyle on a budget. Featured in Forbes, the Wall Street Journal, many tech blogs and numerous fashion magazines, Gilt Groupe is the brainchild of Harvard Business School alumni Alexis Maybank and Alexandra Wilkis Wilson.
In 2007, the duo created this site to bring the frenzy surrounding New York sample sales to a wider audience. In this vein, Gilt’s product offerings set it apart from the competition. With designer clothing and home decor, as well as discounts on hotels, travel packages and cosmetics, Gilt has positioned itself to be the go-to spot for everything. Last week, the site even launched a men’s style manual and developed an iPad application for the technologically savvy shopper on the go.
Gilt Groupe isn’t just for Neiman Marcus cardholders looking for a good deal. Collections by up-and-coming designers are also featured on the site, and prices go as low as $12.
Advance previews of upcoming sales allow you to decide whether or not you’re going to pencil in a one-hour block to shop on Gilt Groupe. Discounts go up to 70 percent off retail prices, meaning you could save hundreds on big-ticket designer items. Unfortunately, the sales window starts at noon and lasts only 36 hours, compared to 48 hours at Billion Dollar Babes or 72 hours for some collections on HauteLook. One bonus is that you can download a Gilt clock that alerts you when the sale begins and has a countdown to the next one. This may make you seem a bit like an overzealous shopper, but isn’t that what competitive shopping, bargain hunting and flash sales are all about?
I had a very interesting weekend. I modeled in an art fashion show that featured paintings, jewelry and sculptures. Prices of the items were announced and passersby were encouraged to buy. Luckily the dress I was given to wear was crafted from recycled cashmere, so I didn’t have to worry too much about being cold. Though I do think my leather leggings and zipper heels clashed terribly with the dress…
If you’re a guy or you know anything about men’s fashion, you’ll know that recent trends in menswear have been a bit daunting. Spring and summer shows had male models sporting crop tops, man-leggings and other crazy things no guy at Washington University—or elsewhere, for that matter—should wear. Ever. This fall, however, is all about refinement. That can’t be too bad, right? Below are some of the top trends to be mindful of this season.
This is by no means a novel fall trend, but following the theme of refinement, designers turned to classic shapes and styles. The military/aviator trend in fashion first appeared after World War II and can be achieved simply by wearing an olive, dark-colored jacket or blazer with dark jeans and solid-colored shirts. Simply add black or dark brown combat boots and you’ve got yourself a new, easy-to-wear look. The colors to keep in mind are olive or army green, black, gray and tan. Textures include wool, shearling and leather, and details such as laces on boots, brass hardware on jackets and form-fitting tailoring are key. Burberry and Louis Vuitton are just a few designers embracing this fashion trend. Not only is this an easy trend to adopt (what guy doesn’t like dark colors?), but it will also enhance your masculinity.
2. The Smooth Gentleman
The thought of velvet may bring to mind the image of an older Hugh Heffner-esque guy wearing a velvet dressing coat and smoking a pipe in his wing-backed chair by the fireplace. But that doesn’t mean you’ll end up looking stereotypical by adopting the velvet trend. The easiest way to incorporate this trend into your wardrobe is by donning a velvet bowtie or a velvet blazer. Sure, this trend was popular last fall; however, the main colors to consider this year are black, navy and deep purple, which are far subtler and more refined. If you’re intimidated by the thought of a full-on blazer and aren’t a bowtie kind of guy, consider purchasing a blazer with velvet lapels. At a more formal event, this is a great way to stand out from a crowd of typical suit blazers or sport coats without looking like a circus freak. Still unsure about this trend? Take inspiration from looks by Perry Ellis.
3. The Ruffian
This trend essentially involves wearing lots of black, leather and chains. The runway looks from the Dsquared2 Fall 2010 show are a good place to start, with the “tough hockey player” theme that permeates the collection. As with the military trend, combat boots are vital to achieving this look. Following along with the general trend of refinement, however, pants and jackets or coats should be slim-fitting and tailored to your body type—in other words, nothing excessively loose or baggy. I would describe this trend as a mix between the 1950s wise guy and a punky look from the 1980s. So how can you, a guy in college, recreate this trend without looking like an extra from Grease? Consider wearing a black v-neck or button-down under a black wool or leather jacket and pairing these with medium wash jeans and black combat boots. It’s edgy without being over the top (maybe consider leaving the chains and eyeliner at home).
Even though I didn’t like her character on the MTV show, The City, I do have to admit, the 24-year old New York socialite does have style. I usually try not to look at celebrities or even demi-celebrities for inspiration, but just about every time I see photos of Olivia, I am impressed.
I found this song on a music block a few months ago and decided to share the Dada Life remix of the song Kites by Gravitonas, a group based in Stockholm. I didn’t want to post the official video since I find it a bit creepy, but of course it’s on youtube.
They just released a new single last week called Religious, so I’m looking forward to that video!
How cool is their official artwork?