Chic-onomics: The OUTNET

April 6, 2011 Posted by Mgguzman

By Marriam M Mossalli


For many of us, buying that new luxury handbag we’ve been drooling over usually means very little cash left over to put inside it. However, thanks to NET-A-PORTER Limited’s newest fashion endeavor, THE OUTNET.COM, fashionistas worldwide can now save a few more pennies, without sacrificing style!

To be perfectly honest, I wrote this article with much hesitation. Being the selfish shopper that I am, I was reluctant to share the industry’s best-kept secret. THE is the definitive virtual fashion outlet, offering top designer brands at unheard of prices — just imagine a Balmain jacket for just under SR 10,000! (For those of you unfamiliar with the French brand, Balmain is notoriously expensive with pieces usually starting at $10,000!)
Since its launch in April 2009 by the same fashionable people behind NET-A PORTER.COM, THE OUTNET.COM is increasingly being discovered as the go-to destination for the global, style-conscious shopper who looks to economize on her budget — not her fashion sense!
Stocking an unparalleled selection of previous season designer fashion from over 200 brands and shipping to 170 countries, THE OUTNET.COM is the exclusive designer outlet, where — unfortunately for me — everyone is invited.
Many Middle Eastern fashionistas may be a bit reserved when it comes to buying past seasons’ collections. We we dread the condescending “Oh, that’s nice, what is that? Dior 2009?” comment. But, THE OUTNET isn’t about unsold inventory of outdated collections — the clothes are always stylish. And, with the help of the website’s director, Stephanie Phair, THE OUTNET.COM is always en vogue!
Arab News got a chance to chat with Phair and get her expert advice on how to shop last season for this season — and even the next! Because any smart fashionistas knows a Burberry trench, albeit from the 2010 collection, will always be a classic. Besides, as much as our husbands would beg to differ, a woman can never have too many designer purses!

Stephanie Phair: A good rule is: don’t buy it just because it’s on sale. Start creating outfits in your mind so that you can make sure an item will work with the rest of your wardrobe. A website like THE OUTNET shows you how to outfit pieces and channel current trends with previous season fashion.
Another tip is to come with an idea of what you want – such as a bag – but be flexible when it comes to the brand or style. You might be surprised and discover a label you hadn’t heard of before. If you’re shopping online, make sure you register to be emailed about new arrivals. Items sell out fast when you’re shopping previous season, so you need to be quick off the mark.

The key is to cover your bases first with classics, such as a blazer, a great pair of pants, a little black dress and a pair of pumps. These are pieces to keep so you can spend more money on them. Once you have the classics in place, you can buy trendier pieces to match and wear with them. I find the easiest way to tap into the trend is with accessories such as costume jewelry, a handbag, a belt or scarf. Blouses are great too because they are so versatile. This season, buy them in the brightest color you can find and wear them with white. It’s all about where you shop. Look for places that highlight trends and show you how to outfit. Shop somewhere like THE OUTNET that offers an edited selection by theme and trend and shows you how to update your look.

Everyday at THE OUTNET! We always have designer pieces at up to 70 percent off the original price and you can shop 24/7. We also have special sales with even better discounts — you need to register for these to gain entry. In our clearance sales, you can snap up a designer item at up to 90 percent off.
Otherwise, I recommend getting to know when the sales period for shopping starts in certain regions and plan a little trip or go online.
For example, in the United States, the beginning of the holiday shopping season for offline retailers starts on the Friday following Thanksgiving; whereas, online retailers offer site-wide discounts and other perks like free shipping on the Monday after Thanksgiving. In Europe, the sales period starts in January. Even though they are called the “January Sales” in the UK, it is worth noting that these sales actually begin in earnest on Dec. 26. It’s also always worth popping back to these stores about a month after they go on sale as this is when there are further markdowns or they might even be hosting a clearance.

Minimalism is still around and a pair of crisp tailored trousers is a key piece to hang on to. Camel is important, but you should also invest in white — the shade for 2011. Lace is still a big trend for 2011, although this time around it is bright and colorful, whereas for 2010 is was a darker, more gothic take on lace.
Color is still very much around, in fact more so than ever for 2011. A slash of color will update your wardrobe instantly — a pop bright accessory, such as a bag or shoe is an easy way to adopt the trend.
I would definitely stash the feminine fifties styles that were around for 2010, but keep leopard print, military styles and leather as these have been assimilated into everyone’s everyday wardrobe. Key pieces to invest in include a pair of kick flare jeans, a silk blouse and wedges — it’s all about the 70s!

The good news is that fashion trends always come full circle. At THE OUTNET, we edit our offering so that our customers can effortlessly find previous season pieces that tap into current trends. The 70s are having a revival, so we have lots of fabulous flared and high-waisted wide-leg jeans available, as well as below-the-knee skirts, retro blouses, maxi dresses and platform wedges. White is a major runway trend for spring and we’ve got everything from ready-to-wear to bags, shoes and accessories. Color blocking is another key trend we are backing this season, which we’re pulling together with lots of metallic accessories.

Never part with a designer’s signature piece. Keep hold of your Burberry trench or your Oscar de la Renta gown or your Balmain blazer.

The Middle East is one of our fastest growing markets. I think there are several reasons for this. The recession and the Internet have brought discount shopping to the forefront, plus it is now a chic and convenient experience. At THE OUTNET, our view is that this is a beautiful product, so we treat it as such. We hold our brands, edit, merchandising, editorial and customer service to the same standards as retailers in the full-price world. What’s more, in a crowded fashion arena, celebrities are adopting more of a “mix & match” mindset and wearing vintage with high fashion in order to stand out. This has impacted the consumer and made her more receptive to buying previous season fashion.

Our customers in the Middle East love special pieces from designers such as Balmain and Emilio Pucci. The most popular category is dresses followed by footwear. When it comes to shoes, it’s always Christian Louboutin!

On April 26th, we will be presenting a fabulous selection of wedding appropriate gowns and cocktail dresses by Alberta Ferretti, Erdem, Notte, Temperley London and many more, on sale with discounts of up to 70 percent off! The modern bride wants to have it all — the perfect white dress to exchange vows and a disco dress to dance until dawn in. THE OUTNET can make this dream come true. But remember, items tend to sell out fast and with royal wedding fever sweeping the nation, we predict a sale sensation.

Arab News article