Finanshionistas: You’re Invited

This post is by invitation only.

The secrets I am about to share with you are have amounted to thousands upon thousands of designer dollars saved, a fabulous constructed wardrobe, and an obsession with the 11 AM. “Flash boutiques“, as I like to call, them are slowly making their way across the internet. And recently auction giant Ebay has tapped into its profitability and potential. Designer clothing at sale prices: Heaven with a web address (! But as with anything else, too much of a good thing can lead to a really, really bad thing.

How it works

Each site is a little different but they generally follow the same concept. First, they are by invitation only. (Aren’t you glad you read this blog?) At a certain time each day (including weekends) sales are announced and launched for the public to shop. They usually are open for two days only. Think of them as mini-online-sample sales in which you’re able to find sizes other than “below-zero” and “round-to-the-nearest-whole-number”. You reserve your items in your timed cart, an ingenious idea that places an insurmountable amount of pressure on the prospective customer to buy (AKA send money) within the next fifteen minutes, otherwise your item is released to the hounds and could be purchased by another!

Some things to look out for are shipping, sizing, and the return policy. Shipping can add up but not all sites charge you to ship each individual item. Ruelala for example offers free shipping throughout the entire day once an order has been placed.  While Ideeli does offer a flat rate on shipping, it will cost you $9.95 each order.

TART for Hautelook

Sizing can be tricky too – but any savvy cyber shopper will tell you that that’s always been the inherent risk in ordering anything online. I’m proud (should I be?) to say I’ve familiarized myself with cuts, fabrics and sizes from many designers and I know what will look good and what probably won’t fall right on my body. As always, they offer measurements and sizing tools to assist.

Now the return policy is crucial. Do you prefer cash back? Can you live with store-credit only? Most  – if not all- of these types of sites will refund your money in the form of a credit. When I was trying to quit these sites (yes, it was like a drug to me), I couldn’t return the items for store credit because I knew that would only perpetuate the cycle. I’d return, they’d refund credit, and I’d buy on their credit and on my credit card!

* Check out MNM Merchandise for great deals I’ve come across! All BRAND NEW clothes and shoes!! Subscribe to be the first to find out when new stuff is posted! Find it here!  *

With Great Power, Comes Great Responsibility

If terrorists were looking for me, they’d know exactly where to find me everyday at 11 AM: Cyber-surfing at my fav online boutiques! (I’ve got to make a better reference!) But things weren’t always so great. At one point, I had to place a self-imposed embargo on these luxury goods. The itch became too much to bear as I would cave into it everyday. I accumulated several hundreds of dollars in credit card debt from these sites alone. Not only did I receive weekly notifications (so I could prepare myself so I could organize my meeting schedule for the week around these launches) but I eventually signed up for daily emails. I became great friends with the post office, UPS and my neighbors next door (who I still think kept one of my boxes – “lost in the mail” my a**!).

Needless to say, it wasn’t a healthy relationship.

Betsey Johnson for RueLaLa

If you are currently in credit card debt and/or are already on a very tight budget, then you are NOT invited! Do not even go there homie! Stay away until you have finished your Finanshionista training. Now, I’m not tryna be your Momma, but signing up for these sites will only push you further away from your goals, not closer. Continue to fight the good fight and revisit this invitation later.

For those of you who have crossed over, you too are not immune from the ‘tick tock’ of the 11AM clock. Psychologically, it does something to you. It was hands down my late morning smoke break at work. I don’t smoke by the way but I grew very anxious around 10:30AM. It was an escape into a world of pretty colors, feminine fabrics and unique, fashionable art.

Finanshionistas: You’re Invited!

Now that I am using the sites responsibly (can’t say I’ve been clean and sober), I wanted to share these treasures with other Finanshionistas. Once again they are invitation only. Click on any of the images below and enter a world where Fashion and Finance coexist peacefully. If I’m missing one, let me know! (seriously, send me an email or leave a comment with the link)

** To clarify, I am not on drugs and used drug jargon only to express my point of view. Finanshionistas will understand – even if you don’t **


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