E-commerce, apps, blogs and social media: 45 ways to roll with the tech-savvy fashion crowd
The Internet age has revolutionized the world of fashion. Designer legends Diane Von Furstenberg and Christian Louboutin can be found in the Twitterverse. That Balenciaga bag you've been drooling over can now be snapped up instantaneously online, if you have the funds. Blogging has become the new black and can now be as influential as any big-time fashion magazine. Our technology-forward world shows no signs of stopping, so it's time to jump on the bandwagon-- and we're here to help. We found 45 tech-savvy ways to help you navigate the best the fashion world is offering. From an app that aggregates great street style to Zac Posen's glam Instagram, we have you covered, one click at a time. -- Matthew T. Murray
E-COMMERCE: 14 SITES TO SHOP The thrill of window shopping can now be experienced simply by opening your Internet browser. A slew of e-commerce options have taken the web by storm. You can peruse beautiful luxuries out of your price range or snap up some inexpensive wares.
1. The Outnet: The Outnet has become a paradise for women with an affinity for luxury labels. It is Net-a-Porter's answer to fast fashion, serving up designers like Valentino and Stella McCartney for up to 75 percent off. What's more is that Oscar de la Renta recently designed a capsule collection exclusively for the site, proving that it isn't just sale-savvy women paying attention. Shop at theoutnet.com.
2. Nasty Gal: Nasty Gal has had young women swooning since 2006. With a hipster aesthetic and a dash of sex appeal, Nasty Gal offers vintage selects from across the nation in addition to a contemporary line, with everything from printed A-line skirts to leather peplum tops. Nasty Gal has become a go-to in e-commerce and made $128 million in sales last year, according to The New York Times. Shop at nastygal.com.
3. J. Hilburn: J. Hilburn is a luxe menswear site specializing in bringing you custom service and tailoring for all your business needs. There are 2,000 style consultants across the nation ready to find you the perfect suit or dress shirt for your body type and price. The cost isn't cheap (suit jackets can reach prices of $625) but it beats the thousand-dollar prices of other companies offering the same services and luxurious materials. Shop at jhilburn.com.
4. C. Wonder: C. Wonder has become known for its bright, cheery clothing for women of all ages. The price is accessible, and the products are versatile enough to work with a wide array of styles. C. Wonder isn't only online -- there are brick-and-mortar stores in New York, Georgia, California and more -- but the chain hasn't reached a retail fever pitch. This means you have a chance to snap up unique styles for this summer that other women won't yet be rocking. Shop at cwonder.com.
5. Bauble Bar: Bauble Bar is an e-tailer specializing in all things jewelry. Its founders were frustrated with shopping for glitzy accessories when there seemed to be no middle ground: jewelry was either too pretty and too pricey or too cheap and tacky. Their mission was to "create the ultimate source for fashion jewelry by offering unparalleled selection and shoppable style guidance, all at a guilt-free price point." They now offer everything from vibrant earrings to chic necklaces. The necklace above is $42 at baublebar.com.
6. ASOS: ASOS has become the zeitgeist of fast fashion, by selling their own line of sleek streetwear in addition to 50,000 branded lines. Esquire Magazine called it "the credit crunch defying brand" and T: The New York Times Style Magazine says it is "the undisputed champion of online fashion." ASOS caters to men and women of all ages, with lace dresses and structured blazers for working women and a fresh crop of menswear with a little edge. Shop at asos.com.
7. Warby Parker: Eyewear company Warby Parker was founded with the mentality that "prescription eyewear simply should not cost $300." They design and produce sleek sunglasses and prescription eyeglasses that cut out the middle man and allow them to sell higher-quality eyewear priced between $95 and $150. Another incentive to buy: for every pair of glasses sold, Warby Parker will distribute a pair to someone in need. That means looking good and feeling good. Shop at warbyparker.com.
8. Missguided: Hailing from the ever stylish United Kingdom, Missguided is now available stateside. They founded the company with the idea that "fashion is a right not a luxury" and churn out runway-inspired looks that girls on a budget can snap up. Dresses run from $25 to $72, and trendy wedges will run you $42. Shop at missguidedus.com.
9. Frank and Oak: Frank and Oak strives to offer dapper mens' workwear and casual clothing at affordable prices. Most products are $50 and under, with blazers running up to $115. The site is big on American sportswear -- specializing in the perfect T-shirt and chinos, and there is a community feeling to shopping, where customers can upload Instagrams of their Frank and Oak look to the style board. Shop at frankandoak.com.
10. Bonobos: Bonobos was founded with the desire to craft the perfect pair of pants for men. Founder Brian Spaly couldn't find a pair that fit him just right, so he set out to create a solution. Now, Bonobos offers casual weekend button-downs in summery plaids, $88, and that perfect pair of pants for men in a variety of fits and colors, $88 to $175. Tall men will be interested in the option for a 36-inch inseam and the waists run to a size 40. If you are concerned with fit, Bonobos offers a Guideshop. Located in Manhattan, Boston, San Francisco, Georgetown and Chicago, the Guideshops allow you to try on Bonobos for size and then place an order right there or in the comfort of your own home. Shop at bonobos.com.
11. Tobi: Tobi is a member's only site that offers a slew of trend-driven, youthful apparel and accessories for women and teens. Whether you are searching for a crop top, micro-shorts or printed dresses, Tobi gives you 50 percent off on your first order, and joining is free. Shop at tobi.com.
12. Gilt: Gilt has been a guilty pleasure among the fashionable for years now. It offers flash sales for men and women, with every designer wardrobe necessity under the sun. Whether you are coveting the perfect date night dress or a suave pair of loafers, chances are Gilt has you covered. They also have taken the liberty of making shopping even easier -- not only can you shop by designer, but they curate looks for you under labels like "The Wedding Event" or "Wardrobe Essentials: Everything You Need" to make hunting down styles that much easier. Shop at gilt.com.
13. Society6: Every well-heeled woman and sharply dressed man needs a stand-out iPhone case in this day and age. It has become an accessory in and of itself. Society6 has the most incredible selection of iPhone cases -- and that's not all. The site operates by buying and producing the artwork of its users, so whether you want these whimsical iPhone cases ($35) or the same patterns on a pillow ($20), Society6 makes it possible. And, in this day and age, who doesn't want a touch of something unique? Shop at society6.com.
14. Fab: When you get tired of perusing fashion-forward skirts and sky-high platforms, head on over to Fab.com. Fab is one of the most buzzed about websites and made Forbes' list of Top Ten Tech Companies of 2012. They operate as a flash sale website, offering everything from artsy prints and home furnishings to unique women's and men's clothing. This GummyGoods Night Light, above, is $21 and just one of the many well-curated items on the site that is guaranteed to make you smile. Shop at fab.com.
BLOGS: 13 SITES FOR STYLE INSPIRATION Now that you have perused the wonderful Web for its online shopportunities, it is time to check out blogs to see how you will pair your new wares. Blogs can be a source of style inspiration or can be a fun way to spend a lazy Sunday afternoon. We found 13 for men and women of all ages.
1. The Sartorialist: Scott Schumann, the blogger behind The Sartorialist, spiked the street style sensation now rampant online. He travels the world and snaps people who use fashion as a means to tell their personal stories. And he's turned his sharp eye and blogging into a viable business: a book deal ("The Closer" is pictured above), contracts with GQ and Paris Vogue, an advertising partnership with Burberry and exhibits of his photography at esteemed museums. Browse at sartorialist.com.
2. The Coveteur: Have you ever seen an impeccably dressed person and immediately fantasized about the wonders their wardrobe must hold? The Coveteur delves into the fashion-forward closets of tastemakers and celebrities with eye-catching photos of their astonishing clothing collections. It has recently incorporated a shop option to find similar styles to the ones you'll inevitably be drooling over. Browse at thecoveteur.com.
3. College Fashionista: College Fashionista believes "your campus is the runway." The blog highlights the sartorial successes of college students across the nation, from the Academy of Art University to Yale University. Not only do they zero in on the personal style of both male and female students, but the blog also tracks down experts in the fashion business to give advice for a post-graduation life. Browse at collegefashionista.com.
4. Ladys and Gents: Ladys and Gents puts a spotlight on precious little kids in super stylish garments. Whether it's a cute toddler in a Bonpoint dress or a 4-year-old donning streetwear that screams swag, Ladys and Gents finds the pint-sized fashionistas of America and inspires label-loving moms everywhere. Browse at ladysandgents.com.
5. Dapper Lou: Blogger Louge Delcy sets out to document the style of the modern man. His blog Dapper Lou features photographs of stylish gentlemen showcasing new ideas of masculinity and modern takes on the dandy look. He also offers his take on a wide range of fashion conundrums men face in addition to easy ways to jump in on tricky trends. Browse at dapperlou.com.
6. Moeh Fashion: Long Island's own Colby Milano is the blogger behind Moeh Fashion. Milano's style suggestions and photographs of her day-to-day looks landed her on Teen Vogue's Top 100 bloggers list. She features looks perfect for teenagers and college students, from the Hamptons to Manhattan and beyond. Browse at moehfashion.com.
7. Menswear Dog: The proliferation of bloggers makes it difficult for one singular sensation to stand out. However, Menswear Dog is accomplishing this with its unique approach. We have no idea which homo sapien is behind this, but the blogger uses a Shiba Inu dog to showcase the way an urban professional male should be dressing. This dog dresses better than most men walking around. Browse at mensweardog.tumblr.com.
8. Ashley Falcon: You may have come across one of Marie Claire's columns, "Big Girl in a Skinny World." The groundbreaking column is penned by Ashley Falcon and touches on the challenges of being plus-sized and chic. Falcon's blog is a personal style site that shows off her outfits and gives tips on looking great and loving your body. It also features selects from her Marie Claire column and work for People Style Watch, where she selects the best pickings for plus-size women. Browse at ashleyfalcon.com.
9. Design Sponge: If you are tired of looking at clothing, Design Sponge is a design blog for the stylish decorators. The tastemaker blog features DIY projects, interior makeovers, suggestions for entertaining and much more. Browse at designsponge.com.
10. Mr. Porter Style Help: Mr. Porter has established itself as the go-to in e-commerce for fashion-forward men with cash to burn. However, whether you're the dapper chief executive of a Fortune 500 company or working 9 to 5 on minimum wage, Mr. Porter's Style Help blog is a savior. With video manuals on the importance of denim, a glossary for men's fashion, insider tips on how to look your best and so much more, this blog is an extremely helpful resource even if you can't afford the Burberry jacket Mr. Porter is selling. Browse at mrporter.com/stylehelp/home.
11. Sea of Shoes: Jane Aldridge's blog Sea of Shoes is a Cinderella story that has become the stuff of legends. Kanye West gave the blog a shout-out for Aldridge's impeccable style, and fashion icon Karl Lagerfeld has invited her to Chanel shows season after season. With a penchant for designer duds and a unique take on dressing, Aldridge has become the go-to blogger that supplies the mixmaster fashionistas of her generation with inspiration. Browse at seaofshoes.com.
12. AdR Factory: Vogue Japan's fashion editor Anna Dello Russo is a force of gravity: Street-style photographers dash to photograph her wildly eccentric outfits at Fashion Week, many of which are pictured above. Her glitzy, over-the-top spirit can now be found in her self-titled blog and features personal style, things she adores and interesting graphics that pay homage to the circus that is fashion. Browse at annadellorusso.com.
13. Budget Fashionista: For those who love a good discount (and who doesn't?!), heading over to the Budget Fashionista is a must. Blogger Katherine Finney finds the shockingly affordable and equally chic wares that e-commerce and fast-fashion chains are churning out. Everything from summer's best hats for under $50 to decorating your house on a tight budget is featured on her blog. Browse at thebudgetfashionista.com.
INSTAGRAM: SIX TO FOLLOW Instagram, the app in which users can upload photos of everything from their outfits to party scenes with friends, has become a major source of style inspiration. With the fashion flock swarming Instagram, it is time to start following fabulous people. We found six great fashionistas and dapper gents you must follow.
1. Natalie Joos: Joos, pictured left, is a fashion consultant and casting agent and often experiments with outre silhouettes for a night on the town. Find her on Instagram at @jxxsy.
2. Zac Posen: Designer Zac Posen is a self-described Instagram addict, and he often uploads beautiful women in his beautiful creations. This gown was a custom number whipped up for actress Leslie Bibbs at a red carpet event last year. Find him on Instagram at @zac_posen.
3. Cara Delevigne: Model Cara Delevigne has been hailed Model of the Year at the British Fashion Awards and is highly regarded in Vogue. Her Instagram is a mixed bag of her beautiful modeling work and the goofy, wild behavior off-camera that has made her popular. Find her on Instagram at @caradelevingne.
4. Derek Blasberg: Blasberg, creative director of Harper's Bazaar, is a fixture on the New York social scene. Often clad in Dolce & Gabbana and mingling with the likes of actress Jessica Alba and supermodel Kate Moss, his Instagram is a portrait of an all around fabulous lifestyle. Find him on Instagram at @derekblasberg.
5. Erika Bearman: Bearman is Oscar de la Renta's public relations director. Her Instagram gives followers an inside look into the world of everything Oscar and a glimpse into the fashionable life she leads. Just ask her 164,743 followers-- they can't get enough. Find her on Instagram at @oscarprgirl.
6. Aimee Song: Interior decorator Aimee Song is stylish and sweet in the photos she posts. Posting everything from glamorous globetrots to Paris to the coveted "It" bags of the moment, Song's Instagram is a must to follow and swoon over. Find her on Instagram at @songofstyle.
TWITTER: SIX TO FOLLOW Oh, you're not on Twitter? LOL! The social media hub for sharing thoughts in 140 characters or less has revolutionized the fashion business, with lightning-fast tweets releasing stylish tidbits in real-time. We found six fashion-minded individuals to watch on Twitter.
1. Cathy Horyn: Horyn is the fashion critic for the New York Times and her Twitter is a resource for all things fashion. Breaking news and twitpics (pictures shared on Twitter) convey the fabulous happenings and catwalk extravaganzas that are the life of this fashion journalist. Follow @CathyHorynNYT.
2. Style.com: Style.com is the web zeitgeist for fashion. It streams runway shows, posts photos from the catwalk seconds after a fashion show and features exclusive interviews with supermodels and beauty industry executives. Its Twitter feed shares links to the website but also tweets styling advice, epic moments from exclusive parties and responses to people's questions and concerns regarding fashion. Follow @styledotcom.
3. Joe Zee: The fashion world has gotten a bad reputation for savage, power-hungry editors (does "The Devil Wears Prada" ring a bell?). As creative director of Elle Magazine, Joe Zee overturns these stereotypes. He may tweet about fashion trends and Elle-related content, but his Twitter feed stands out because it is personable and genuine and realizes that there is a big world out there outside the fashion clique. Follow @mrjoezee.
4. Rachel Zoe: Mega-watt celebrity stylist, mother, fashion designer, author and reality TV star Rachel Zoe runs a tight ship, but her Twitter feed is where she lets loose. She responds to fans on their sartorial issues and tweets about the beauties of being a mother. Follow @RachelZoe.
5. Ford Models: If you live for catwalk queens of past and present, Ford Models is the Twitter account you want to follow. The latest news on their roster of leggy beauties can always be found here. Follow @FordModels.
6. Choupette Lagerfeld: Fashion magnate Karl Lagerfeld means business when it comes to his pets. A fluffy white cat now leads a more glamorous life than most of us mortals. His kitty Choupette Lagerfeld has an iPad, two maids and jet-sets around the world. She also has a Twitter that documents her furry life and fabulous times. Follow for a laugh @ChoupettesDiary.
APPS: SIX TO DOWNLOAD Now that you have the best websites to shop from, inspiring blogs to pore over and Twitter and Instagram feeds to scroll through, it's time to put the focus on mobile apps. Apps have changed the way we purchase music, drive, communicate and virtually every aspect of our tech-dominated lives. It has also changed the way we get dressed in the morning and shop on the weekends. We found six style-setting apps for you to download now.
1. Trendabl: Trendabl could be the new Instagram for fashion lovers. Users upload a photo of their trendy wares, place a glitzy filter on it and tag it so friends and strangers alike can browse their personal style. Trendabl works on iPhones, iPod touches and iPads.
2. Style.com app: If your invite to the Marc Jacobs runway show somehow got lost in the mail, the Style.com app is your saving grace. Style.com brings the runway experience straight into your home and the app is an instantaneous way to enjoy fashion shows as if you're in the front row. You may not be able to afford the pieces you lust after while browsing through designer collections, but at least the app is free for iPhone and iPad users, and just $5 for those downloading on a Nook Color.
3. Fashism: We all know the feeling. After spending too much time changing and perfecting an outfit, we ask the age-old question "How do I look?" to someone who could care less. This point of contention was the driving force behind the Fashism app, where users can upload a photo of their outfit to unbiased strangers who vote whether they "Love It" or "Hate It." The app is a lifesaver if you don't happen to have a trusty second opinion before you leave your house or if you just want some quick suggestions on how to spruce up a maxi-dress. The app is free for Android and iPhone, and has a website with the same functions at fashism.com.
4. Speak Chic: You know that awkward moment when you or a friend-- gasp!-- mispronounce the exotic name of a major fashion label? Thankfully, the Speak Chic app provides pronunciations of fashion brands along with a brief history of the label so you can impress with your knowledge instead of getting embarrassed. Download for $1.99 on iPhone, iPod touch or iPad.
5. Chicfeed: Street style blogs now come a dime a dozen. New York Times photographer Bill Cunningham arguably was the first to chronicle the well-heeled and when Scott Schuman of aforementioned blog The Sartorialist ignited the trend, street style spin-offs began popping up. Chicfeed's app aggregates the best street style from your favorite blogs with a few simple clicks. It's free for download on both iPhone and Android phones.
6. The Daily W: W Magazine's app is perfect for tech-savvy shoppers with avant-garde edge. If you love the eccentric creativity behind W, you are guaranteed to fall head-over-heels for the app which includes exclusive celebrity interviews, in-app shopping options and so much more. Download is for iPad only.