The 50 Best fashion & beauty websites
You don’t have to trudge up and down the high street to track down the latest trends, you can do it all from home. Emma Akbareian has all the top bookmarks for savvy shoppers
Friday 10 May 2013
From the founders of London clothing shop b store is new retail venture Other. Launched in September, it plays host to a mix of emerging designers, exclusive collections, under the radar labels and its own clothing line.
Combatting the trend of disposable fashion, where clothes are quickly bought, worn and discarded at the bottom of the wardrobe, is this clothes-swapping website. The site provides a forum where customers can list their clothes for free to be swapped with fellow members. Because you never know when one man’s trash may be another man’s treasure.
This site is a dream guide for fans of Made in Chelsea. For those who want to know their Bluebird from their Boujis, this is an integrated site dedicated to the affluent area. You’ll find hotel and restaurant reviews, interviews, blogs and even wedding advice all sitting alongside pop-up shops from Chelsea-friendly brands.
The world of online retail is a busy place with an overwhelming amount of choice, which is where this site comes in. It allows you to create your own space where only the brands you like appear. To make browsing even easier you can sign up to receive notifications for when new stock arrives and when there’s a reduction in the price of your favourite things.
For some shoppers, trawling around vintage boutiques and charity shops in search of a designer bargain is a regular retail activity. This site takes the legwork with its online retail space of specially selected and authenticated designer items. One of the gems currently available is the highly coveted Chanel 2.55 bag.
It is a widely known but little acknowledged fact that most retailers enjoy huge profit margins on the stock they sell. This new website cuts out the middle man and sells direct from manufacturers to offer a much more appealing price; a bargain at just £35 for each style of shoe.
Kotur Rubik’s Cube clutch, £420
Brand spanking new to the online marketplace is retailer Cavan, which launches this week. Founded by Cavan Mahoney, who owns Missoni retail in the UK, the site will play host to the biggest online collection of the Italian brand worldwide. You’ll also find a desirable selection of brands including Jenny Packham and Andrew GN.
Magazines and retailers are combined in this site, which fuses shopping with an editorial experience. With a little help from editors of some of fashion’s finest publications, including Elle and Vogue, you’ll find fashion shoots, films and editorials designed to guide the shopping experience.
Lolly’s Laundry silk shirt dress, £105 This site from Katie Starmer-Smith, formally a designer at high-street store Jigsaw, aims to create a specially edited high street where you log on to find all your favourite stores together in one nifty space. The mix of brands is pretty compelling too; upmarket high-street labels, such as Whistles and Hobbs, alongside more premium retailers, such as Iro and Splendid.
This is a retail site taking the concept of an online department store to the next level. The website includes an array of designers who each have their own online mini-store where you can shop and browse content such as catwalk shows. Alternatively, shop by boutique, where specially curated collections are brought to together with editorial content.
Hats have the ability to completely transform an outfit, which is why a site dedicated to them is such a welcome addition to the web. Designers represented include Philip Treacy and Gina Foster, while 360-degree photography means you get the added benefit of being able to see your hat from all angles.
With handbags being one of the most important items in every wardrobe, it’s no surprise there’s a site devoted entirely to them. This site consolidates handbags from all over the web, allowing you to browse them all at once. There are trend reports, a virtual changing room and expert advice on hand.
If diamonds are a girl’s best friend then this site is an obligatory bookmark for jewellery lovers. It’s very easy to lose yourself browsing through the treasure trove of sparkly offerings. The site focuses on contemporary jewellery at a range of prices from fine to costume.
Often overlooked, but hosiery forms an essential part of the wardrobe, especially during the colder months, so it’s important to get your tights right. This site specialises in legwear and offers everything from everyday opaques to more fashion-forward designs from well-known names including Aristoc, Falke, Charnos and Wolford.
Shoe addicts will testify that footwear shopping can be a very pricey habit. Taking some of the expense out of it is this shoe retailer. Its site specialises in trend-led footwear at very reasonable prices. Colourblock sandals and Perspex heel platforms are some of the stand-out styles.
Beauty and Grooming:
With more than 18,000 products on site, this is Europe’s biggest online beauty retailer. You’re spoilt for choice with an endless list of brands from well-known favourites such as Benefit and Elizabeth Arden to more specialist brands. Not forgetting the man in your life, there’s a men’s grooming section too. The outlet section is worth a browse too for bargain-basement buys.
You get magazine and movie subscriptions so why not add beauty to the list? This is a service that sends subscribers a beautifully wrapped box of beauty treats direct to their doorstep every month. It costs just £10 a month and features products from premium beauty brands including Molton Brown, Weleda and Korres. Plus you can supplement your box by buying your favourites from the online shop.
Sparked by a trend for a more refined appearance, male grooming products are a rapidly expanding area of the beauty industry. This is a website catering to that demand. You can buy specialist shaving kits, hair-thickening bundles and even male make-up. The shaving tools section is worth a browse with offerings from hard to find brands such as Razor MD.
It’s the leading retailer in the world of designer clothing, so the newest venture into the beauty realm was a natural next step. As with its womenswear, this site’s newly launched section focuses on a carefully selected range of brands to offer only the best to its discerning customers.
Why push through crowds to trawl the shelves in your local Boots when you can get everything you need from the comfort of your own home? This site is a beauty emporium with a wealth of hair, beauty and skincare brands. With frequent special offers, there’s sizable discounts on RRPs to be had. In the website’s family there’s also Lookmantastic.com, catering to the menfolk.
Those who prefer a more organic approach to their beauty products will want to add this site to their shopping roster. The organic-skincare specialist sells leading brands such as Trilogy, Oskia, Jurlique and Dr Hauschka. The free sample section is particularly popular, allowing you to try before you buy.
Making your way through various products until you find one you love can be a tedious and expensive process. This site aims to cut to the chase by offering only the very best products in the world. If you have holidays on your mind, there’s a section dedicated to travel kits for products in hand luggage-friendly sizes.
By Terry Hyaluronic Summer, £44
It’s very difficult to pay a visit to beauty retailer Space NK without walking away with at least one new addition to your make-up bag. The online version of the cult store is equally addictive; the sleek site features beauty news and advice, if you manage not to get too distracted by the shopping.
This site specialises in cruelty-free cosmetics with products from a range of specialist brands. In addition to the beauty products, Cocktail Cosmetics is great for make-up accessories with everything from foundation sponges to refillable pots and palettes. The make-up brush section is particularly extensive with tools for every imaginable type of application.
With more than 7,000 products on sale, this is one of the bigger beauty retailers on the market. Look out for discounts, special offers and products that come with free gifts. The site’s blog makes for valuable reading too, with new launches, hints and tips and special guest bloggers.
Fashion editor Ursula Lake created this swimwear brand after struggling to find the right beachwear. It focuses on bikinis that are designed to fit, flatter and are made of high-quality fabrics. The range consists of six styles in an assortment of colours and sizes.
This site is the brainchild of beach-obsessed sisters Lily and Jessica Russo. Not only does the site stock swimwear from some of the world’s most desirable brands, including Zimmermann, Mara Hoffman and Babajaan, but there’s also a great range of accessories to help you create the perfect holiday look.
Shopping online for swimwear cuts out the hassle of trying on bikinis in tiny fitting rooms and under the unflattering lighting often found in highstreet stores. This site has a huge range of swimwear options in cup sizes D to L for the more well-endowed shoppers.
Struggling to find the right bikini for your particular shape and taste? You’ll find more brands, sizes and styles online. This site has skillfully assembled some of the best names in beachwear for fuss-free shopping. Look out for bargains in the reduced section.
Some of the sexiest swimwear shapes are retro, and with its selection of vintage-inspired designs you’ll always look great. One-pieces come with cut-out sections and bikinis feature Fifties prints. If that hasn’t quite sated your appetite for all things beachy, there’s accessories to match too; think beaded necklaces and soft-leather clutch bags.
The online arm of this highstreet store is fashioned in very much the same style as its clothes; sleek and minimalist. Items are presented either on elegantly styled models or suspended from stark white hangers. You can browse through lookbooks, there’s a blog-like section entitled ‘things’ and an online magazine.
There’s only a certain amount of stock that can be squeezed into stores, but when it comes to online the possibilities are endless. River Island’s extensive offerings for men, women and children can be trawled through at your leisure from the comfort of your sofa. Extras include fashion films, special competitions and trend tips.
Stylish clothes require an equally stylish retail forum and Whistles accomplishes this with its slick site. There’s a brand journal, an interactive lookbook and a blog with ways to wear tips and interviews with inspirational women. Look out for its a regular competitions where prizes have been known to include free dresses.
As one of the biggest and most well-known stores, Topshop’s website does not disappoint. Presented in the highly trendled format that the brand has become famous for, the site plays host to an extensive product range as well as special collections and designer collaborations.
The Reiss website is split into three main sections: the online shop for buying current collections, an outlet to pick up past season pieces at discount prices and an ‘explore’ section. The additional content in ‘explore’ is particularly extensive with video interviews, fashion shoots by guest stylists, lookbooks and even a travel guide.
Spain-based store Mango has made a habit of signing on some of the very best names in the fashion industry to model its collections, which makes its website seem that little bit extra special. This season it’s Miranda Kerr who can be found on the homepage modelling Mango’s new season styles and in various films on the video section of the website.
Shift dress, £60
Log on to the Oasis website now and you’ll be presented with a summer garden setting, a big clue to the key trends you’ll find for sale online right now. Many of the products feature video footage too, which allows you to see the item you are purchasing from all angles in greater detail than with flat images.
Just like in the actual stores, on the website you’ll find all your tried and tested M&S favourites; from men’s and womenswear, to kids clothing, homewares, beauty, food and flowers. The site also has a handy store delivery service where you order online to pick up in store the next day for free.
Contemporary, simple and elegant are descriptions that can be applied to the clothing collections of high street store Zara; they also work equally well for the online site. The key to this particular retail space is it’s understated and glossy design with a simple to navigate functionality that lets the clothes speak for themselves.
One of the main concerns of online shopping is the hassle that comes with returns. This site takes the stress out of online shopping with free returns via post or in store. Not just a fashion store, the website also includes a rather extensive homeware section, which includes all manner of things from furniture to bedding and lighting.
British brand Burberry has always been one step ahead of the rest in the online world. With its streamed catwalk shows and instant purchasing, the newest initiative is a click to collect service where you buy online and pick up in store at a time suitable to you, which saves waiting for the postman.
Dolce & Gabbana puts the same over-the-top opulence into its online site as it does into its clothing. The result is a backdrop of fun and flirty, highly colourful imagery and films. Once inspired, you can shop for yourself and the man in your life, stock up on its beauty line and buy looks from the runway collection.
Known for its somewhat quirky designs, the online site for luxury retailer Marni has the fun factor covered. Logging on to the site you’ll often be presented with fashion films, this month starring the new Microorganismi jewellery collection. Check out Anticamera, Marni’s online magazine, for editorial content including videos, shoots and behind-the-scenes info on the brand.
For an emerging fashion brand that is enjoying rapidly expanding commercial success, an online store is the natural next step. Launched last month, the site features the icon collection, which includes some of the brand’s greatest designs, plus dresses from Beckham’s second line and eyewear, denim and accessories to match.
There’s always an element of high drama in the McQueen fashion collections and this is a theme that is artfully presented in the stunning campaign imagery on the site. The online-retail offerings allow you to buy both menswear and womenswear and also include an entire section dedicated to the brand’s highly sought-after scarves.
When you’re in the market for something a little risqué, this is one of the leading luxury lingerie boutiques. Purchasing online takes the embarrassment factor out of trawling through the rails looking for sexy smalls, instead you can browse in private and receive your goods in discreetly wrapped packaging. In addition to lingerie you’ll find a select edit of associated accessories.
Boux Avenue is the lingerie retailer from Dragon’s Den star Theo Paphitis. It’s a great destination for contemporary underwear at affordable prices. Key pieces include retro-inspired longline bras and ditsy floral print nightwear. Brides-to-be will enjoy the bridal section with wedding night lingerie, garters, corsages and nightgowns at budget-friendly prices.
This is a one-stop-shop for all your underwear needs with every imaginable type of lingerie available from sports bras to shapewear, slinky slips to winter thermals. With all the major brands represented, including Calvin Klein, Triumph and Chantelle, there’s a breadth of options to work for varying budgets.
Inspired by a Venetian Palazzo, Dolcefollie.co.uk is a lingerie boutique with opulent luxury at its heart. The site stocks only the most lavish brands and the result is a treasure trove of soft lace and chiffon, silks and satins. Brands to look out for include Yes Master, Nichole de Carle and I.D.Sarrieri.
Stella McCartney, Damaris, La Perla and Lascivious are some of the brands on sale at online lingerie retailer Foxandrose. com. It takes its name from two distinct types of lingerie; Fox for sexiness and seduction and Rose for the pretty ethereal girly pieces. Shop by product, designer or by occasion and take inspiration from the site’s beautiful campaign imagery.
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