To the time-strapped (that’s just about all of us), e-commerce is a godsend. At any time of the day, you have a virtual and literal world of clothing and accessory options at your fingertips. Here’s a primer for getting the most out of those online shopping forays.
01: Top six men’s sites to bookmark now
Sift through the digital clutter and bookmark these six sites – each with their own sartorial niche – to stay at the top of your game from head to toe.
01 Mr Porter (www.mrporter.com)
The site to visit for a tasteful edit of items to help you look sharp for all occasions, from designer classics to performance sportswear, stylish accessories, and even grooming products. It stocks a selection of mostly smart-casual items from our favourite brands like Tom Ford, Berluti and Brunello Cucinelli, and most recently added Ermenegildo Zegna to its roster of names.
02 Luisa Via Roma (www.luisaviaroma.com)
One of the first on the e-commerce scene when it was launched in 1999, Florence-headquartered luxury retailer Luisa Via Roma has had a physical presence in Italy since 1930. Its USP: Offering what it considers “the most important” latest designs from hundreds of top fashion labels, including Balmain, Giorgio Armani and Jil Sander, and even watch brands like RJ-Romain Jerome and Parmigiani.
03 End Clothing (www.endclothing.com)
For off-duty dressing and fashionable weekend wear, click over to End Clothing, which has an excellent selection of street and edgy designer labels, including Comme des Garcons, Kenzo and Maison Kitsune.
04 Farfetch (www.farfetch.com)
Connecting customers with more than 400 independent boutiques hailing from all around the world, Farfetch is a luxe marketplace offering shoppers a curated selection from the world’s trendsetting sartorial visionaries – including our very own Club 21 and concept store Manifesto.
05 East Dane (www.eastdane.com)
If your taste is clean and contemporary rather than cutting-edge, East Dane is a destination to check out. Like its female-dedicated counterpart Shopbop, the site’s strength lies in American contemporary labels such as Alexander Wang, Theory and Illesteva. While it stocks some edgy pieces, the site is best for those seeking unfussy styles – T-shirts, jeans, and blazers – in quality, comfortable materials.
06 Ssense (www.ssense.com)
Fashion-forward wares, particularly accessories, by the likes of Acne Studios and Ann Demeulemeester are the stock-in-trade of Canada-based Ssense. The store has a stamp of approval from one of fashion’s most talked-about names – CEO Guram Gvasalia of It brand Vetements recently called the store a “great partner and one of our most important accounts”.
02: Get the right fit
The biggest challenge in click-shopping is knowing the right size to get, no thanks to the fact that sizing varies across brands, and even within brands. Here’s what can help.
01 Know your own measurements. Most websites have a generic size chart displaying item sizes and their standard corresponding measurements. Even better, some sites such as Mr Porter offer actual measurements of the specific items instead of listing the generic sizes.
02 When measurements are not an exact match, the sensible approach is to buy clothes one size up as oversized clothes can be altered. Otherwise, choose according to your appetite, for body-hugging outfits.
03 True to size: The magic words on a website. When something is true to size, it means the product measurements correspond with the standards of that size. When an item is said to “run large”, go for the smaller size and vice versa.
04 Suraj Melwani, co-founder of casual menswear clothing brand Sifr, has this tip: “Always look out for the chest and waist measurements as well as the body length from the highest point on the shoulder. People always either find the garment too short or too long.”
03: Style inspiration galore
While most e-commerce portals don’t offer much more than a catalogue of items, some of the more well-regarded sites combine editorial content to offer style inspiration. For instance, Alwyn Chong, managing director of Luxasia in China, Thailand and the Philippines says, “You are subscribing to a lifestyle of a particular website’s ‘taste’.” One of his favourite sites, Man Of The World, produces a quarterly fashion e-zine that features male personalities from diverse fields – sports, business and art – who embody the aspirational qualities of the site.
04: A fashionista’s shopping tips
Daniel Boey, founder and fashion director of website the15thdistrict.com, shares his secrets to nailing online sprees.
01 What’s easy to buy online?
Bags, but check the measurements of the piece; a bag may look like a tote in pictures but end up being the size of a clutch.
02 How do you get around items with tricky fits, like clothing and shoes?
l tend to buy from brands that I am already familiar with, as photography can be deceiving and sizes and quality can vary. For example, a pair of size 43 shoes in Vivienne Westwood fits differently from one by DSquared2. Another example is Thom Browne – the brand’s sizing for clothing is tricky too because of its slim cut.
03 Are there any warning signs that will make you walk away from a site?
If you have to communicate with the site (for any reason) and they take forever to reply, give an unsatisfactory answer, or are curt or rude, don’t trade with them. You will probably encounter a host of problems should there be issues with the item, such as a delay in shipment, wrong size or wrong colour.
05: The practical stuff
Useful points to note before checking out that cartful of new acquisitions.