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i found it, part I

i'm such a fan of online shopping. 

truth be told, it's where i get most of my clothes. not that i don't love a good shopping trip. i do. but the internet puts so many more stores and unique items within our reach. 

and the #1 thing i look for when buying an item of clothing? what makes it special. 'classics with a twist,' as the overused phrase goes, right? and the internet is here to help make you stand out among a sea of anthropologie and j. crew.

with that in mind, i thought i'd spend some time talking about how to make the internet your bitch. whether you're looking for something specific or just want to browse around for some retail therapy, there's a site for that. and since that's a lot to cover, i'm going to break this into two parts. 

let's start with the first scenario: looking for something specific. a green jacket. a yellow statement necklace. a bridesmaid dress in a specific color or style. a red dress with sleeves and pockets. when you know what you're after, shopstyle is a good place to start.

just type in your search term and see what pops up. it might be a few pages, or 100 pages, depending on how vague your query is.

here's the results i got for 'leather peplum,' a fairly specific request.

two pages of results. short and sweet. but i like that i can see everything in one place. 

i mean, the internet's vastness is immeasureable: there's no way one person can know about EVERY single store. that's where shopstyle steps in. you might even find a new online retailer to love, and that's always fun.

now if i get a little more general in my search terms, it yields more pages of results.

here's a search for a white dress with cutouts. 18 pages for your perusing pleasure. 

18 pages may seem like a lot, but you can also filter by price, which is always helpful. and since shopstyle does search the ENTIRE internet, there's likely to be some things that are out of your budget. depending on my mood, i don't want those high-end results shown. there's nothing worse than falling in love with something only to realize that it will cost you a month's rent to make it yours. so sometimes i like to filter by price so i don't have to convince myself, "well, maybe 900 dollars isn't so bad."

also, if i'm really on the hunt for something, 18 pages is nothing. and as you can see from the screenshot above, some of these aren't what i'm looking for at all. a black dress with 3/4 sleeves? yes. i'll take that instead of my white dress with cutouts..? thanks, shopstyle.

so it make take some time, but i find that i can go through those pages pretty quickly. you know your style, what you like and what you wouldn't be caught dead in so some things can be immediately ruled out, just from a half-second glance.
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moving beyond shopstyle, we have polyvore. lots of people, including me, use polyvore to create (mostly) fashion-related collages. but their search function is also an incredibly useful tool.

here, i searched for a yellow statement necklace:

again, you may have to wade through the results to find the one that's appropriate/your style. but the price filters help narrow it down.
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my last two tips are simple: google image and google shopping. it isn't as foolproof as shopstyle or polyvore, but it works.

and while shopstyle/polyvore are pretty comprehensive, they tend to show results for larger, more established online sellers. but the little guys, the etsy finds, the tiny vintage stores, they aren't always included, so google's there to help you out.

here's me searching for a 'white dress with full skirt' using google image.

now, some of those results will be outdated, but this just gives you more options. it's how i found my wedding dress actually. i wanted something pretty specific, wasn't finding it, and then BAM. google image to the rescue. sometimes, it's just what you need.

i don't need to explain how to use google shopping, but sometimes finding what you're after is as easy as that. i had to find a navy cocktail dress for a wedding last year, and i started my search here so i could cast a wide net.

years ago, i used to use shopzilla, and they're OK, too. i just find their search results page a little clunkier so i stick to the others mentioned here most of the time.
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by shopping online and using these search tools, the internet becomes your own little clueless closet, and you'll be able to incorporate some items into your wardrobe that are different than the stuff everyone else already bought at the mall. 
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but what about more general online shopping? just retailing for the hell of it? in part II, i'll talk about the best places to shop online and offer some pros and cons of each site too. 

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