With 2012 coming to an end and as online shopaholics and globetrotters, we decided to share our best kept secrets with you to make your online and off-line shopping experiences as awesome and exciting as possible.
From our picks of the best online shopping havens to the best brick and mortar stores around the world, we tell you where to get the best designer casual wear at the best prices possible and where you can shop for the best pick of designer collections.
We wish you an awesome New Year in 2013, full of joy, prosperity and good health, and of course a new era of fabulous fashion!
Best online value for bridge contemporary labels: Shopbop.com.
Why we love it: extensive collections from denim brands and cool labels like Philip Lim 3.1, Aquazurra , Ash, Alice and Olivia, Vince, Joie, Rebecca Minkoff and many others sold at the lowest prices worldwide. Custom duties are included in the free express worldwide delivery and service is impeccable. They also have frequent sales periods at unexpected times making it really worthwhile.
We especially love their alerts when stock of items in your wishlist go low , that way you never have to miss out on your favourite items. You can also keep them in your wishlist and get an alert when they go on sale, simply brilliant!
Best value for designer brands: The Outnet.com
Why we love it: if you’re longing for a Marchesa red carpet number or a Lanvin cocktail number, but can’t really bring yourself to break the bank, The Outnet.com offers great designer finds at 40% to 80% off.
They also have a great selection of statement jewelry from Oscar de La Renta , Lanvin and Cavalli all at a fraction of the price.
The key to The Outnet’s success is their ability to edit and repackage collections from 2 seasons before and make everything look current and bang on trend.
They have also recently launched their own line Iris and Ink, a capsule wardrobe of luxurious basics in leather and cashmere.
Best online luxury store: Net-a-Porter.com
Why we love it: with all of the luxury online boutiques that have proliferated over the last 5 years, there is one unmistakable leader and it is none other than Net-a-Porter. Not only was founder Nathalie Massenet the first person to come up with the idea of launching the first ever online luxury magazine where you could shop all the latest runway looks with the simple click of a mouse, but she also destroyed the myth that women could only buy expensive dresses in the plush decor of a luxury boutique.
We love its slick black packaging and above all the weekly magazine which you can also download on your iPad.
Best online high street store: ASOS.com
If you are trying to curb your shopping addiction and desperately need to save your bank account from depletion, ASOS creates trendy looks that are seen on celebrities at such affordable prices that you will never have to experience withdrawal syndromes.
Best online store for handbags: Selfridges.com .
Why we love it: Selfridges probably boasts the largest number of styles and colours in the bag department: Balenciaga, Chloe and Miu Miu are firm favourites, new season styles are available before any other site, with the added service of worldwide delivery.
Best online store for shoes: net-a-porter.
Why we love it: their collection is carefully edited for the shoe-addict in mind and with an eye for wardrobe basics as well as statement shoes. From the must have Christian Louboutins to Giuseppe Zanotti and Jimmy Choo to smaller labels like Carven and Pierre Hardy, prices are cheaper than what you would have to pay in Asia or the Middle East.
Best online store for swimwear: The Outnet.com
Why we love it: if you love Pucci, Vix and Missoni Mare but don’t think they are worth the splurge at full price, The.Outnet’s selection is timeless and highly desirable, the only drawback is that you have to be fast enough in getting your hands on the correct size , and not to linger too long on your shopping basket.
Best brick and mortar luxury department store: Lane Crawford Hong Kong
Why we love it: while Colette in Paris and Barneys New York are the reference in directional fashion and the undisputed taste makers, Lane Crawford’s buyers have got their pulse firmly on what is new, exciting and gorgeous. Their carefully edited collection favours American labels such as Philip Lim and Proenza Schouler alongside more established names such as Lanvin, Vionnet and Givenchy. The layout of their stores is simple to navigate and everything looks desirable. An absolute must-visit when you are next in Hong Kong or China.
Best multibrand boutique: Joseph London
Why we love it: gorgeous, desirable accessories , shoes and clothes and impactful window displays are what make Joseph an all-time favourite and the perfect embodiment of the chic Londoner.
Best mid-range high street store: Reiss and reiss.com
Quality fabrics and a special attention to tailoring makes Reiss a great option for office to bar dresses, sharply cut office suits and quality accessories. High on our favourites list of Fall 2012 were sequined shorts, a corset cut leather dress and seafoam blue coat.
Best affordable high street store: Zara
Why we love it: we simply can’t get enough of Zara’s studded boots and shoes, waxed effect skinny jeans and faux leather tops. For under 100 quid, you can buy yourself the trendiest outfits and satisfy your shopping urges.
We have also decided to voice our own appreciation of designers and fashion icons who have influenced the direction of 2012:
Style icon of 2012: Blake Lively
Why we love her: unlike many celebrities who rely on seasoned stylists to craft their image, Blake is gorgeous, has a lot of class and is a master at creating her own brand of style. We love her youthful take on Chanel, how she can wear sequins during the day and her flawless red-carpet gowns. It’s what we call a serious girl crush!
Blogger of the year 2012: Chiara Ferragni of The Blonde Salad
Why we love following her: her jetsetter lifestyle gives Chiara plenty of dressing opportunities and an enviable endless wardrobe by established and upcoming designers. We love the photography and her gorgeous looks.
Fashion magazine of 2012: Harper’s Bazaar USA
While Harper’s Bazaar UK had always been our style bible, we feel that this year’s US counterpart has raised the bar quite high, with more thorough fashion editorials and the all essential addition of the online Bazaar shop: read the issues online or on your tablet and click through the pages to their edited items. Delivery is only available for the US currently but we suspect they will spread their wings worldwide pretty soon.
Luxury designer of 2012: Raf Simons for Dior.
While we did love Dior under Galliano’s Victorian reign, Raf Simons is blowing a much-needed air of purist lines and sophisticated cuts. We are daydreaming about the SS2013 show’s bustier macaroon coloured dresses in architectural cuts.
Bridge contemporary designer of 2012: J Brand
For great denim cuts and leather-effect jeans and leggings, J Brand is the undisputed leader of the denim pack, always innovating and changing the way our bums look for the better.
Jewelry designer of 2012: Erickson Beamon
This custom jewelry brand from the US has adorned the ears and necks of America’s most important socialites and became a permanent fixture on hit TV show Gossip Girl. We love the combination of the stones’ classical opulence and edgy razor details which make Erickson Beamon’s pieces the modern heirloom jewels.
Shoe designer of 2012: Giuseppe Zanotti.
Need we say more? Giuseppe really understands what women want and we fell head over-heels with his designs in 2012. Below are the shoes that took our breath away.
Bag designer of 2012: Celine
Celine’s trapeze bag has got to be THE IT bag of 2012 if not the last few years since the Chloe Paddington or the YSL Muse. We love it’s pops of colour, geometric lines and fine suede panels. Everyone from Marc Jacobs to Kate Spade and Coach have re-interpreted the design.