In Which I Buy A Sweater (Harder Than It Sounds Dept.)

by Erin on September 30, 2008


ebay item 8305987417

Last week Zappos.com offered me a $100 gift certificate to try their new clothing shopping "experience", and, after thinking about for a while (Pro: I like shopping online in general, and the Zappos interface in particular; Con: will it damage my Walter-Cronkite-like credibility to take free stuff to write about a shopping site?) I decided that sure, I'd give it a shot.

Honestly, after about an hour of browsing, I almost wrote back and said "thanks but no thanks" — let's just say my taste in clothing and what was available on Zappos didn't have a lot of overlap. (Which is odd, because I can find a pair of shoes I desperately want on Zappos merely by clicking randomly on any page …) There are a lot of very trendy clothes on Zappos, which would be a huge selling point for anyone whose fashion sense didn't crystalize roughly twenty years before they were actually born.

I thought for a while about this sweater (also gray, highly rated, and heaven knows I love cardigans) but I haven't been impressed by Three Dots stuff before, so I didn't hit 'buy' on that one.

This morning, though, I realized that I had never replaced my favorite "cozy for around the house, but nice enough to wear out to the post office" gray hooded sweater that got eaten up by SOMETHING (I refuse to countenance the possibility of MOTHS) winter before last. All last winter I tried to find a replacement, but my heart wasn't in it. But now I'm ready to move on.

Finding a gray hooded sweater on Zappos was really easy — there's a nice drill-down interface, so you don't have to sort through too many irrelevant options. (It did take me a minute to figure out how to filter just for women's clothing, but only a minute.) The *huge*, well-lit, all-angles photos were great, too.

I wish there were actual garment measurements (or, if there were, that I could find them), but looking at the general cut of the clothes on the site (narrow, narrow, and narrower) induced me to order the Large (and Zappos has free shipping both ways, so it's not like making the wrong size choice is gonna cost me another $8.90 in postage).

The price points were a bit towards what I consider the "higher end" (this sweater was $104! Which I would not otherwise spend without a subsidy of at least $50); about the same as a mid-level department store, like Macy's.

Finding a sweater that had a kangaroo pocket was a bonus. I love kangaroo pockets. So cozy …

In short: Zappos has a lot of clothing-type stuff, mostly geared (as far as I could tell) towards juniors/young misses. (Which is smart on their part, that's who spends a lot of money on clothes!) Their search system is clever and easy to use, which won't surprise anyone who has ever looked for shoes on the site. I would definitely use it again if I were looking for something in particular (like, say, a gray hooded sweater) … I'm not much for just browsing, though, so I don't know if I'd go to their site just to hang around. I think it will improve as they add more vendors; I would much rather shop at Zappos than on most crappy, Flash-heavy, badly-organized boutique/manufacturers' sites …

If I had to suggest a feature, I'd love something where I could ask to be notified when something came in that they didn't have any current listings for, like a red short-sleeved cardigan or a kimono-sleeved cardigan, or a way to suggest categories …

Thus endeth the review. In other retail news, Little Hunting Creek is having a sale this week: ten percent off everything (to make room for holiday merchandise) through October 5 at midnight. The discount code is LHC10.

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Nancy September 30, 2008 at 7:33 pm

I am sorry, but 100 bucks for a hoody? Especially after yesterday’s 777 drop in the Dow? Seems to me like whoever is charging 100 for a hoody might have gotten someone to take out a loan on a house they could not afford.

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Bella Bliss October 1, 2008 at 12:37 am

the ruffly skirt is cute, but, the fabric choice for it is a little weird

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bani October 1, 2008 at 5:50 am

I have to say, for 104 USD a jumper had better make me coffee in the morning and bring me in the paper too. It’s a tad steep for something lacking an extra merit like organic cotton or fair trade or something.

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That's MIZZ Gypsy To You! October 1, 2008 at 7:24 am

I lost faith in Zappos clothing very soon after clicking the link. Their three dresses labeled Goth are cute, almost frilly dresses and one is even in pastel green. Excuse me?And the plus size collection is pathetic. I love shoe shopping at Zappos. This is such a disappointment!

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San Antonio Sue October 1, 2008 at 8:14 am

Hi, Erin, this harks back to the “10 Reasons Skirts are Better” post the morning before Hurricane Ike struck the Houston/Galveston area. A friend in Clear Lake, in the “Mandatory evacuation zone” told me she wore a skirt because in the Hurricane Rita evacuation she got stuck on the road needing to “evacuate.” She decided that for roadside non-restroom usage, a skirt provides more privacy than pants!

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goldilocks October 1, 2008 at 8:31 am

Buying a cardigan sweater is surprisingly difficult, I have to agree. I used to have a zippy cardigan made in black and grey, with a tasteful, small shawl collar.It was the ideal combination of comfy and cute enough to be wear in public. Perfect length, too. Then I had babies and my bust size went through the roof. I’ve been looking for a suitable replacement for TWO YEARS now.Sigh.

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TE October 1, 2008 at 9:43 am

I’m thinking the Walter Cronkite credibility is better than reviews of shopping sites. It’s not a dress, it’s not sewn, it’s not even pretty. Or affordable for most of the world. They aren’t sending US $100 bribes – I mean gift certificates.

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Jennifer and Jason Young October 1, 2008 at 10:25 am

I just came across your blog and I wanted to tell you how charming I think it is! xo Jennifer

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Anonymous October 1, 2008 at 12:50 pm

They should stick to what they do well: SHOES! I mean, I understand they’re trying to differentiate themselves from their competition, but this is not the way to do it. The selection is miserable, and the clothes look kind of cheap. They did the shoe thing best, first. Besides, I’d have to save at least $10 to buy from Piperlime just because I hate the Gap in general, and think they’re one of the biggest contributors to the degradation and homogenization of fashion in America.

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crypticpuzzler October 1, 2008 at 9:19 pm

Cardigan quests…Here’s mine: I have an oatmeal one with “pearl” buttons by Designers Originals (such a cute name; no designer in sight and certainly not original). It’s made of Luxelon, whatever that is (wool makes my eyes itch). Despite the buttons, it goes with jeans, skirts, air conditioning, winter, everything. It is decidedly shabby, but I still wear it, because oatmeal cardigans can’t be found anymore. I guess I’ll have to wait for oatmeal to come back in fashion, the way brown has done, but that could take years and years. Why doesn’t anyone ever ask what we want?

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scormeny October 10, 2008 at 9:26 am

I went to the Zappo’s site and noticed that the clothing items don’t include the country of origin. First, I’m pretty sure they’re breaking the law there — in the US, clothing vendors are still required to tell you, up front, whether an item is made in the US or elsewhere (shoe and accessories vendors don’t). More importantly for me, I think country of origin is labeling that I value as I always prefer to buy items made in a country where I’m at least modestly comfortable with the labor situation.I think Zappo’s should get back in line with the law, and also in line with consumers like me who care about the labor conditions for the workers of the clothes they buy and the manufacturing situation in North America, and label their clothes by, at a minimum, the “US/Imported” standard.

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pingush November 28, 2008 at 11:24 pm

You are right….that looks professional and chic.I love it.

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