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

by Erin on September 30, 2008

ebay item 8305987417

Last week 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.

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