The Outnet.com: Site Review

The Outnet.com is the high-fashion-focused Net-a-Porter’s outlet site—which pleases us because, while we love perusing Net-a-Porter’s designer offerings, we just can’t justify (or afford) the prices. And, in this economy, it only stands to reason that high-end retailers will diversify to tap into the budget shopping market (theOutnet.com calls it “chic discount shopping”, a phrase which, in designer circles, would have been a major oxymoron just a couple years back).

Granted, like any other outlet, what you find is typically not going to be the first run of any trend, but savvy shoppers like us know that when it comes to designer, we’re really looking to invest in solid staple or statement pieces anyway, not on-their-way-out trends.

Our review: Visually, the site branding is what you’d expect from Net-a-Porter—clean, trendy, just this side of upscale; let’s just say it’s pretty clear you’re not shopping the Target website (which we still wish would find it’s way out of 1996) and, let’s face it, part of the pleasure of online shopping is the visual experience. That being said it’s the goods—and the prices—that will keep us coming back, so moving on . . .

Clean design means, by extension, easy navigation—theOutnet.com allows you to search by designer, category or sale from the very first page. We headed straight for designers (that’s what Net-a-Porter is all about, after all) and skimmed down the alphabetically broken-out list to Lela Rose (a fave for the clean-cut, feminine garments we’re craving at the moment) where we found 20 items on big discounts, including this kind of to-die-for cap sleeve silk dress, now just $453.25, at 65% off the original $1,295 pricetag. (Note: We realize this is NOT a true budget price, but for a designer silk dress that started out over a thousand bucks? It’s all relative.)

But wait, what if we’re not a US size 4 or 6? On this particular item, we’re out of luck—but of course that’s the downside of outlet shopping. Sizes are limited. So can we search by size? Sort of—that is, not by number size but XS-XL. Selecting “L” under the “clothing” category, we came up with 125 items, including this very cool 100% silk MINT Jodi Arnold colorblock sleeveless dress, for $225 (half off).