The Outnet: Site Review

The Outnet 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.

The Outnet: Our Review

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—the Outnet 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).
Search results can be modified, too, on each page with just a quick click or two, by designer, color, category (tops, dresses, jackets, etc.). So if you’re looking for a size M blue Fendi skirt, you’ll know in 5 seconds if they have one or not (and just for the record, at this writing they do not).

Okay, so you can search for and purchase designer clothes at a discount—but we already have Bluefly.com for that. So what else? If you enjoy more of a shopping challenge, the Outnet  features “Flash” and “Pop Up” sales—on a timer—which, quite frankly, we don’t recommend. As budget fashionistas, buying something because “quick, it’s only on sale for 10 more minutes!” isn’t the best way to watch your bottom line. But there’s also the “Going Going Gone” sale, in which the price drops as supplies drop—so if you have a little time to kill watching the clock and waiting to see how low it will go (and if you’re fast enough on the click), it might be worthwhile.

The verdict: Yea. Revolutionary online shopping experience? Not really. Easy-to-navigate, visually-appealing, and featuring big designer discounts for the designer-addicted among us? Absolutely. Designer addicts, bookmark away.

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Comments

  1. geri says

    Terrible customer service. Bought a hat from them that ripped the first day of wear. When I tried to exchange the clearly defective merchandise they went through all the motions of exchange but sent me the same hat back!! I realize that companies don’t really care about customer service anymore but I thought this was especially insulting. Especially as I’m sure you can tell there is nothing “cheap” on this site. I spent alot of money on a defective hat and got nothing back. WHAT A RIP OFF!!!

  2. hannah says

    Outnet, a chaper version of the net a porter. Clothing is ok, but the delivery so slow it is unaccaptable. You can track it online via dhl and see like is shipped from country to country before it reaches your destination, it does not make any sense.
    Delivery to Norway: Uk to Brussels, Brussels to Netherlands and then to Norway. There are direct transits to Norway you know…. ufff

  3. says

    I have had to return everything I have ever bought from this shop because of one silly reason or another. My recent purchase, a £12 Marc Jacob resin bracelet which I ordered two of them because I felt was a complete steal, but guess what! They arrived and looked like what my two year old daughter would wear because they were so tiny they wouldn’t go past my 5 fingers much less my wrist. So my point is, NO APPROPRIATE DESCRIPTION! They just don’t have that completeness about them like the experienced online shops that offer great shipping discount and even free returns. So in the long run you are taking a losing-money gamble with the out net every time you decide to buy from them because you might be returning for one silly reason or another.

  4. Erroltart says

    I ordered from the outnet 2 weeks ago and the dress had sleeves that no normal person could squeeze their arms into! (I’m a UK size 10) I returned it and was charged the original £5.95 to deliver to me and then was charged another £8.00 for the return. For this reason I will never use them again. It cost me almost £14 for an item that was clearly defective and returned a few hours after it was delivered :(

    • Susiemh says

      I have just had the same experience. I wish i had read this first. Ordered paid 595 delivery sent back paid 800. Will never use again

  5. says

    The outnet is terrible!!!!!!!!!! I agree with the comments above because their customer service is awful!!! Last week I bought one tank from Balmain which got here with 4 holes in the back!!!!! There is nobody there inspecting the pieces to be delivered, which means that you don’t know what you are going to get when you purchase online! And then when I got in touch with them they offered me 4.95 discount (shipping expenses) and that was it! Unbelievable! I love shopping through the internet and I have never had such a negative experience.

  6. says

    TERRIBLE CUSTOMER SERVICE!!! I am never shopping at theoutnet.com again! They sold me something that they didn’t have in stock. I was relying on wearing it and poof, they just say, oops, we don’t have it. Too bad for you. No compensation – not even a discount on a replacement item. I shop a lot online and they have some of the worst customer service that I have encountered.

  7. Irene says

    I’ve ordered an equipment shirt several days ago, and one day noticed an email saying that they’ve cancelled my order (without specifying the reason). They claim to have contacted me first but I’ve never got an email nor a phone call, except for an email saying that they are a bit slow in shipping and will expedite the order as soon as it is available.

    Anyways- fine, they failed to do an inventory check and just sold an item because they don’t know how to do business correctly. However, following was a refund of $11.95 in store credit (in return of the $99 dollars I’ve paid for the shirt?). How did this happen? I’ve been contacting their customer service several times and have not heard back yet. This is just maddening and a waste of time.

  8. DeeDee says

    Honestly I have never had a single problem with the outnet I actually love shopping at the outnet. It’s convenient and fast. I live in Canada and the shipping can be a tad expensive but my packages from them always arrive within 2-3 days. So far I have ordered a Day birger et Mikkelen vest, Alexander Mcqueen shoes, Dvf purse, Rebecca Minkoff purse, a helmut lang jacket, an alice & Olivia top and some jewelry and every single item shipped in 2 days and arrived in beautiful condition nicely wrapped. Obviously these are designer clothes so yes some things are still priced pretty high. But my Mcqueens were originally $4000 and i purchased them at $900 I’d say thats a pretty huge discount for a pair of Mcqueens. The nice thing about the outnet is you can get pieces that you may have missed the first time around. In Canada all we have for designer stores are the main boutique stores that never have sales and 1 department store with barely any sales. So being able to shop at the outnet is a dream come true for someone like me who doesn’t have easy access to designer brands.

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