Virtual shelves and our propensity to buy expensive clothes

This scene wouldn´t have happened in our days — Vivian would have had net-a-porter

I have recently developed a theory about designer e-commerce and our propensity to buy expensive clothes: I think the internet makes us more comfortable purchasing items from tried and true, high-quality brands than we would should we follow our “normal”, physical world inclinations to such indulgences.

Firstly, the internet is far less intimidating than fancy, shiny stores with tons of security and two huge guys in black suits and sunglasses suggesting you might be regarded as a delinquent as you may or may not be allowed to enter the whimsical insides of a Prada store — and if you do, you also may or may not receive the approving nod of the salespersons in place, a doubt that provokes great fear of reliving the dreadful experience Julia Roberts had on her first day shopping on her movie Pretty Woman — without having Richard Gere on hand for a next day redemption splurge.

Secondly, and I think this is my most interesting breakthrough, the internet does not provide the sense of cut, quality and detail one achieves by physically experimenting with many options, online, realtime, pun intended. Thus, a respected, though expensive brand offers a guarantee that what you see is what you get: I definitely feel more safe about how a purchase will fit me and about the quality and detail of the fabric if the item in question is Stella McCartney and its measurements correspond to mine, then if I buy from a fast-fashion shop, even though I do buy a lot of stuff from the latter — if in a real store, not a virtual one. There is a reason why they are cheaper: not only that they copy designs and use materials of (usually) lesser quality, but also the fact their cuts are much more industrial and less supervised and their finish idem.

Last, but not least, it is rather rare to see a big red lettering outside a Gucci store shouting “SALE – 80% off” — not so much on net-a-porter. So why not spend a few extra bucks — a few, maybe not so much — and instead of buying three items of lesser quality, get a great pair of shoes for about 150 bucks? I often subscribe to that sentiment.

So how do you feel? Do you think you are actually more inclined to purchase designer clothes on the internet than in actual stores made of brick and stuff? Are your reasons similar to those I have exposed here?

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