Reader Megan e-mailed me this request:
As an international reader (from Sydney, Aus!), I was thinking it’d be great if you could write up your favourite online shopping stores that are reliable, do free or inexpensive international shipping, have decent returns policies and sell some of the gorgeous brands you are fond of.
So I’ll tell you right now that I did as much digging as I could and input as much info as I could at these sites, but since I don’t have valid mailing addresses for most locales I couldn’t follow through to confirm that shipping costs were totally accurate right down to clicking, “Buy.” If you attempt to purchase from any of these retailers and find my research to be wrong, PLEASE stop back and let me know. I can edit the post to be as accurate as possible!
And those are the disclaimers. Here are the recommendations, starting with the sure things:
Megan is already familiar with this fashion powerhouse, but it’s well worth mentioning here for those of you who haven’t yet discovered the wondrous world of ASOS. Essentially, so long as you’re willing to wait up to two weeks for your order and spend more than $40, it will ship free. Anywhere. No, really, anywhere. Plus returns are free. And ASOS will supply you with everything from maxi skirts and leather jackets to satchels, shoes, and jewelry. They also carry petite and maternity items, and their Curve line of plus-sized garments is small but gorgeous. A great bet overall.
Each artisan who has set up a storefront within the Etsy system sets her/his own shipping prices, and lists them toward the end of each item’s description. So it can be a bit of a crapshoot in terms of cost and timing, and many vendors don’t accept returns. BUT! You get handmade goods at decent prices ordered directly from their makers, the option to custom order certain items, and total shipping transparency.
This UK standby offers free worldwide delivery on all orders over £75 from their website. NICE! I’ve ordered two items from Topshop myself: A pair of boots and a scarf. The boots were returned for a fit issue, but were utterly gorgeous and extremely well made, so I was truly sad to send them back. I’m wearing my cat scarf as I type this.
Now, I know that Ted & Muffy gets mixed reviews in the customer service department, and those mixed reviews are generally polarized: People adore Ted & Muffy or they hate the site. But I want to include them in this list because they offer both narrow and wide calf boots and have offered free international shipping on all full price orders several times over the past few months.
Now we’re getting into dicey territory. J.Crew ships to Canada, France, the U.K., Italy, Germany, and Japan. From what I can gather by pretending to be Canadian and Japanese shoppers, shipping prices are decent. $10 to Canada, $25 to Japan. That said, I wasn’t able to get much further than the first few checkout steps. If any of you can and find costs to be much higher/different, please yell.
Also a bit sketchy. £4 in the UK generally, but they have frequent free shipping offers. Sign up for e-mail notices to be kept in the loop. Anyone outside the U.S. or U.K. who has ordered from Boden care to share further details? Since they’re so closed about it, I’m betting it varies widely from country to country, and based on your total order cost. (This is true of most vendors.)
Another artisan marketplace, but originally based in Germany so very Euro-friendly when it comes to shipping!
This massive site focuses on designer brands, but also includes plenty of smaller European labels that won’t deplete your bank account. Yoox is owned by the Net-a-Porter group, which has offices and operations in the United States, Europe, Japan, China, and Hong Kong, so international shipping is built into everything the site does. Yoox ships to 100 countries, many at affordable flat rates. A great resource for shoes and bags, too.
I’ve had international readers tell me that linking to Zappos and 6pm doesn’t help them, but Amazon owns both and typically has the same stock! Never overlook this behemoth as a possible source for fashion items, including jewelry and accessories.
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