Do Online Clothing Stores have Bad “Style Etiquette”?

Online fashion stores are giving out bad advice, encouraging us to lose our individuality and to commit style sins.

Smart girl. Image: http://whatiwore.tumblr.com/

Smart and stylish girl.
Image: http://whatiwore.tumblr.com/

I hardly ever buy clothing online. I simply need to feel the fabrics and try items on. Waiting for a tardy postman and inevitably, queueing in a post office to send everything back just seems like a pain to me.

I do like browsing stores online though. To know what’s in the store before planning a trip really helps with my method of military-style shopping: Know where you’re heading, get what you want and leave.

There’s one thing that’s starting to annoy me about online stores though: When you’re looking at a particular item, the description sometimes offers you advice about what to wear with it.

To illustrate this, here is a description of a rain mac on the Debenhams website:

“Wear the slim funnel mac as a modern take on a spring essential. Featuring front pocket detailing, beautiful dyed to match buttons, this style will provide just the right combination of style and practicality. Wear with a pair of skinny jeans and cute pumps.”

 

The store suggests wearing skinny jeans and pumps with this jacket. Skinny jeans: Yeah, okay. Pumps: Are you insane? This coat is a mac, a coat which is worn in wet weather. Why would I wear a mac and pumps at the same time? Oh, nice one, Debenhams, for that nugget of wisdom: Now my feet are soaking wet and my new “cute” pumps are ruined. If there’s a chance of rain, I’ll wear rain boots, or at least leather boots. If there’s going to be good weather, I’ll wear pumps with a light jacket which has better breathability, thank you Debenhams.

This suggestion was clearly written by a nincompoop. Either have someone with some sense giving out the tips, or have no tips at all. Unfortunately, most of the style tips I’ve come across are either boring or idiotic.

ASOS will help you copy this look: Right down to the socks and lipgloss! Image: http://www.asos.com/

ASOS will help you copy this look: Right down to the socks and lipgloss!
Image: http://www.asos.com/

Some sites, like ASOS, go further. When you click to view a particular piece of clothing, the site offers you the chance to buy the other items the model is wearing, to get the entire look. I see why this is a clever sales technique, “Oh that model looks awesome, if I get the whole outfit, I’ll look just like her, so I’ll buy four extra items!”. Unless the model is your size, shape and has your colourings, the clothes aren’t going to look the same on you: But that is beside the point I’m trying to make.

What irritates me is: Why would anyone purchase an entire outfit that someone else is wearing? Aren’t people ashamed of doing that? To me, it’s akin to copying off someone else’s exam. Plagiarising another person’s entire style. And I think that’s unacceptable.

These stores are blurring the boundaries between being inspired by somebody else’s look and just being a big ol’ copy cat. They are normalising stealing style from others. I’ve broken up with friends before because they started imitating my look too closely: It’s so rude! Encouraging people to break this fundamental rule of Style Etiquette (NEVER blatantly copy someone else’s style) is, in my opinion, despicable.

Online fashion stores: You need to mind your manners!

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