spruced by marlene

online vs. offline

By Marlene | Published: 31. August 2012

The other night, a couple of girlfriends and I were talking about shopping.

Don’t you know? It’s all we women talk about. When we’re not talking about the frustrating buying policy that Arsène Wenger is enforcing at Arsenal, i.e. a policy of not buying players. Ever. At all. But I digress.*

As we were chatting I realised that I hadn’t made a trip to the shops in quite a while. The kind of trip that takes all Saturday, where you hit all your favourite shops, break for lunch in-between, visit a few more places afterwards and come home in the evening, utterly exhausted, but blissfully happy about the contents of the four bags you brought home with you. One of reasons I’ve stopped doing it so much is that I do a lot of my shopping online now. It’s just so easy. And by easy I mean dangerous. I don’t know about you, but my decision-making at the “buy” button is often more rash than Robin van Persie’s move from Arsenal to Manchester United. Also, I can do it at work. Which nobody can complain about, because I’m my own boss. And while it lacks what I love about buying clothes in a store – seeing and feeling the fabric, trying the piece on – I don’t miss the changing room lights. The best thing about it though is suddenly finding something while surfing around that I had been looking for forever. Like a loose-fitting, twisted yarn jumper. The kind that makes you go: I wore that when they first were around in the 80s. This one’s from a brand called Libertine-Libertine and I found it at Adélie, a shop I discovered because I physically met the owner in Copenhagen. When I saw the jumper, I was faster at the “buy” button that I could explain to you why van Persie is an idiot.

I’m definitely going shopping there again.

I already know I’m going to love this jumper because the second it arrived I started thinking about all the different things I can wear it with. Today I went with off-white jeans, a pair of nude heels and a brown belt. Very “light” for me. But these are the last days of summer, so it seemed appropriate.

*Football season kicked off a couple of weeks ago and I apologize for any distress my talking about it might cause you. Football is certainly distressing for me.

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  1. Mailis
    Posted 31. August 2012 at 21:00 | Permalink

    Hallo Marlene,
    ich bin durch das Onlineshopping weniger experimentierfreudig geworden. Es haben sicher auch andere Webshops (bzw. Marken) schöne Teile, aber ich bin dann doch zu faul zum Feststellen, dass mir der Schnitt nicht steht oder das Material komisch ist. Ich merke auch, dass ich mit der Zeit immer weniger neue Kleidung brauche (WIRKLICH, habe ich das wirklich geschrieben, aber brauche ich ernsthaft ein zweites Paar weiße Jeans oder noch eine Bikerjacke? OK, Kleider und Mäntel ausgenommen). Neue Lieblingsteile finde ich dann doch offline, in kleinen Läden, irgendwo.

    Sei ganz lieb gegrüßt!

    • Marlene
      Posted 31. August 2012 at 23:06 | Permalink

      Hey! Stimmt natürlich, man kann sich nie ganz sicher sein, ob das Teil das Richtige ist, bis es zuhause ankommt – und man es dann prompt zurückschickt. Musste ich auch schon machen. Aber größtenteils hatte ich Glück. Ich mag das Einkaufen halt online vor allem, um Dinge zu finden, die ich in Berlin bei wenig Zeit nicht finden würde. Ich bin zwar beim “buy” klicken immer flott. Aber ich kaufe insgesamt auch weniger als früher. Und – eine Erfahrung, die einem online nicht beschert wird – gerade neulich habe ich einen kleinen Laden in Kopenhagen entdeckt, in dem ich dann einen Rock gefunden habe, den ich ohne ihn anzuprobieren nie gekauft hätte, weil gedacht hätte: steht mir eh nicht. Stand mir aber doch. Ein schöner Überraschungsmoment. Schönste Grüße zurück, Marlene

  2. Clothierin
    Posted 31. August 2012 at 23:37 | Permalink

    This jumper is really 80’s. Great stuff however! <3 I, eg, never suspected myself of buying these kitschy wedge sneakers from Marc by Marc Jacobs. Ever, I swear!!! But you're absolutely right – it's that simple online, hahaha 😉

    Greetings from Berlin

    • Marlene
      Posted 1. September 2012 at 11:49 | Permalink

      Some things aren’t worth hesitating over. Like a wedge sneaker. Good buy!

  3. steph
    Posted 31. August 2012 at 23:50 | Permalink

    I also buy fashion online myself.Of course!

    But I beg you: DO NOT FORGET TO SUPPORT “REAL” SHOPS!!! It is like when you buy 95% of your groceries at the cheap chain store with the convenient parking lot in front. And then one day the little grocery shop down your road closes. And you feel really upset, because it was SOOO CONVENIENT and also very CHARMING to have a little shop like that in the hood. But you only ever got a few last minute items there. Maybe you spent 20 Euros per week in the tiny place. Why? because it is about 10% more expensive to shop there. So you spend 150 Euros at the large supermarket every Saturday.

    It will be the same with boutiques and “real retailers”: If we all shop mostly online, the real shops will disappear.

    SO PLEEEEEASE continue visting real shops, even if they sometimes are a little more pricey!!!

    (And yes, I admit: I am so passionate about this, because I come from a family of retailers!)

    • Marlene
      Posted 1. September 2012 at 11:45 | Permalink

      Hey Steph. Thanks for your passionate comment. I do buy some things online from smaller brands that I can’t find anywhere else or where there simply isn’t a “real” shop. And, yes, sometimes I shop in the heat of the moment. But mostly it’s from big clothing chains, the stuff that I could get going downtown, but often don’t have the time to. My neighborhood in Berlin is full of small boutiques and I support the ones that I love as much as I can. They put their hearts into their business and I don’t want them to disappear either. Some of them even have online shops, which I think is a smart way for them to bring in more business. And a great way for people who live further away to support them, too.

  4. Hannah
    Posted 1. September 2012 at 13:21 | Permalink

    Oh the jumper is just perfect! Want it!

    • Marlene
      Posted 1. September 2012 at 14:20 | Permalink

      My thoughts exactly when I first saw it, hahaha.

  5. Darren
    Posted 27. October 2012 at 11:01 | Permalink

    “Some of them (small shops) even have online shops, which I think is a smart way for them to bring in more business.”
    Unfortunately this is not true. Mail order (…online) and physical retail business are different in so many ways. Only very few styles and products in online business actually work (i.e. are commercially successful), these are not necessarily the same items that work for retail.
    The 50ies and 60ies saw a huge mail order and catalog trend but only the companies with the most mainstreamed products and the most efficient logistics survived (e.g. OTTO). Now we have a big second mail order trend with many webshops. Enormous capital is invested in building networks of global logistics (amazon, zalando). Small shops going online won’t have much of a chance in this market. The more people buy fashion online, the more clothes will be adapted to this market and fashion becomes bland. Personally I don’t like the idea of dehumanized shopping. I like to live in a city, go out, see people, go to shops and experience diversity.
    Clothing needs physical retail because clothing is physical.

    • Marlene
      Posted 28. October 2012 at 11:32 | Permalink

      Hi Darren, thanks for your comment. I agree that what sells online won’t necessarily sell in a shop and vice versa. But I also believe there’s opportunity in that for a small company. James’s business is the best example. He can’t and won’t sell his made-to-measure clothes online as much for practical reasons as for the simple fact that having a piece of clothing made for you should be a real-life experience: talking to the designer about the style and cut, feeling and choosing the fabric, physically trying on the clothes. At the same time, by selling his hand-made bags online, James has been able to reach a far wider audience than he would’ve been able to from just selling in stores. What if you live in Zurich, but the nearest shop you could get one of the clutch bags at the moment is in Berlin? You get it from the webshop instead. Same product, different way of buying it. And that, I think, is a service to your customers. Best, Marlene

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