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Net-a-Porter offshoot The Outnet is known for being being just as stylish as its big sister site—just slightly more frugal. So it makes sense that the site's director, Stephanie Phair, is a dedicated discount shopper who actually landed her job by wearing a completely sale-sourced look to her interview with Net-a-Porter Founder Natalie Massenet. We asked Stephanie to share her best shopping tips, her greatest score, and her advice on what never to buy, no matter how great the deal.
We've heard that you wore all discount pieces to your Outnet interview with Net-a-Porter Founder Natalie Massenet. Can you retell that story for us?
In my job interview, Natalie Massenet asked me what I was wearing. My skirt was from Loehmann’s and my Dolce & Gabbana shoes were from a sample sale. I am a dedicated discount shopper who loves to mix and match brands, rather like The Outnet customer. I think that’s what sealed the deal.
Some people are strategic shoppers and stalk their pieces carefully, while some people make a competitive sport out of shopping. Which kind of shopper are you?
I am a strategic shopper. I identify gaps in my wardrobe and aim to fill them with pieces that I know will see me through this season and beyond. I opt for classic silhouettes and clean lines, and stretch my budget as far as it will go on things like a great blazer or a tailored pencil skirt. I'll then mix them with more trend-driven pieces or statement jewelry.
What's the best deal you've ever found?
A Dolce & Gabbana cocktail dress at THE OUTNET, reduced by 70 percent. Staff have to wait before they are allowed to shop so that our customers have the best choice, so I was surprised it was still available.
Ever take home something that you later regretted?
Nothing that I have purchased recently. The Outnet's Fashion Editor, who oversees all styling on the site and photo shoots, gave me a great piece of advice: Before you buy a piece, create outfits around it in your mind so that you can make sure the item will work with the rest of your wardrobe.
As an expert on finding gorgeous designer clothes at a great discount, do you have any online shopping tips to share?
Have an idea of what you want, but be flexible when it comes to style or label; that way, you won’t be disappointed and you might discover a label you hadn’t heard of before. If you’re shopping online, make sure you register to be emailed about new arrivals, and follow brands or labels you love on Twitter or Facebook. Items sell out fast when you’re shopping discount, so subscribers and fans are usually the first to be notified about arrivals. They often get a preview of items, too.
Is there anything you'd recommend people should never buy, no matter how great the deal is?
Don't buy something that doesn't fit unless you know it can be altered easily, and that you will actually take it to be altered!