Cyber Dating, Cyber Shopping


If you follow my style blog, Blank Stare, Blink, you are familiar with my blog partner, Paula, and I both spending far too much time online shopping. We each use it as a tool of distraction, a break from the day, a cigarette for us non-smokers. I equate online shopping to online dating. Harmless until it's not.

It all starts with the innocent I'll just browse; Take a look what's out there; See what's new. The danger then comes with the Isn't that cute; That's the perfect piece; Oh, my god. I have to have it -- which can happen fast.

I haven't been in the dating circuit for 17 years, but I can still feel every mistake I made along the way. My impulse online purchases dot my closet like the regrets of my young adulthood. A timeline in clothes.

I've decided if I'm going to continue cyber dating for fabulous fashion, as with the new rules for my closet, I will now introduce new rules for online shopping.

The rules:

1. If you find it online, try finding it in a store before you "complete purchase."
How many single ladies out there have swooned over someone's photo only to shudder when confronted with the actual person? Photography and lighting are deceptive. And nothing compares to being able to see, feel, smell and touch something. A recent Paula purchase from the eBay smelled so bad she had to toss it. Bargain BO is a total no.

2. If you can't find the coveted item in a brick and mortar, only purchase it online if you've had a long relationship with the brand and know it well -- quality, fit, things like that.

My husband and I were friends first before we started dating and eventually married, so I know this strategy works, at least in love!

3. Purchase from e-tailers that take returns without issue.
Quicky divorces are a good thing here.

4. Don't be wooed by insane markdowns.
Remember being wooed by that guy that was just bad news? Walk away from the shiny sale item that may leave your wallet in tears.

5. Sleep on it before making a commitment.
Does it truly make you happy? Get along with the others in your closet? Is this really "the one"?

Am I going to give-up online shopping entirely? Ummm... no. Remember, there's no harm in looking around as long as you go on a few dates before committing to a new purchase in your life. And once you commit, treat it right, take it out, and cherish it. That's what it's all about.

cross-posted from
Written by Jennifer Boyd-Einstein
Illustration by Paula Mangin