In YOOX We Trust

I promised a hagiographic post about YOOX a couple of months ago, and here it is.

YOOX is the best. I love it so much.
That's it? All those words in your head, and that's the best you can do?
That’s it? All those words in your head, and that’s the best you can do?
Jil Sander Dress purchased from YOOX

Over the last few years, I have purchased a significant, and growing, percentage of my clothes from YOOX. What is this YOOX that has inspired such loyalty and affection?

In the words of YOOX itself, “Shopping on is all about discovery – an eclectic and playful journey beyond fashion’s strict seasonal rules – allowing men and women to express their individuality through timeless and creative style.” For anyone scratching her head while trying to parse that statement: this is a compelling — nay, romantic — way to describe a business model for selling past-season inventory at deep discounts through a phenomenal logistics platform.

Put more plainly, YOOX rounds up unsold clothes from the far corners of the earth at the end of each season — from manufacturers and retailers across the globe — and then brings them to you and me via Clifton, New Jersey (Exit 153 off the Garden State Parkway). The deep discounts are feasible because YOOX achieves an economy of scale through a combination of integrated supply and distribution chains and volume.

Disclosure: YOOX has no idea about my enthusiasm. Or about my website. My descriptions of the YOOX business model are based on personal observation and speed-reading publicity material on the YOOX website, and therefore may be incorrect.

Clifton NJ
Clifton NJ; I wonder if the citizens of Clifton know what treasure is in their midst

Because I am usually looking for clothes that are classic (but interesting) rather than trendy, I don’t care about shopping past-season.[1] I love YOOX for these reasons:

1. YOOX enables me to regularly buy the most beautiful clothes at affordable prices. Notwithstanding the seasonless characterization above, YOOX does observe a calendar of sorts. Around the start of the season (“season” being “hot-ish” or “cold-ish” in the Northern hemisphere), YOOX’s pricing scheme starts with very modest discounts off full-price; the discounts increase over the course of the season. Special, time-limited thematic discounts (linked to a holiday, corporate milestone, particular designers or products) are also offered. My favorite discount is the one that applies to customer wish lists — YOOX will offer 10-25% off anything that is already on your wish list. (YOOX calls these wish lists “Dream Boxes” — a term I refuse to use.) A strategy for shopping on YOOX is to put things on a wish list and wait a few weeks to see what discounts come your way. The risk to this approach is that merchandise may sell out, but YOOX will warn you when the inventory is down to 1.

2. YOOX brings small and obscure labels — some of which are luxury brands and others of which are modest, local labels in places quite far from Washington, D.C. — to my notice.

3. YOOX customer service is excellent. I’ve received post-purchase discounts that didn’t fall squarely within the stated price adjustment policy just by calling and requesting them. The most recent time, I called customer service and laid out a confusing timeline in which my order and YOOX’s special offer traveled parallel tracks and sort of criss-crossed; I could barely follow my own argument. I don’t think the customer service representative understood me, either, but she said she would take it to her manager and a couple of hours later I received a very nice email notifying me that my account would be credited.

4. For entertainment, I like thrillers (no torture), mysteries (in which the author provides a couple of clues),[2] and scavenger hunts. So sifting through the vast YOOX inventory is a game to me. I like ferreting out something interesting or new. I am just realizing that if I were a dog, I wouldn’t be a dignified Newfoundland, placidly resting by the fireplace after towing someone out of deep water. I’d be an excitable, wriggling Corgi, purposelessly adhering to genetic imperatives by herding the family and terrorizing the neighborhood chipmunks.

I want to be THIS . . .
How I see myself
but am actually this.
How I actually am
I do like your scarf, Mr. Wrigglebottom


Not everyone enjoys the chase. For the Newfoundlands among us, who are conserving energy between rescues, be assured that YOOX’s filters permit sorting with some precision. If you have some purpose or idea in mind (a blouse! with sleeves! in black!), you can shop efficiently and quickly by whittling down your options with some science. For some tips on how to cut through the volume, you may want to check out this earlier post. Happy Hunting!

And one final word: The Directrice is opposed to blood sports. The idea! I was thinking of hunting things like truffles. Did you know that dogs have overtaken pigs as truffle-hunters? C’est vrai! Read about it here; you will be entertained.

12 thoughts on “In YOOX We Trust”

  1. Dear Directrice,

    Regarding Yoox, my challenge is this: the very broad assortment of high-end designers makes it difficult for a novice to guesstimate the correct sizing (as you know, the sizing seems to vary quite a bit among high-end designers, and add to that the wrinkle of European sizes, which are a staple on Yoox). Is there any general advice to be had for which designers seem to fit petite frames best? And to be more specific, petite but curvy frames? Or is my best bet to pull out my measuring tape and try to get a more accurate sense of my actual dimensions (presumably in both centimeters and inches)?
    A corollary: I often get close to purchasing something that seems like it might fit based on the sizing, but then I look at the waist sizing and get worried it won’t fit. I’m usually in the 0-2 range in American sizes, but often 4-6+ in some of the fancy international brands.
    All advice welcome!

    • Hi Betsy — These are good questions! You should definitely take your measurements and compare them to the size guides for the manufacturer — which may require a special visit to the manufacturer’s website if you are shopping on a site like Shopbop or YOOX. Those measurements are a starting point, but there are two other variables that will have an impact on fit: wearing ease and design ease. Wearing ease is the allowance between the model size measurements and the finished garment that ensure a comfortable fit — depending on the manufacturer and the particular measurement (e.g., waist), ease can add 1″-4″ to the measurement of a finished garment. For example, more ease is added to the seat and hips (for comfortable sitting) than the waist. Design ease refers to the intended fit, which may be fitted or loose, or slightly more complicated than that. See, e.g., the entire oeuvre of Marni. Ease is hard to gauge from photos. My chief suggestion when ordering on-line is to order two sizes and significantly improve your chance of having something fit. For an hourglass figure, I would not worry about the waist — a waist can often be taken in; I would focus on the shoulders (which are hard to alter) and bust (which can be taken in, but rarely let out). In terms of fun brands to try for an hourglass figure: Trina Turk, Nanette Lepore, Elie Tahari, RED Valentino, Max Mara, Marc Jacobs. I’ll try to think of more and supplement this list. One other idea: a number of retailers (Gilt, Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus) have started offering advice about fit based on previous purchases. This advice appears (to me) to be based on the specific measurements of the manufacturer and specific data about my previous purchases . . . though I wonder what they do with returns data . . .

      Readers: Help me help Betsy! Please chime in with your observations and experiences!

      • I wish that all sites would list the actual measurements of the garments. Then we would know if they would fit, wouldn’t we? The Outnet does this but I can’t think of other sites that do, off hand.

        • You are too right, Elbe! Gilt does this to a limited extent — Gilt shows a model wearing a dress and tells you the size and measurement of the model’s dress. So at least you learn the measurements associated with a 2 or 4.

  2. I missed you on Monday! Thank you for posting today – you are still my treat to read 3x a week. I hope that’s not too stalker-ish to say. No pressure 🙂

    Maybe I need a real hobby. I may even have to check out YOOX. I do get a little concerned about purchasing clothing I have not actually tried on. I guess that’s where alterations are helpful, and an open mind as to hemlines and sleeve lengths.

    • Sharla — I am so pleased that you consider this blog a treat, so thank you for saying so. I really appreciate the support and, more generally, the comments from readers! I took a break on Monday, which I may do again this month, just because it’s hot and slow here in Washington. Unless I post something announcing a change, however, the schedule will remain M/W/F.

  3. I love Yoox. Love love love. The best strange brands I’ve never heard of, the coolest clothes and shoes. Yes I agree with Betsy, the fit is a problem but I tend to look all over the web for a piece that I’m interested in and see if other sites have reviews and measurements. And yes, if all else fails I go bigger and tailor. Not possible with shoes, though.

  4. I had heard of Yoox, but you are the first blogger who persuaded me to actually look at the site by showing and linking to some of the items. I looked, I saw… I bought. And wouldn’t you know? The blouse I bought has been a delight this summer. Yay! Now Yoox is one of my very favorite places to browse. Sometimes it has nice basics at a great price, but most often I find those interesting, not-everyone-has-it items that tease my style. Great advice, too, about buying two sizes for better chances of a good fit. The one downside of Yoox is that sizing becomes a bit of a guessing game for me. Both times I bought something I was rather nervous about the fit, but they were just fine. On the other hand, I haven’t bought a few things because of that doubt.

  5. I was also inspired by the post and so took the plunge and ordered four white summer dresses from YOOX. Like Betsy, I was concerned about the sizing. None of the dresses was available in multiple sizes, but I’m hopeful that at least one of the four will fit. I’m counting on the return policy being easy as promised! My fit problem is shoulders, so I sized up where possible and might consider having something altered. Here’s my question: Do you have any tips for making sure alterations are successful? I’ve had bad luck recently and have had to give away items because they ended up being too tight across my shoulders.

    • Hi Rhizophora — If the white dresses don’t work, don’t give up hope. If they don’t fit, but you otherwise like them, keep some notes on the brands, sizes and fit for future reference. On alterations: a professional tailor or seamstress should be willing to baste the alterations before cutting (or cutting to size) and sewing. What this means is that he will make sure that there is enough fabric to continue to adjust the fit and loosely stitch the alterations in place so that you can try the dress on again and see if the alterations are right. The only drawback to this process is that it takes more time — three visits to the tailor instead of two — but it’s your time, not his, so there shouldn’t be an additional charge. I use this approach when I am a little dubious about how something should fit or look — maybe 20%-30% of the time.

  6. Directrice — excellent suggestions! I will make “real” notes in notebook because things that get filed away in the brain sometimes are mislaid (despite my best intentions). And such a good idea to ask to have the alterations basted — and tested — before being finalized. Being as I don’t know much about sewing, I couldn’t have imagined that there might be a solution to my problem. I’m so glad I asked. Thank you, thank you!


Leave a Comment