I’m sure by now that most of the “online shopper community” has heard the news of beloved indie boutique, Modcloth, is soon to be acquired by Jet.com, a company owned by Wal-Mart. As far as small companies go, this is relatively par for the course, but for consumers like myself who like to make shopping choices reflect our personal values, it’s a hard hit. For years Modcloth has been a “feminist company” with a great message and a wonderful selection of clothing for women of all sizes. It’s something that I’ve always appreciated as a sporadic Modcloth shopper. Their review system and community aspect was always something that kept me coming back. In a recent Facebook post, Modcloth claimed to continue running with the same values of female positivity, but I find myself in line with many other upset customers. Put simply, I just can’t support a store under Wal-Mart’s umbrella.
I’ve read a few articles that Wal-Mart is hoping to expand business to the millennial demographic, and I really do find it interesting how different companies are trying to appeal to millennials, because in 20 years or so, some of these companies are going to find themselves in a crisis. In Wal-Mart’s case, as the world’s wealthiest company, they could maybe pay their employees a living wage and give them benefits, or they could just buy up more small companies that millennials frequent and hope for the best.
This is all just laughable to me, because markets are extremely competitive, and what is Modcloth’s loss is another boutique’s gain. I keep thinking about the whole Ivanka Drumpf fiasco and how much influence people actually have with just a credit card. So don’t worry about where you’re going to get your funky dresses because I’ll share with you some of my personal favourite Modcloth-esque boutiques.
Boutiques I Love
Blame Betty – Easily tops the list. I’m biased because it’s a Canadian boutique based in Calgary and the shipping is beyond competitive. Nevertheless, they carry primarily retro-inspired clothing, plus some goth stuff that really lead me down the hole of fun witchy-inspired clothes. Their holiday selection of clothing is also easily the best I’ve ever seen. I’m not sure how much I’ve spent at BB last year, but I’m going to keep doing it because they’ve quickly become my favourite online boutique. Customer service has always been wonderful, and they do have fantastic sales on a regular basis, so I’d say they’re definitely worth joining the newsletter for. Also, make sure to follow their Facebook page because they have regular contests where you simply like the post and comment (no sharing posts required!).
RoRox Boutique – This newly-established boutique is based in the UK and carries many popular retro clothing brands at VERY competitive prices. Seriously, I haven’t seen better pricing. Hell Bunny skirts for $50 CDN, regular price?! Shipping is a bit more than Blame Betty (at least here in Canada) but the items arrive quickly and customer service is great. You can also shop in your currency, which is a major plus. They also carry a good selection of steampunk clothing, if you’re into that kind of thing. Note: This is a UK store so you will need to know your UK size!
Atom Retro – I literally JUST bought some clothes from this site, but I don’t think I’ve had a better online shopping experience before. The website looks a bit dated and plain, but what they lack in visual appeal they make up for pretty much everywhere else. They carry both mens and womens apparel retro-inspired clothing (mainly 60’s-70’s, which is my HEAVEN), plus some home goods. Navigation is quick and easy and everything is neatly organised. Their shop even saves your “low to high” pricing organisation selection throughout your entire visit, which for me proved to be an amazingly handy setting. They carry moderately-priced items all the way up to high-end brands. I was also happy to see that they carried a good selection of Irregular Choice shoes at rather competitive prices. One major plus goes to their checkout, where you can get express shipping for just a couple bucks more AND YOU CAN CHOOSE TO PREPAY CUSTOMS AND DUTY FEES, WHY DON’T ALL ONLINE SHOPS DO THIS?! Shopping here was like being in heaven. Note: This is a UK store so you will need to know your UK size!
Joy – I’ve shopped a couple times from the UK-based Joy. They carry a small selection of brands, but their stuff is quirky but polished, with a very upscale mainstream British vibe. They carry a small selection of UK-based brands, two of which I’ve grown to adore (Sugarhill Boutique and Louche). I actually discovered Joy’s boutique looking for the orange floral skirt featured in the leftmost photo above (one of my favourite skirts), which Modcloth was sold out of in my size at the time, and lo and behold, Joy was selling it cheaper. Joy does also have regular sales so they’re definitely worth the newsletter subscription. Note: This is a UK store so you will need to know your UK size!
Plasticland – I’ve only purchased a coat from Plasticland in the past, but I was happy with the service. They carry less apparel than they did in the past, but man alive are some of their accessories and home decor amazing. They’re also pretty fantastic for unique Christmas tree ornaments if that’s the sort of thing you enjoy collecting.
SugarDoll Swimwear – This one is obviously just for swimsuits, but if you’re into retro swimwear, this one-woman shop is pretty stellar. She mainly sells mix and match two piece swimsuits (though the growing selection of one-piece suits are great too!), and they’re wonderfully flattering, fully-lined and well-made. International shipping is a bit pricey but I’d definitely say it’s worth it because the bottoms I bought from SugarDoll a couple years back has friggin’ pockets. POCKETS. ON A SWIMSUIT.
Ruche – I’d say that Ruche is probably the most similar to Modcloth. They carry many pieces in the same vein, and many times in the past I chose to buy from Ruche over Modcloth because their international shipping rates were much more affordable. Ruche went out of business for a short period of time last year but reestablished themselves under new owners. I haven’t yet purchased since they switched ownership, so I can’t vouch 100% for the store now. Another small downside is that most of their items are Juniors sizing, which means that when I buy a Large it’s not gonna fit like a bloody Large and I end up passing the clothes down to my sister. They do have a Plus range, though unfortunately, it doesn’t at all compare to the selection that Modcloth has.
Boutiques I Haven’t Yet Shopped, But Plan On Shopping
Shabby Apple – I’ve always loved the simple yet elegant clothes this boutique has offered. The price points are higher than I’d usually be willing to spend. They carry mostly dresses and skirts with a rustic/simple aesthetic, all made in house. The styles aren’t 100% up my alley, but I figured I’d include them for those who really love a good floor-length skirt.
Unique Vintage – I’ve heard some good things about this site, just have never had a reason to justify a purchase. I’ve also found the website to lack character, though in the last year alone they’ve updated it to be more Modcloth-esque. To be honest, I’ve always found the selection to be overwhelming, but I’ll probably be making a purchase here for some summer skirts pretty soon…
Pinup Girl Clothing – I’ve LUSTED after many of their clothes after hearing so much positive buzz, but unfortunately, many of their pieces aren’t items I would wear on a regular basis so I haven’t yet been able to justify the purchase. They carry mostly 50’s-60’s-inspired pieces. One of these days I’ll have the guts to don a wiggle dress at a wedding and I’ll take the plunge, I’m sure. One of these days.
What About You?
Anywhere you shop that I haven’t listed where you think I should spend my cash? Feel free to let me know in the comments!