Flash sites have been around for quite some time, but never really clicked until recently. Of course overstock.com and ebay have been pioneers in discounting pricing, but offering designer products online at a significant discount has only recently become vogue. Most sites cater towards women and their vast varieties of wardrobe desires. Luckily, most sites are seeing the light and adding a men’s “department” for the guy who wants to dress well and find a great deal.
I’ve highlighted the more “well-known” flash sites for men and given you a rundown on their selection. Remember that these sales only last about 48hours, and first come first served. I’ve seen the best products sell out in a matter or seconds!
Gilt – For a little bit it was giltman, but recent changes have returned it to its original name. Probably one of the most known flash sites. Gilt for men specializes in a dapper man who likes beautiful and (mostly) luxurious items. Brands like 7FAM, Hickey, Burberry, and that variety are staples. Gilt has shifted from “specific” designer boutiques to a more generalized type of garment sales ie. sweaters, jeans & pants in your size, cold weather accessories, and tailored shirts, all shown with a variety of designers. Gilt in the past has offered a decent selection of accessories from Jack Spade and J. Press all the way to New and Preowned Rolex’s. I personally enjoyed when it was Gilt Man. I felt it was a separate identity, but now it seems Gilt wants to streamline its process. Luckily, they’ve vastly improved their shipping and return policys.
JackThreads – For the casual, funky, hipster you. JackThreads caters to the “artsy” man that likes to be different in their style. Graphic t’s and jeans are constantly offered by different brands. Think of JackThreads as your Williamsburg-outfitter, with a splash of Chelsea and WeHo. Expect to see a lot of stock in WESC, Obey, and Hurley, but also keep an eye out for great sales on basics, eyewear, watches (I’ve seen the great Nixon sale!!) and electronics (eye-buds, iPad accessories).
HauteLook – Recently purchased by Nordstrom (smart move), Hautelook has recently upped the ante from the occasional men’s sale to be more on-par with Gilt. Subscribe if you enjoy perusing for “unisex” eyewear and common sales on Vince, Theory, Cole Haan and designer denim. Perfect for nabbing a cashmere cardigan, slim jeans, and boots. Can’t go wrong with HauteLook. Especially with a owner like Nordstrom, it can only get better.
RueLaLa – Another flash staple, RueLaLa and Gilt came to greatness around the time flash sites were catching on. RueLaLa hasn’t caught up with the likes of Gilt or Hautelook when it comes to offering a men’s department, BUT when they offer a boutique catered towards men, it’s usually great! I’ve nabbed a great pair of Citizens for Humanity jeans, and a few Jack Spade bags for prices much lower than Gilt.
MyHabit – A great offering from Amazon. Usually a smaller amount of items each day, but nevertheless, superb brands and nice variety of sizes. I’ve actually purchased a few things from MyHabit and I’ve been extremely impressed. No worries about shipping costs because every item ships free. I knew Amazon would bring us a fantastic flash-site. Expect brands like Sorel, Varvatos, Marc New York and a stringent denim selection from around the world. I nabbed a great pair of Neuw denim jeans from Sydney for about 80% off. Keep an eye out for promotions. MyHabit launched in 2011 and had a year-long promotion going for 25% off their already discounted prices. Definitely subscribe.
ideeli – I remember I was told about ideeli before I knew anything about flash-sites. Mainly focused towards women, ideeli offers only a select amount of products for men. Suiting and basics is what you can expect, for example sales on CKU, (2)xist, Varvatos USA, and other mentionable designers. Expect only about 2-3 men’s sales per day, but worthy of subscribing.
Huckberry – A newcomer that specialized in products for you burly men and wannabes…A great variety of products for the “outdoorsy” guys. They handpick brands that have stood the test of time and are known for durability. Keep an eye on this site for future sales on Filson, Patagonia, and other high-quality brands.
Belle & Clive - Super-duper high-end. This fairly new flash-site is from the creators of Bluefly.com, a well-known online designer discounter. This site has only the most prestigious brand offerings ie. Burberry, Bottega Veneta, Gucci, and RRL. Pricing is rather high, but the quality is there. Go here for a splurge on an item you really adore. Worthy of subscribing, even just to window-shop.
Beyond the Rack – This site was one of the starters. There sales tend to be more women-based. Decent accessory sales on sunglasses, and well-known brands. There was an article about BTR that has stuck with me. It was in regards to their pricing and how they were charging more than some department stores. I’m a tad weary of BTR.
*Keep in mind these tips if you decide to dive into flash-shopping.
1. The best goes first. Preview upcoming sales for the designers you want. When the sale starts, click what you want and put them in your shopping cart. Most carts save the item for at least 2 minutes…allowing you time to decide as well as keeping away other prowlers.
2. Know return policies. Some sites ONLY give you store credit or take a percentage for return shipping costs if you request a refund. Know before hand.
3. Accessories go first because of the lack of sizing. You want a bag, watch or case? Nab it…
4. Keep an eye out for coupons and promotion codes. Many sites offer you discounts for special events or even credits to get you back to shopping. Gilt and RueLaLa are known for “come-back credits”.
5. Don’t underestimate the power of Customer Service. They know what’s available and what’s not. Call if you have a concern. Many times they’ll give you a credit if you’re having site trouble…hehe
6. Wait-lists actually work. You may get the item you really want within a month or two, and sometimes at a cheaper price. Don’t be blue…add yourself to the wait-list of a desired item.
7. ALWAYS price check before plunking down for an item. Google search, and price compare. Make sure you’re actually getting a great deal, and not just a 5% discount.