Welcome to my new feature, City Girl EC1: Style Spy. Seeking out and appreciating style - whether in a boutique, on the high street, in a hotel or online. Anything could be featured here, as long as it's got style. Look out for my City Girl seal of approval, coming soon. First up? Runway Route.com.
I love internet shopping. That's not to say that I've purchased much more than a pair of flip-flops and t-shirts online. Yet, I could spend hours roaming virtual retail stores, seeking inspiration and something dramatically different. Particularly after a shopping day engulfed by Oxford Street's big brand 'beasts', or after spotting your identically-dressed 'twin' in a wedding line-up. Online, you can flick through designer/boutique/high-street/sale items far more rapidly than in real life. Plus, you keep your other half (and/or your own sanity) intact. Goodbye to jostling crowds and hello to a comfy chair, glass of red wine and Ben n' Jerry's. Of course, my lack of surf-n-spend does suggest that I still prefer the thrill of entering my favourite shops, eyes scanning the walls at super-speed, loading up the poor shop assistant with more hangers than I'm allowed and enjoying lovely, homely changing rooms (Anthropologie). Not to mention the gorgeously girlie time with friends and the 'cardio'/my sole exercise. Even so, I am increasingly looking online as a complementary style source: small sites appeal to my entrepreneur-within, while those more established remain an informative and enticing encyclopedia of fashion, 24/7. You may also experience the irrational and indulgent idea (far less likely in the 'real world'), that somehow you have stumbled upon a secret style sanctuary, undiscovered until now. And, when fabulous finds are available at lower costs (lack of overheads), the allure is greater. And often addictive. Yes, online shopping has it's perks and definitely it's place in my (and our) fashion future.
One recently discovered site with a bright future of its own, is Runway Route. It specialises in exclusive, international labels loved by celebrities including Kristen Stewart, Alexa Chung and Pixie Lott (below). With new items added every week, I particularly enjoy perusing the pretty printed frocks, accessories and styling ideas. On-trend, select designs from lesser-known labels, affordable prices and a growing brand-power of its own, Runway Route certainly achieves that 'something different' factor. And, they have a permanent sales section. My favourites are featured, above and below.