Why wait when you can WWW?

You’ve looked everywhere; that cool Mulholland sweater with the white stripes and pink skull is nowhere to be found here in Burlington. Unless you’re on a computer. Online boutiques offer many advantages over their physical counterparts, especially as we approach the biggest shopping season of the year. Why battle the crowded boutique parlor rooms? Why deal with the chaotic holiday street traffic? Why chance the possibility that your size is sold out? Fashion-savvy Burlington citizens of yesteryears used to have to embark on boutique reconnaissance missions to Montreal, Boston and New York City in order to find their favorite international designers. But the recent surge in the number of online boutiques has fundamentally changed the way many consumers waccess fashion. Online boutiques offer consumers the same fashion possibilities as the most eclectic urban boutiques – and more. Try looking up your favorite designer, a particular trend, stores in other geographic locations and checking out fashion blogs. Explore the Internet’s fashion resources and chances are you will be exposed to a lot more styles than you ever thought existed. Some people have trouble adjusting to the format of online boutiquing. Beyond the obvious limitation of not being able to try things on before buying them, some argue that the shopping experience is supposed to be just that-an experience. The effect on traditional stores who have lost business to online commerce is another concern. But what about when people don’t have the time and resources to go off on these journeys in search of fashion? Internet-based boutiques give consumers a wealth of unique designers, styles and sizes to choose from, and most offer liberal return policies as well. Sophomore Christopher Lisle points out that along with benefits to consumers, online boutiques allow for “creative progression without the economic barrier that is associated with a physical storefront.” This frees artists to “showcase their ideas and styles by creating and designing their own marketplace.” Junior Timothy Hosmer said, the appeal of online boutiques lies in the fact that shoppers can “find one-of-a-kind designer products at not just one boutique, but hundreds of boutiques around the world.” As the holiday season approaches and consumer frenzy increases, many will consider avoiding all the commotion by staying at home and shopping on the computer instead. For best results, start searching now. You still have to find your favorite little online boutique, and it may be just as hidden and out of the way as in the real world.