To join Gilt.com click here.
To join Rue La La, you'll have to send me your email address so I can invite you.
Both sites have a return policy if the sizing isn't right which is nice considering the nature of the sale and the discount. However you will be out the shipping to you and the return shipping so it's not a risk-free transaction either.
I think it's best to use these sites to purchase brands you already know that you love, or that you feel confident in sizing. I love Trina Turk and have some of her pieces from 5 years ago. To me they are classic and I know my size. Cole Haan is also a sure bet for me because I've generally seen the shoes in person. I also love Tracey Reese and Nanette Lepore designs. I used to go to a boutique in Greenville, SC called Coplon's where I would find my little designer treasures. They had a room in the back that was up to 80% off and the prices were still high but I could manage them with that discount. I always look for statement pieces that will last me years, like a well fitted blazer.
Rue La La tends to have more affordable options, but they are both worth joining and looking at once in awhile. To be honest, I've put items in my shopping cart but haven't actually bought anything from them yet. There was a Shoshanna dress that I really loved right before Christmas but I wasn't sure of my size and didn't want to waste the shipping money.
Online shopping can be convenient and give you access to designers you can't find in your area. Of course it can also open up a whole new way to spend money and fritter your day away obsessing over things you want. So, be smart about it because if you don't wear it, it's not an investment.
Another tip about online shopping, Saks.com and in stores is having a pretty good promotion if you need some beauty items. You get $25 off a beauty purchase of $100. The code online is BEAUTY9 and I'm not sure if you need the flyer to get the discount in store, but you can try without it. If I end up using the promotion, I'm going to get a Mac blush brush that I've been wanting (129), a lipstick for my Mom and a couple of Mac eyeshadows that I've wanted for awhile. Then again, I may wait because sometimes that is the best way to go when it comes to spending $75 on beauty products.
I hope I've not tempted you out of a "no-buy"! I've been reading more and more that people are shopping their closets, thrift stores and going on no-buy binges. If you are, please forgive the indulgent shopping post.