A number of my readers have asked for my opinion on La Redoute (www.laredoute.com), a French retailer of affordable women's fashions, shoes and accessories. I was curious myself to see just how well La Redoute stacked up to the rest of my favorite budget fashion stores, so I bit the bullet and placed my first order. Here's how it went:
Navigating the site: At once exhilarating and exasperating, browsing La Redoute is a daunting task as their inventory is huge, yet the site isn't very well organized, their search function is modest, product images are very limited, and it's easy to get lost. However, if you have a clear shopping list in mind, and a plan, you can manage. My plan of attack: Hit up the clearance section, where items were marked up to 85% off. Then, I searched by size, thereby eliminating needlessly browsing things I couldn't buy anyways. With this method, I honed in on a black and beige floral tunic dress (above left), wool grandfather cardigan (above right), brown leather bomber, and black cigarette pants.
Checking out: Adding items to my cart was easy and straightforward, as was the checkout process. When I completed the transaction, an annoying voice boomed, "Congratulations!" and then a popup asked if I wanted to save more, or fill out some survey, both of which I declined because of the annoyance factor. Hint: If you're shopping at work, turn off your speakers!
Special deals: La Redoute had a sitewide promotion going on which was prominently advertised on their homepage: Use code LRSAVE25 for an additional 25% off any order of $25 or more. Nice! Code was applied without any hassles, and the discounts were dramatic.
Shipping: Considering that I got 25% off my entire order, I wasn't too disappointed by the $10.99 shipping fee I paid for standard 4-6 day shipping. I ordered on 9/29 at around 1pm and received my package on 10/3. Definitely satisfactory.
Back order blues: Sadly, on 10/2, I received an email from La Redoute informing me that 2 out of the 4 items that I ordered were on backorder! Argh. Frustrating, but at least they won't charge me until my items ship, although I'm not sure when that will happen.
The goods: I bought a UNITÉ Deep "V" Dress, orig. $79.99 on sale for $24.99, in hopes of creating a sort of "winter floral" look for fall. The quality is pretty good, I would say it's on par with something you'd get at H&M or Zara. The wool/rayon blend fabric drapes nicely but it's a tad scratchy. My main complaint with this dress is the fit: It's simply too loose and too broad through the shoulders, which left it looking more hobo than boho chic when I tried it on (see pic).
I also purchased a La Redoute Creation Long Cardigan in beige, made from a wool/nylon blend. Again, I would say the quality was aligned with the price (orig. $49.99, on sale for $24.99). I figured this would be a warm and snug addition to my winter wardrobe, as I already have a gray bf cardigan and a black one - and I love them both - but I dunno. I rolled the cuffs and that seemed to help. My problem, once again, is with the fit. I think the size is correct, but the diameter of the armholes is too big, and the torso is too bulky, even when cinched with a belt. I know, it's supposed to have that "borrowed from the boys" look, but it's not quite right.
Returns: I'm on the fence with both items, so I'd love some feedback. If you think both items look fug, save me some money and let me know...I'm not afraid to return them.
Once my bomber and black pants arrive, I'll post an update. Until then, my conclusion is this: La Redoute has peeked my interest. The prices are awesome, the quality is, again, comparable to H&M, and LaRedoute.com has some great gems including trendy pieces, classics, and lots of stuff that just looks so Euro-chic (not to be confused with Euro-trash).
Of course, I'm just one customer sharing one shopping experience, so if you've ordered from La Redoute before, please share in the comments - the good, the bad, let's here it!