The Art of Pre-Ordering

Looks like fashion (or at least e-commerce) is taking Andy Warhol’s words quite literally…

andy warhol, inspirational quotes

The idea of pre-ordering is nothing new, but stores like Saks, Bergdorf Goodman and Neiman Marcus are now offering this option on their e-commerce sites. It makes perfect sense for things you probably won’t wear now (like this pastel Wang bag or Saint Laurent strappy sandals). You order today, basically reserving the item (great for those who wear a common shoe/clothing size, like myself) and receive it any time between March and May. But no one has mastered the art of pre-ordering like Moda Operandi (it’s what their business is based on, after all). During fashion week and even the Resort/Pre-Fall shows, you can shop the looks weeks, even days after the collections are presented. But then you have to wait about 4-7 months to actually receive your order. The best part about Moda Operandi though is what I like to call luxury layaway — you pay half up front (so basically everything is half off but not really) then the other half when it ships. That means you have at least 4 months to figure out how you’re going to pay the rest. Makes that Tibi mohair coat seem much more accessible, right?

So if you’re shopping online and see something you absolutely love (like can’t live without) and you notice it’s available for pre-order, would you still add to cart knowing you won’t be able to get it for at least two months? Does it depend on the seasonality of the item (like those Saint Laurent sandals…won’t be able to wear those until at least June in Chicago) or how long it will take to arrive (usually anywhere from 2-6 months)? What about in-store trunk shows for the next season? Those work the same way (although it requires you to get dressed and actually leave your computer…seems almost ancient doesn’t it?)

For me personally, I’ve pre-ordered a few things from an in-store trunk show (Ohne Titel…it was too good to pass up, especially after seeing it all in person last February) as well as about a dozen items from Moda Operandi (over the course of three years). Andy was right, it is more exciting to wait for something…even better when you forget what you ordered and it arrives months later. That’s the main reason why I do it. Who doesn’t like a nice surprise gift? (even if it’s a gift you paid for). If we’re going to go all pros and cons like yesterday, it’s pretty simple. Pros: if the item sells out once it hits stores you will still have it (and you can rub it in everyone’s face if you so choose), you might get it before everyone else (although you usually get it the same time as everyone else), you get a surprise shipment (if you’re like me and forget about things) and sometimes you only have to pay half up front. Cons: not ideal if you’re impatient, if you change your mind often or get sick of things easily.

Most of the items I’ve pre-ordered aren’t ones that will likely sell out right away, so that’s not something I usually worry about. But if you have your eye on anything rockstud or Isabel Marant, I’d add to cart ASAP no matter how long the wait.

So if you feel like giving yourself a nice surprise in a few months from now…

Image via Hayneedle


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