Online Shopping Turns 20: The Best E-Commerce Sites In The U.K.

Once upon a time — 20 years ago in fact — buying clothes required getting up, showering, eating breakfast, and dressing, then taking some sort of transport to the nearest urban metropolis and wearing ourselves out traipsing around shop after shop. Can you imagine such a thing today? Now that we’re well into the 21st century, we've virtually forgotten what shop facades look like. We spend our mornings before work in bed cheekily filling basket after basket, making endless wish lists (which we’ll later send out to our beloveds, friends, and parents), going between stores comparing, and clicking our way through to the checkout — all without even having to put on underwear. Isn't modern life bliss?
The reason behind this new found happiness: e-commerce, making life so much better for our wardrobes and time schedules. As an ode to its 20th anniversary, we’ve gone and rounded up the very best that Britain has to offer. From designer labels to hard-to-find buys, and wish-list worthy lingerie, click through to see (and then shop) our edit. Oh, and the best bit? They’ve all got international shipping. Fist pump, browse, and add to basket.
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Photo: Courtesy of Coggles.
Tucked away in a corner of the interweb is Coggles, a brilliant British e-commerce site which stocks designer men's and womenswear fashion. Its handpicked selection of brands spans high-end (Alexander Wang and Helmut Lang), luxe (rag & bone), and more commercial names (Wildfox and House of Holland). An equally thorough selection of menswear labels includes Christopher Raeburn, Levi’s, Nudie, Belstaff, and McQ. It also has some lovely editorial content under the Life vertical, covering everything from smaller fashion weeks, cycling features, and music interviews. Boasting a giant accessories selection, it's the perfect go-to for sourcing last-minute gifts, especially with its next day delivery service when you spend over £75 (and easy peasy returns, too!).

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Photo: Courtesy of Browns.
Browns Fashion
As well as being one of the first places to stock the entirety of Jeremy Scott's McDonald's Moschino collection, Browns is the go-to for all things sparkly: think Ashish, logo-d Être Cécile, colour-crazy Sophia Webster, and quirky Filles A Papa. Likewise, is down with all things cool and cult. You want that piece that everyone remembers? You go here. But, similarly, if you need something more demure, it has plenty of options from the likes of Chloé, Givenchy, and Stella McCartney. Its brick and mortar store on South Molton Street hosts a notoriously wild party every London Fashion Week, which draws in an eclectic crowd of partygoers who knock back straight Patrón way into the early hours. Go hard or go home is pretty much Browns' ethos.
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Photo: Courtesy of ASOS.
A site that needs no introduction; we're all pretty familiar with ASOS aren't we? Having come a seriously long way since its "as seen on stars" days, ASOS has earned its revered position in the world of international e-commerce. Along with its own ASOS, ASOS White, ASOS BLACK, and ASOS Africa collections, the bulging site stocks page after page after page of your other favourite brands, including Whistles, French Connection, DKNY, Warehouse, and Ganni. More indie international labels get a look in, too, with One Teaspoon, Wood Wood, Won Hundred, and Finders Keepers all vying for your attention. With free delivery (and returns) worldwide when you spend £15, it's far too easy to fill a basket. Plus, you can always find a discount code somewhere on the web if you look hard enough.
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Photo: Courtesy of Flannels.
Valentino boots, Kenzo slip dresses, Mulberry totes, and Dolce & Gabbana dresses can all be bagged at Flannels, a sophisticated Brit e-commerce site which celebrates women’s designer fashion and contemporary menswear. Plus, childrenswear from Maharishi, too. Stocking a more refined edit than the likes of Net-A-Porter, Flannels is the kind of site where you stumble on something that you simply need in your life, instead of heading straight for it in the search bar. That said, we do go there for denim; brands include J Brand, Burberry Brit, Frame Denim, and Maison Scotch among others. Standalone stores are sprinkled across the U.K.'s biggest cities, but with the site's cheap delivery costs (£5.95), we prefer browsing from bed.
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Photo: Courtesy of London-Boutiques.
As the name suggests, London-Boutiques is a one-stop e-shop for all of your favourite London boutiques. Stocking collections from Mayfair's Fleur B, Brompton Cross' D&Me, Shoredtich's A-Line, and Notting Hill's Austique among many more, London-Boutiques makes them readily available to the whole wide world, saving you the airfare from an afternoon of browsing in Marylebone. Given the amount of boutiques it includes, it's no big surprise that its inventory is vast, with bags, shoes, denim, knits, and fine jewellery a plenty. And, with free U.K. and international returns, what's stopping you from going wild? But, hurry. By autumn, London-Boutiques will transform into Grazia Shop, the new online shopping destination brought to you by Grazia magazine. They bought the website in May.
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Photo: Courtesy of Not Just A Label.
Not Just A Label
The pioneers of contemporary fashion on the U.K. web scene, Not Just A Label is an avid supporter of young, fresh, and under-the-radar names. Reading through the stocked designers list, we wouldn’t expect you to recognise more than a few names, because NJAL is seriously ahead of the game. International newbies names stem from as far afield as India, Poland, Hungary, and Ukraine, but NJAL successfully brings them all in one place and on to your radar. Plus, unlike most international indie boutiques, NJAL accepts full refunds, so if you change your mind, no biggie. Expect out-there pieces, one-offs, and statement-making accessories. And remember, fashion week is round the corner, so stock up now.
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Photo: Courtesy of Farfetch.
Remember that cute silk blouse you saw in a boutique in Paris, but didn’t have enough euros to buy? Thank Farfetch because it just brought it to your wardrobe. An online hub of the best international boutiques, it allows you to spend the morning traipsing the boutiques of back-street Paris, all from the comfort of your bed. It’s also a great place to discover international labels to plant on your radar and stock up on the likes of vintage Christian Dior and Comme des Garcons from back in the day. Our only gripe? Shipping is quite expensive at £9 (and £18 for international), but the bonus is free returns. That'll do.
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Photo: Courtesy of Dolcifollie.
Your partner knows they're in for a treat when a Dolcifollie package arrives through the letter box. The online go-to for seriously sexy lingerie stocks a wide selection of brands including Bordelle, Beautiful Bottoms, Playful Promises, and L’Agent by AP, plus styles that range from delicate and demure to flirtatiously fabulous. Catch a mid-season sale, and you can bag a designer set with a nice 50% off. International shipping is available from £11.95, and it also offers a made-to-measure service.
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Photo: Courtesy of Pretty Little Thing.
Pretty Little Thing
Here's a scenario: You're in your 20s. You've got a birthday dinner on Friday night and a friend's house party on Saturday. You've got precisely zero outfits to wear and not much dollar to throw at new ones either. Cue, Pretty Little Thing: the e-store with covetable options, affordable price tags, and next-day delivery. Essentially Britain’s answer to NastyGal, expect cutaways, crop tops, platform shoes, tasselled kimonos, and big headbands (a.k.a., your Saturday night outfit, sorted).
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Photo: Courtesy of Matches Fashion.
Matches Fashion
One of the main reasons we go to Matches Fashion is for the packaging. The pretty marble-inked gift boxes that each order comes lovingly delivered in removes half the guilt of spending this month's rent on silk scarves. But, it’s not just accessories on offer — gosh, no. Well-stocked and bursting at the seams with high-end designer brands, international labels, luxe lingerie, and quirky cult names, log on to browse everything from Christopher Kane slip dresses, J.Brand jeans, Stella McCartney panties, Lulu & Co slogan jumpers, and Moschino phone covers. And, if you can’t get enough online, take a ride over to Marylebone to step inside the brick-and-mortar store, which, with its all-white aesthetic and perfectly finger-spaced hangers, is as refined as its digi self.
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Photo: Courtesy of Net-A-Porter.
Probably the Google Chrome homepage for most fashion girls, Net-A-Porter is the be all and end all when it comes to designer fashion online. And, if you're in a frenzy about having nothing to wear this evening, order by 10 a.m., and Net-A-Porter can deliver it the same day. Like magic. Stocking all the newest collections from an infinite number of designer names — the list is endless — it's our best bet for finding lingerie, with everything from La Perla to Dolce & Gabbana, and Elle Macpherson Intimates, and is also a lifesaver for sportswear (the stuff you're happy to be seen outside your front door in) categorised by sports activity. After years of online editorial with The Edit, this year Net-A-Porter jumped head first into the big bad world of print publishing with Porter magazine, which is pretty much – as predicated – just Net-A-Porter on paper. And, that definitely isn't a bad thing.

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