It has taken me a hell of a long time to get this sorted out in my head so that when I post it, it comes across as semi-coherent to readers.  Some of you have been hankering after an eBay tutorial which strikes me as odd seeing as I don’t consider myself an eBay expert and the probable case is that you guys have your own ways of doing things.  An eBay routine as it were is rather a personal thing and you may disagree with my tactics and tips in which case this post has been a complete waste of time…. (but hey I am after all one of the biggest time-wasters around so this is no skin off my back!)

So to begin… as this is a PERSONAL eBay routine I’m talking about, I use eBay.co.uk to do my eBay-ing and expand to doing European and Worldwide searches because whilst eBay.com yields more results, when you find out sellers don’t ship to your country, it’s a little crushing and frankly, I’m not about to beg random people to ‘Puuuur-leeeeease’ ship to the UK so I’ll stick to eBay.co.uk for the time being.

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I’ll cut to the chase and say that of course my reason for eBay-ing is to score designer stuff for cheapie prices.  Vintage/highstreet/misc finds are what come along the way but if we’re talking about the specific search list that I run through on a day to day basis, then yes, I am typing in Hussein Chalayan, Ann Demeulemeester, Balenciaga, Givenchy, Lanvin, Preen and the list goes on (insert your own list of favourite designers).  The good thing about you typing in a designer is that eBay will pick up on a similar ilk of designers under the search box and you could just go on clicking and clicking to your heart’s content.

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I don’t like to set size/price/colour/garment limitations on my searches because I like to see what is the entire availability and I ALWAYS ALWAYS set the search to Worldwide.  Yeah, you may have to fork out for the shipping (though I find that US shipping is far more forgiving than one would think… Royal Mail just like to inflate everything….), but the gems that you miss out on if you stick to just searching within the UK (who are far-less profilific in listing items)…. it gives me a lot to browse for.

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Ebay3 However, when a name like Marc Jacobs is yielding 4,064 results, then I might put my foot down and impose a ¬£30 maximum bid price.  In any case, I’m not likely to want to pay more for what are likely to be fakes.  Yes….the dreaded China/Hong Kong factory surplus stock that clogs up eBay searches.  I can’t really distinguish between the fakes and the genuine stuff especially when it comes to Marc by Marc Jacobs clothing.  To be honest, I’m not fussed either way because the clothing is so H&M-ish that I often dismiss most of it and not to get excited about bidding for it.  I’m not a fan but hey if you get it at the right price, a cute dress is a cute dress wherever it comes from.

An annoying feature of the different eBay country sites though is that if you narrow your search down to say Women’s Clothing, you quite often miss out on listings that aren’t listed in any of the UK-specific categories (this especially happens with European listings) so if you were searching for something with a lot of beauty/cosmetics listings like Givenchy, sometimes you do have to trawl through a lot of unwanted crap to get to the good stuff.

Gpughe Now are you seeing that basically I have no life because of this laborious eBay routine but what can I say?  I’m an addict…  It gets even more labour-intensive when you click the option to ‘Search title and description’.  I have triumphed with this awesome way of unearthing finds that aren’t designer but the seller is helpful enough to say something along the lines ‘This skirt is SOOOOO Prada AW07-8’ which means it’s not in fact a bit of tat but a bargainous nod to said designer.  This is especially useful when you search in the Vintage category as of course, so many vintage items do nod towards what’s going on today on the catwalks.  For example, searching for Gareth Pugh yields about 9 things that aren’t altogether very interesting but tick that little box and a stunner of a caped leather coat comes up that nods VERY heavily towards Pugh’s SS08 version.

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This is similar to the mispelt designer label that SOMETIMES works but more often than not, the item with a mispelt ‘Chanele’ is a bit of a duff.  This isn’t a search tactic I use that often.      

The ‘No pic’ mint is a little annoying.  Some person here hasn’t put up a picture to describe his/her ‘Ruby Red Dress in Style of Christopher Kane’.  Who knows why but I wouldn’t ignore it as someone who is saavy enough to describe the item like that might be holding onto a real look-alike so I would badger this seller for pics by emailing them.

If you clock a stash of designer bargains with no reserve prices, check what else that seller is selling and tag them as a favourite seller.  I quite often forget to do this and thus miss out on a lot of plum listings.  I have no idea what her eBay name is but a stylist from Paris was selling catwalk sample Galliano shoes, Lanvin two season-old dresses and skirts with NR with a lot of the stuff going for less than 100 euros.  I can’t for the life of me remember her damn eBay name sadly….   

The other long winded search method I like to run through especially in the Vintage section is for embellishments that I particularly like… for example… ‘large gems’, ‘pleated’, ‘leather’, ‘sheer’, ‘quilted’… this is especially fun on a grey/non-happening day.  I was being serious when I said that this is labour intensive….

So you’ve added a ton of items to your watch list (there used to be a limit as to how many you could add but I believe they have removed this for addicts such as myself…).  People always want to know how you actually nab them.  Yes, there are sniper sites that do the hard work for you but alas, I do it the hard way and watch all the items with eagle-eyes, setting alarms on my phone and my computer to remind me to watch them.  On occasion, if I’m out and about, I have even *hangs head in shame* called my sister up to get hr to bid on my behalf.  I like to think that the eBay packages that arrive at my office are hard-earned fruits of my intensive labour.  You probably will all disagree but it is a perverse attraction to watching the auction count down to the very last second and pressing the refresh button over and over again to check whether my final bid has been outbid or not, as my heart is beating incredibly fast.  As more people are getting increasingly clever at the whole eBay thing, there is no way round it but persistence.  You want that vintage Balenciaga dress?  Put some graft into it!   

What I will say though is I don’t pay EVER pay silly prices.  I know my limits and I’m a bit of a ball-buster when it comes to prices.  I feel like I’m getting ripped off if I end up paying over-the-top Topshop/Kurt Geiger prices for stuff.  So my scores have always been very frugal.  The bargains keep me hooked after all so if I did let go and went beserk in a bidding frenzy, for me, eBay would be a bit of a waste of time. 

Today’s bargainous finds…

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I have yet to calculate what percentage eBay-ed finds take up in my wardrobe but it’s certainly a good chunk and yes, by all means, call me sad/tragic but the for me it’s a worthwhile fashion-procuring hobby (though I am moving onto furniture buying on eBay…god help me!).   

A lot of Londoners got shopping-merry last night as it was the Carnaby Street (in conjunction with Grazia) late night shopping event offering 20% in a LOT of my favourite Carnaby stores (59 Broadwick Street, Dispensary and Concrete, together is my Carnaby fave trio…).  In other words, it was am awfully bad time to be experiencing a Susie Shopping Block.  A lot of people experience the same thing but I get it to the point of childish stubbornness.  Nothing catches my eye.  I pick up things with semi-interest only to put them down again after talking myself into thinking that I don’t ACTUALLY need that (if I was my normal self, I’d be doing the opposite and talking myself into thinking that yes, that item was an absolute necessity).  I walk around with a scowl and lament that there is NOTHING in the shops (this is course a fallacy but I’m in Susie Shopping Block mode and I don’t heed any words of reason…).  With my frustration increased, I then proceed to rifle through shops in desperation which finally culminates in me storming off to find a nice decent meal to appease me instead (last night, it was grilled lamb cutlets with aubergine and tomato and  potato dauphinoise). 

I’m glad one street in London has got it right with the Christmas lights… love the subtle reflective qualities of the ‘paper’ chains.

It was also the opening of the Soho branch of the Spitalfields store Hurwundeki.  Sushi and champagne all round.  Rather than looking at the stores’ wares, I got a little obsessed with this lady’s animal print dress that is ever so pretty (as opposed to being rooooar!)

At 22 Carnaby Street (aka Swear shoes), the block got even more irritating when the boyf scooped a lovely Peoples Market tuxedo jacket and grey casual shirt.  ‘What the hell is wrong with me’ was what I was thinking.  At Beyond the Valley, one of the cutest-stocked stores in London, I just looked at things with a rather non plussed glazed look in my eye. 

Surely at Kingly Court where there are stores like Sam Greenberg, Twinkled, Tashi, Black Pearl, Love Vintage and Harriet’s Muse to tempt me, something would come to me!  Nope…nada…zilch…. save for the free cup of mulled wine that made me feel a bit queasy….

American Apparel was the last pitstop that should have yielded something but by that time, I was hungry, a little ill and well into the advance stages of Susie’s Shopping Block.  As my peevish antics are well over, I do hope lots of you people who were there last night got a lot of joy out of their 20% shopping. 

Like Fashionologie, I too was counting down the days until the special guest-edited issue of Vogue Paris would be coming out especially as the guest-editor in question is Charlotte Gainsbourg.  An interesting choice because though she is a muse to Nicholas Ghesquiere and is the face of Gerard Darel, she doesn’t strike me as a ‘fashionista’ or perhaps, there lies the beauty of letting her loose on the magazine.  I haven’t gotten hold of the issue but having seen these scans…well I now know what will be weighing me down when I come back from Paris on Sunday and what I’ll be holed up with a cup of tea   

‘La Science du R√™ve’ (a word play on the ‘Everyone-must-watch-at-least-one-because-it’s-so-fantastically-brilliant’ film Les Sciences du R√™ve – The Science of Sleep which Gainsbourg starred in last year), shot by Craig McDean has Charlotte Gainsborg in the new season’s artful, fantasy dresses as styled by Carine Roitfeld.  Despite my slight ‘Meh’ towards Prada’s footwear, I must say everything has been used to stunning effect here.  There’s a also a quiet seductiveness in the way Charlotte poses along with the help of the tastefully sexy Sabbia Rose hoisery that makes the images even more alluring. 

I like black.  I like shiny.  I like shiny black.  Wet-look black in the right hands is superb and with fabrics like PE, latex and PVC being taken hold of not just by designer but by the high street, the results by and large have been A-ok.  It’s the sort of aesthetic that would take most high street stores/labels just a leeeeetle bit out of their comfort zone.  For example, American Apparel’s black latex leggings in comparison to the rest of their cotton stock stuck out a little.  Topshop’s PE skirt sold out in a flash.  They’re risk items that are likely to cause a bit of fuss and so the stores have made a correct estimation of just how latched onto the ‘shiny black’ trend people are (I may be speaking from a purely UK-centric point of view here….). 

However, Pinko have taken hold of shiny black and I just don’t know what to make of the results.  It takes a lot of strength to blank out the Sarah Harding (Girls Aloud)-esque model (courtesy of ASOS…) and posing and see the dresses out of context.  There are aspects of them that remind me of Hannah Marshall’s work which of course is far superior in quality and in execution.  The black leather, wet look satin, ruching and body-con shapes should all be enticing but something is falling short.  The pleated detail cap sleeved dress is especially intriguing as it almost looks industrial with its oozing black tar look, yet something is just not quite right.  Perhaps the trend got the better of Pinko and they just simply ran away with it too far.  Plus, dresses that have an indescribable failing, definitely falls shorter when you see the prices…. (¬£200?!)

I may be attracted to all things black and shiny but there I do cast things with a critical eye as well.