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Shopping Tips

Reformation: The Future of Shopping Is Now

Readers who hate shopping, this post is for you. I’m about to tell you about the best shopping experience I’ve ever had.

Earlier this week, I spent two days in LA for vacation with my boyfriend. Considering I had spent the week in 4 different states (Kentucky for a wedding last weekend, then NY for work, and home in DC), I was already having fun comparing how culturally different the fashion is in each part of the country. In this vein, I decided to visit the most “LA” of boutiques to get a sense of what was trending on the west coast. As an aside, do you want to know what the hottest piece was in each boutique? Vintage t-shirts. Stained, sweaty, holey, graphic t-shirts were being sold for $70-200. It was…an interesting way to spend money I suppose. This one was on the cheaper side, around $70. I’m not going to lie, I really did want it. But definitely not that bad. Graphic tees were a hot thing on the spring 2019 runways, so maybe I’ll spend my money on a new, unworn tee next season.

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As I was doing my fashion research, I spent half of a day strolling two miles down Melrose Avenue and popping into every interesting boutique. Melrose is home to both Reformation Vintage, whose collection of vintage t-shirts could not be beat (and was even featured in one of RLS’s first ever blog posts…), and Reformation, an eco-friendly trendy clothing brand we recently wrote about in our sustainable clothing guide. I described Reformation in that blog post as a brand with “a cool, LA early 20’s girl vibe,” so I knew that it would be a great stop for my research. I had also read about their high-tech fitting rooms, and was ready to experience them for myself.

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The store is beautiful and minimalist. Each piece on the floor is a sample, so you can see what they have in stock. I browsed the sample racks for just a few minutes before I moved to a long desk with four iPads. The iPad app was set up like their website, but instead of being able to add the items to your “cart,” you add items to your fitting room. I knew I had been wanting to try their jeans for a long time, so I added 6 or 7 pairs to my fitting room along with a few tops (it’s worth noting that everything I wanted to try on was available in most sizes, so they were not limited on inventory). I felt silly having 10 items, but apparently you can add up to 20. Once you’re done choosing what you’d like to try on, you press a button to indicate that you’re ready.

Then you relax near the fitting rooms while they pull your choices. Neither you nor the sales associate are running around the floor looking for sizes, piling things up in your arms. This is the crazy part: all the inventory moves from the back of the store into the fitting room through the two-way wardrobes that are accessible from both the back and the front. It’s so clean and easy. Even more glorious, when you start trying on and realize you need another size, you don’t have to tip-toe out of the room in your socks into the store, waving for your sales associate to help you. There is another iPad in the dressing room that allows you to choose new styles or add new sizes to your dressing room. You close the wardrobe doors, the person accesses it from behind and adds your new items, and then the iPad announces that your pieces are now available in the wardrobe. IT WAS PHENOMENAL. It was basically an introvert’s dream come true, never having to deal with a pushy salesperson. You can even change the dressing room lighting from cool to warm, bright to dim, and plug in your phone and play your own music.

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At the end of the super quick shopping experience, I chose a great pair of jeans and a (non-vintage, brand new) t-shirt. Ringing up was about the only interaction I had with an actual human. She swiped my card and I was on my way. See my purchases below!

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Reformation Stretch Flood Jean, $118

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Reformation Joplin Relaxed Tee, $38

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This is how I envision retail stores surviving. Reformation brilliantly combines the benefits of an online shopping experience with the benefits of shopping in the store. And as an added bonus, they just opened a store on M St in Georgetown! If any of our readers decide to try this out for themselves, please report back and let us know what you think!

Happy Shopping,

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You can find Kyle Dunphy and Real Life Style on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram.

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