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Mar 19, 2007
Mar 19, 2007
GUESS.com - great shopping!
GUESS has a long history of providing innovative, classic, and contemporary fashion since their first emergence in the American market in 1981. Having long left the days of their first pairs of designer jeans sold in Bloomingdale's of New York, GUESS sets itself apart from the cookie-cutter pervasion of tired and uninspired looks. Hardly content with big, bold self-promotional pieces, GUESS blends a number of styles and influences to create hip, designer fashions for men and women.
GUESS.com provides perhaps one of the most seamless immersions of their model advertising into their web layout. While the opening portal page sports the classical beauty of models Marcus and Tatiana, subsequent pages feature close-up black-and-white shots of their spring and summer collections. The current season takes strong inspiration from both nautical craftsmanship and nostalgic beachcombing. Patterns and textures most prominent in the photography include, but are not limited to polka dots, thin striping, high contrast color, shorter cuts, processed fabrics and lengthly necklaces and accessories. To be sure, these elements are perhaps more prominent in the photography as opposed to the more diffuse stylings available in the current collection.
The GUESS website features a tabular design with minimal use of space. The breadth of the page spans no more than a 600 by 480 pixel range and is centered against a black background. Navigation among pages is heavily dominated with a mouse-over arrangement. Point your mouse to one of the top departmental links (e.g. Women, Men, Accessories) and child pop-ups will direct you to specific areas (e.g. Tops, Jeans, Sweaters, etc.).
Manual links -- or links that require a click and a subsequent page load -- are relegated to customer service, customer self-awareness, and order processing information. These appear on the upper right of the page. The bottom left features order tracking, gift card purchases, company information, and portals to other GUESS affiliate sites. GUESS has since removed the links to their chain of Guess Factory stores in an effort to differentiate the content and the fashion groups.
After finding your department of choice and clicking on it, the following screens will showcase as much as ten items of interest per page. The pictures are delightfully crisp and clear. Clicking on them will show a larger photo of the article of clothing of interest in its own pop-up window. The clothing description, available colors and swatches, a selection of sizes and a price will appear to the right of it. Click "Add to Bag" to add it to the shopping list, or "Save to Wishlist" if you want to save the article for a future purchase. The process is very organized and pages load quickly in transition.
The general trend is that GUESS fashions fit smaller and tighter compared to other clothing retailers. GUESS fashions generally feature streamlined stitching designs and fitted contours to their fabrics. Many articles are made with pure cotton and will shrink in hot water washing and drying. Please follow care guidelines on the labels for best results.
With regard to jeans, GUESS jeans feature longer than standard inseams especially in the women's collection. The average women's inseam measures approximately 33 inches. Men's inseams range from 30 to 34 inches. Even the men's inseams feature some slight level of elongated exaggeration as GUESS jeans even with a regular inseam unproblematically fit rather tall men. Men's jeans also feature staggered inseams, in that the inseam size slightly increases as the waist size increases. Some jeans are constructed with a stretch capability that, as with wear, the thighs and seat can expand up to an additional inch. To maintain good sizing (not to mention color and wash), wash jeans in cold water in milder detergents and dry with air or low heat settings.
As with any unfortunate online situation, you're limited to trusting your best guesses with size -- at first anyway. Once you establish your best sizing (and the size guide isn't that bad for it), you can pretty much learn how GUESS clothes will fit.
Price Ranges and Fashions of Choice
Be aware that the GUESS label is pricier than most department stores and retail outlets. I window-shop in my local mall and most articles range between $6 and $20 per piece. That's "low-end." GUESS carries a much higher price point. Shirts and tank tops on average cost between $26 and $44. Jeans start at $79 and top out at $168. Women's shoes start at $50. Belts and accessories range between $20 and $45. GUESS generally rejects the notion of sale and clearance events (except during end-of-year holidays) as it detracts from the quality and the craftsmanship of their clothing line.
For the most part, I would agree that GUESS articles are well worth the money. Only one sweater of mine and a necklace show signs of damage over time, compared to roughly half of my wardrobe consisting of GUESS shirts and jeans. You're paying for premium cotton, premium denim, and highly stylized accents (e.g. stitching components, stitch design, colors and washes). With regret, the only thing that gets old about the collection overall is that, at least in the guys' fashions, the same design elements show up in piece after piece after piece. They feel uninspired and droll at times. I can handle only so many prints with Cyrilic or Japanese writing, but my solution is to simply avoid those pieces and shop something else in my size.
The good news is that there's still a lot to shop. The site definitely features seasonal fashions, but you have a lot to choose from. In addition, both men's and women's fashions break off into different sets of looks. The current season features swim wear, cropped tops, woven fabrics, skirts of various lengths, a wide range of shoe styles, and some sporty and sophisticated looks. Men can either go the vintage, rocker sport, or dressier button-down styles, which all mix and match well with jeans and linen pants.
The only drawback is that, as I'm a smaller guy, it's hard to shop for stuff in my size. I wear small shirts and my jeans vary between 28 x 32 and 30 x 32. Not for want of selection, these sizes can disappear quickly. (It seems that other small-framed guys prefer the fashions, too.)
Orders are processed quickly and efficiently. Only a few clicks are required to purchase products, determine shipping options, and finalize orders. GUESS will only ask to enter credit card and shipping information once. If you register for an account, all information is saved and kept secure, and becomes available for quicker transactions. Orders placed feature tracking and e-mail confirmation.
To date, my shipments have always arrived in a timely fashion. My orders are accurate and fulfilled correctly. The merchandise I receive in shipment does not deviate from what I see on screen, though some colors aren't quite on target. I guess screen monitors are helplessly limited in that capacity.
If you don't mind getting e-mails, the site's concierge services are helpful. You can get e-mail reminders for certain events you specify on the site. You can also sign up for seasonal e-mails and current event specials. Perhaps the best deal is for people who regularly shop at the site as Friends and Family promotional events occur at specific times of the year. The promotion adds a 30% discount on full-priced merchandise during specific days and time periods. E-mails are transmitted every few weeks, most of which deserve little more than a quick glance.
Portability to Store
I'm glad that the associates and management at the stores are friendly, receptive, and knowledgeable of GUESS fashions. While all shipments include return labels, I can just to the local GUESS store if I'm dissatisfied with an order, make exchanges and refunds with the printed receipt from the e-mail, and continue spending there. Online shopping is preferable in some instances as the local store demonstrates depleted or hard-to-find or unavailable stock. Also unfortunate is the inability to see something online and instantly find it in the store. The names of the articles aren't always readily apparent (aside from the brands/styles of jeans), so you'll have to do some searching in that case, too.
I really enjoy the store and the looks and I'm willing to pay for them. Before shopping here, I was really indifferent about fashion. Although the attitude is commendable as I didn't catch myself obsessing about the current trends and the celebrities and that spectrum of interest anyway, I could have stood to dress better. GUESS clothes are wonderful because they fit my frame and complement me. Needless to say, if you feel good about what you wear and you like to stay faithful to the brand, there's something good going on.
Give it a try, especially if you're small-framed and want to feel fitted properly.