Fun fact, I came from a small town where my only options for fashion were Aeropostale and JCPenney. So to say online shopping opened up a whole new world for me is an understatement. But like most women I was easily catfished. Between strategic modeling and fancy photography, and sometimes just plain old deception, buying clothes online can be quite the challenge for many. While some have sworn off of it for good, I’m here to help those of you who see the potential! So keep reading for my tips on buying clothes online that will actually look good on you.
- Don’t buy from stores that don’t offer free returns. I stand very firmly behind this rule for many reasons. The biggest being that we as humans often take the route of least resistance. So if you have to go through the trouble of repacking, going to the post office, and paying for a return then odds are the piece is just going to sit in your closet, unworn, instead. Another reason I’m a big advocate for this rule is because if a company truly stands behind their products and cares about customer satisfaction they will have no problem paying for you to return a piece so someone else can buy it. The only exception to this rule is if you happen to live near a brick and mortar store and are buying something you can easily return there.
- If it looks bad on the model, it will probably look bad on you. This may not always be the case, but 9 times out of 10 if the model isn’t rocking it in a way that you like then you may have an even harder time doing so. Since models have such a specific body type anyone who doesn’t have a similar type, which is pretty much all of us, has to be extra critical.
- Look at the clothes from all angles and in motion if it’s an option. The reason I love ASOS so much is because they offer a catwalk view so you can see the item in motion. This makes it harder for them to hide how a garment might really fit. If the site you’re buying from online doesn’t offer that make sure to look at every photo to get a better idea of how the piece might look.
- Pay attention to the model’s poses. If there isn’t a picture where you can clearly see the front, side and back of an item the company may be trying to hide something. I find this is usually the case with looser garments. A model may hold their arms a certain way to make the piece look like it highlights their figure when it really hangs like a potato sack.
- Carefully read the description. There have been many times when people get an item and are upset with the material or the fit. All stores will include what the item is made from. If you don’t know what that material feels like, head to a store and try to find something made from the same thing. Also many stores will include information on if the item runs true to size, smaller or bigger. So take some extra time to read the fine print.
- Use the size guide and be honest about your size. I’m surprised by how many people don’t look at the size guide when buying clothes online. Hopefully by now we all know that sizes are not the same from store to store or even within the same store. Always look at the size guide for a reference point. Equally as important is knowing your measurements and being honest with yourself. There are somethings I can fit in size small while others I’m a large. Remember these sizes are really don’t mean shxt, what’s important is how the clothes fit your body not what the number says! So be honest and buy the size that will fit you comfortably.
- Read the reviews. If reviews are available read them! This has saved me time and time again while I’m online shopping. People will let you know if the quality is good or bad and sometimes will even give you helpful styling advice. Customers will also let you know if something is true to size or not.
- When it doubt size up. The reason I say this is because it’s easier to get clothes taken in than let out. You want the clothes to fit the widest part of your body then have it tailored everywhere else. Trust me, you’ll thank yourself later!
- Be open minded. One of the joys of buying clothes online is it allows us the convenience of trying items on in the comfort of our homes. This means you can try pieces that you might not try otherwise. On occasion I will try a piece that speaks to me yet is a little out of the norm for my style. By experimenting I push myself beyond my comfort zone and really hone my style.
- Return anything that doesn’t work for you. Even if that means driving to the post office or paying for return shipping! I am begging you, don’t let your money waste away in the back of your closet never to be worn. You work too hard for that. If your online purchase doesn’t work out schedule a time to return it. Because trying to resell clothes, even if they are unworn is such a hassle!
Buying clothes online can seem daunting but it’s a definitely worth trying especially for those looking to get the best deals. Personally I shop online before even setting foot into a store. By doing this I spend less time in the store, can keep an eye on a piece for when it goes on sale and save money by avoiding impulse purchases. If you’re still hesitant start small. Buy jewelry, purses or hats. Once you get more comfortable with a brand you’ll branch out to clothing.
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**Photos by Jordan Bowens