10 Tips and Tricks for Buying Clothes Online

Shopping online definitely has its benefits — no need to wait in line, leave the house or even change out of your pajamas. And while it comes with a lengthy list of pros, it can have a few drawbacks too… like those killer jeans arriving three sizes too small. To save yourself time and aggravation (think: no returns or nasty surprises), read up on our 10 quick tips for online shopping. Use these the next time you go on a shopping spree, and you won’t be disappointed with your order.

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1. Know your measurements. By now, we all know that sizes vary depending on the brand and even the batch the products were made in. This is easily navigated in-store by taking a quick trip to the dressing room, but with online shopping, you don’t have that luxury. Unless the store you’re buying from uses True Fit, you’re going to need to whip out the ‘ol measuring tape and take note of your bust, waist, hips and inseam. Not sure where to begin? Check out this guide or head to your local tailor or seamstress and have them do it for you. This ensures that you’ll get the most accurate measurements possible.

2. Check the size charts. Before you head to the virtual checkout, see how your handy new measurements stand up to the site’s size chart to help determine what you should actually be ordering. If you’re shopping on websites like ASOS, Net-a-Porter or Shopbop that carry multiple brands, you’ll need to dig a little deeper.
Taking a glance at the size chart on the designer’s own website before buying isn’t a bad idea, since the ones used by online shopping sites are more of a general guideline for everything on their site. So even though the online shopping site’s chart says you should order your jeans in a size eight, the company might recommend going up to a 10. Another thing you might want to look at is the size the model is wearing. Her height can sometimes give you an idea of how long or short a piece actually is.

3. Read the reviews. Customer reviews are extremely valuable pieces of info, since they give you real perspective on the piece you’re considering. Scan for comments touching on size, fit and quality of material to get a better idea of whether an item fits true to size, or if you’ll need to size up or down. While the piece may look on point in the photo, it might end up being tight in the bust and awkwardly loose through the hips, or any other less-than-fab combination.

4. Research materials. The feel of a material is just as important as the size. There’s nothing worse than finally receiving that dress you’ve been eying for months, only to find that the fabric feels like sandpaper. Since you can’t touch the fabric and often can’t distinguish what the texture of a piece is like just by looking at a photo, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with the fabric content. Go through your closet and find the pieces that you love the most, as well as anything that feels itchy, stuffy or uncomfortable. Make note of their material compositions and use it as a reference point when shopping online. If you know you hate polyester and that top you’re about to buy is all about it, you’ll know it’s better to take a pass.

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