Online shopping is becoming a bigger and bigger thing for people to do. It’s something that takes a bit of skill and knowledge to make it work well.
4 Essentials You Need to Know Before You Shop Online
- Know your body shape and body proportions and what works for you (you can do my free body shape calculator quiz here too if you’re not sure of your shape)
- Know your style preferences, what details you like
- Know the colours that suit you
- Know your measurements (waist, hips, bust etc). you can then compare these to the measurements on the website. It’s also worth measuring some of your favourite clothing to see what is comfortable for you too.
The more ‘standard’ your sizing, the easier you will find online shopping. If you find shopping relatively easy in store, then online shopping is less of a risk, but if you’re one of the many women who have to try on 300 pairs of trousers to find 1 that fits, you’ll find it just as hard to shop online.
Audi at Fashion for Nerds has written a useful guide that’s worth reading.
If you are lucky enough to live in a country where there is free shipping, then take advantage, order lots of sizes and styles, send back what doesn’t work, and if none of it works, send the LOT back!
Otherwise, it’s worth, where possible, going into a bricks-and-mortar store, trying on the brand to see if it works for your body and what your general sizing is, and then thinking about ordering from the website, once you have a feel for the cut.
You may find that part of you is more standard, and easier to buy for, for instance, I’ll buy shoes, skirts, bags and jewellery online, but never pants or tops/jackets, as these I find way harder to fit, and I really need to try them on.
The more you know about your body shape, colouring, personality preferences and the kinds of fabrics that work for you, the better your online choices will be. This is why doing a program like 7 Steps to Style is such a great investment, as it gives you the knowledge and empowers you to make the best choices possible for you.
Have you had great experiences buying online? If so where?
Have you had terrible experiences? If so what happened?
More Tips for Successful Online Shopping
Yes, I do at least 80% of my shopping online. I can't tell you how much I hate going into store dressing rooms and trying to find somewhere to hang my purse and put my clothes and navigate in a tiny space… So much better to try things on at home or in a hotel room, when i can have space and time and can put on different pairs of my shoes to see how things look.
The few pieces of clothes I´ve ordered, went back. To get the right size, is very difficult. What looks good in a picture, in real life might be totally different. I have shopped at NAP, Mytheresa, Luisaviaroma and Raffaello. The ones I´ve kept were a pair of Prada boots from Raffaello and an YSL bag from Mytheresa. These were ok. Then again, I had seen the boots in person before and I know pretty well the quality of YSL, which is my favorite brand in bags. I think I´ve done my share of online shopping, and in general, I would not recommend it, unless you know exactly what you are to receive.
I tend to buy things online by brands/designers that I know suit my body shape and sizing will not be a problem for me without trying on. I love Charlie Brown dresses in particular and will stalk various sites to find a perfect dress. Ironically today I received a special parcel in the mail from birdsnest.com.au – have never bought from them before but enclosed was a lovely handwritten note from the owners saying what a great choice and they know I will look gorgeous in it! Lucky for them it did look great on but it was such a nice touch adding a personal note and one that makes me want to support their little online business even more. Another great feature from the Birdsnest site is that each clothing has an explanation on whether what bodyshape the item will suit (eg.small waists, big hips, large breasts etc…so this really helps ensure that even though it is online you get an idea if it will in fact suit your shape.
I do nearly all of my shopping online and generally love it. My biggest pet peeve is stores that handle returns badly – poor communication and weeks and weeks until the money gets refunded. Spiegel and Belk are both guilty of this.
I buy from sweaters from J Crew and Eric Bompard with excellent results. Having things come to the door is fun, except I have to remind myself this is not a gift!
Before I had the twins, I loved browsing stores even if I didn't buy anything. With 3 kids under 3 that's become impossible. I'm so glad I live in the internet age! And when I get a break to hit the stores by myself it's just that much sweeter.
Thanks for the mention! I order online a lot, and have had mostly good luck — but there have definitely been issues with size and fit along the way. I'm with Sal in finding poor return policies to be the biggest annoyance.
I've done a lot of shopping online, but am trying to cut back because it's too easy to keep ordering "more of the same."
My recommendation: get yourself on retailers' e-mail lists for promotions, sales. Some retailers offer special discounts for online purchases, or free shipping. I hardly *ever* pay for shipping, and as I often return items to stores in person when I can, don't pay for return shipping either. Some companies like zappos.com offer free shipping both ways in the US, so trying items is risk-free.
An illustration why online shopping is so tricky. Yesterday I tried on a shirt in 3 colors. Pink and blue fit fine: white was just a hair too tight -and all 3 the same size! I still need a white shirt, so I shall check other branches to find one that fits correctly.
I'm petite size S(6-8), and the local stores have lousy petite departments. Also, I have to wear wide width shoes, which are not available at local stores. Because of this, I shop for clothing and shoes online. Ironically, the local stores that don't carry a decent selection at the brick-and-mortar stores DO carry a large selection of petite clothing at their online websites. I know my body type and measurements, and I know a lot about fabrics and care (my mother was a professional seamstress), and I know which brands suit me. In the unlikely event that I order something that doesn't fit, I make sure to buy from merchants that have excellent return policies. My favorite merchants are Zappos.com (for shoes), Coldwater Creek, and J.C. Penney, and Banana Republic.
Shopping online is the best way to avoid careless purchases. I favor certain designers and after doing the EYS and working through 7 Steps, I have really honed my style. I know what works, what I will wear, and what I admire, but will never wear. Looking at the piece takes time…weeks sometimes. Other times, I know immediately. I always shopped at Neiman Marcus, Anthropologie, and Toast (U.K.). I would collect items for consideration and put them in my shopping cart or wish list. Then, I think about them for awhile. A few items, I would purchase if it was a critical piece that would expand the use of other items. I work in color columns and the piece has to work with at least 2 or 3 different outfits. I look at the measurements provided by the stores and read the reviews of other customers if available. Most items wait in the wish list until the sales come around. If it is still there at the end of the season, that is when I usually make my purchase.
Lately, I have been shopping at the REAL REAL. I believe you introduced this high end consignment store based in San Francisco, CA. It is fabulous. I have consigned items and purchased items. It is more of a buyer’s market and I have scored some amazing items. I know what works for me and I really think about how the item will fit into my current wardrobe. I have had a couple of fast purchases as the item was beyond fabulous, my style, and the right price. The Real Real’s wish list is titled, Obsessions. You can “heart” your favorite items and it will be stored under your Obsession list. When the item goes on sale, a notice will be posted to your inbox. I just scored a Marni cashmere and silk top ..new with tags…from the fall 2014 collection. It is still being sold in stores for 1230.00 dollars ( I checked)…I picked it up for 160.00. It was sitting in my Obsessions list and there was a 50% price drop…from 295.99…amazing deals.
Know your measurements, know your style, know what you will wear, and have a plan to wear it with at least 3 different outfits. Power pause (unless you just know the second you see it and the deal is good) and put it in your wish list. Know that there will always me something fabulous to buy and if it makes it to the sales and all the boxes are ticked..go for it.
I find ASOS to be amazing. $39 for a VIP member per year which is for express shipping and free returns. I have bought there so much there that I am pretty good at guessing the right size, and they have a catwalk video so you can see how a size 8 fits on a model. I know that in general I am a UK size 8 to 10 in regular fit, size 12 in bodycon fit and size 4 in relaxed fit. And the return service is pretty good too. I have snapped up some real bargains.