Tips For Shopping Online
It never fails. When I have money or need to find an outfit for an event or dinner, I shop for hours on end and arrive home at the end of the day still clutching my purse and trying my best to let go of the crankiness that comes with not being able to find what I was looking for. Of course, when I just cannot spend a penny, I find at least 8 million dollars worth of stuff that I want to buy. Ok, maybe that's an exaggeration, but you get the gist.
A couple of years ago I tried shopping online for clothing, and I've never turned back. There are so many options out there that you are bound to find something you like. Not to mention - shopping online is perfect for busy moms who sometimes find themselves shopping at, oh, let's say...1 am? Until recently I hadn't realized that a lot of women still haven't tried shopping for clothing online - so I wanted to encourage you and give you some tips to get started. So, without further ado:
1) Know Your Measurements. Pick up one of those soft measuring tapes that your seamstress uses and take your measurements. If you lose or gain a few pounds, do it again. Write it down and keep it handy - you have the best chance of ordering clothing that fits properly if you know your measurements. Try writing down measurements for your bust, waist, hips, arm length, inseam, and thighs. It's also good to know the distance from your shoulders to a reasonable hemline, and from your waist to a reasonable hemline - very useful for ordering dresses and skirts.
2) Read The Sizing Charts. When you're physically in a store and things are sized as small, medium or large, you can just pick up your usual size and try it on. If one item in that size fits, most of the other items will as well. Online shopping doesn't usually work like that. One of my favorite online stores, ModCloth, carries a ton of different designers - so that means someone's definition of a small is almost definitely different than the next. It also means that you can't just order the same size across the board from their site - you have to pay attention to the sizing charts. For me, being 5'8", one of the most important things I can check is the length of a dress before I buy it. Otherwise, I end up looking like I purchased a long top and forgot to wear pants...which is so not cool.
3) Know Your Body Type. You've been shopping for clothes your entire life - by now you know there are some cuts and looks that just don't flatter you or do you justice. Online shopping is not the time to branch out, necessarily. Evaluate a new look by enlarging the picture, checking out the material and cut, and deciding if it is something that you know you can wear or not. If you're iffy on it, that's your call, but be prepared to return it if you aren't satisfied. However, shopping online and purchasing looks that you know will flatter your body will generally result in a much higher percentage of successful purchases!
4) Be Prepared To Return It. Sometimes even the most carefully considered purchases just don't work out for whatever reason. Shopping online does have a higher margin of risk for return, simply because you can't see the item in person and you can't try it on. Read the store's return policy carefully and be sure to try on your items within the specified timeline for return, just in case. Also, if it doesn't fit, send it back! Shopping online will cost you loads of extra money if you just let your purchases collect dust in the corner. My best advice is to promptly try on items, decide what you will keep, and box up items for return.
5) Read The Reviews. Lots of online shopping destinations now include reviews for individual items, so you can see if people are saying the item runs a little small, or perhaps that the skirt you loved had a bit more of a sheen to it than you can see from the picture. These reviews can be infinitely helpful in deciding what items to purchase, and can make or break your final decision.
When it comes down to it, there are lots of items out there on the internet that you would never find in a local store or even a department store. Don't be afraid to be a bit adventurous and go exploring! Be sure to let me know what you find!