Raise your hand if you've returned clothes you've bought too many times online! Whether the items weren't the right size or just didn't fit right, we've all had to print return labels at least once in our online lives. In fact, half of all online clothing purchases are returned, with poor fit being the main reason.
While shopping with a mouse click or phone app is a handy time saver, finding the right fit for your body can be frustrating and difficult; especially if you're looking online for a brand of clothing you've never worn before. With a few tips from famed fashion stylist Erin el, you can add your favorite clothes to your cart with confidence and make returns a thing of the past.
Photo by Nick Morrison on Unsplash
Shopping with a plan
Aimless online shopping on the couch over a warm cup of coffee can be fun, but the first step to a successful online shopping experience is to shop with an idea of what you're looking for.
"With all the different cuts and styles of clothing available today -- including athletic apparel -- online shopping can be more fun or more confusing, depending on who you're talking to," says ël.
Know what you are looking for in advance
"Spend a few minutes on Pinterest and Instagram and look for images that resonate with you, put them in a folder on your phone or computer and make a list of what you're looking for," advises el. This will narrow down your hunt and make the search much easier.”
She adds: "Then, when shopping online, you can use keywords like 'cropped black pants' or 'mid-calf leggings' in the search bar to curate selections based on what you're looking for, rather than scrolling through several." sides with black pants/leggings.”
Google Shopping and ShopStyle are great resources as they offer a variety of options from different brands so you can easily find what you are looking for.
Dimensions are everything when shopping online
It's easy to get your height and weight, but having more detailed measurements like inseam, inseam, and sleeve length handy can help you figure out which size will work best for you. "Knowing your measurements is key to shopping online," says el, as it's the easiest way to find your right fit. This means the chances of having to return your items are drastically reduced.
"The sizing chart for each brand is the best way to determine which size is right for you," says el, and if the brand you're shopping from doesn't happen to have a sizing chart (they most likely will). Don't worry, Google has a variety of sizing guides to pull from.
How and where to measure:
Here are the sizes you need to know:
raise: Measures from crotch to waistband
Inseam: Measures from crotch to floor (without shoes)
waist, hips, sleeve length: Apply standard measurements
Take the guesswork out of shopping for leggings and jeans
"For workout leggings, measure your inseam to know which length is best for you, but also don't be afraid to tailor leggings you love to get the right inseam," el recommends.
When shopping for jeans, el recommends buying a few sizes from different brands, especially if you're trying out a new style.
"In general, your waist measurement and inseam are key to buying your jeans," she says.
For men, el finds that slim/straight styles are universally flattering and on-trend, and if your legs are on the thicker side, she recommends a straight-leg style. "You can always adjust the bottom of the jeans to make them slimmer/thinner if needed," says ël.
Read the reviews - they can actually help
Customer reviews are your most trusted friend when it comes to online shopping as they give you an up close and personal look at true size and material quality; and pictures are often provided with the rating as well. This is one of the most valuable resources any online shopper has. If the brand does not match your size, you can order accordingly without going to the post office for another return. Don't be afraid to leave a review too and help others have an easier online shopping experience.
Photo by Freestocks on Unsplash
There are more online shopping tips from el
1. They may not be one size for everyone, so always check the size chart before ordering. A size 8 for one brand may not be the same size 8 for another. When a brand mentions their clothes run small, trust them and order.
2. Don't get discouraged if something doesn't work out, just like trying it on in a store, it may not always work online either. Ordering multiple options can make this process easier and less disappointing when something doesn't work. There are many websites that offer free returns, which simplifies the returns process.
3. Some online retailers offer free digital styling. Benefit from an expert to help you with your online shopping. Having a second set of eyes on a look can make all the difference, and chances are you'll try something out of the ordinary and love it!
4. For women, it's generally best if you're petite (5'4' and under) to buy pants from a petite seller, otherwise you might get stuck with flared pants that no longer has a bell as soon as you hem the trousers or the sleeves are completely too long and the proportions are wrong.
5. Remember that clothes are mass produced and finding the perfect fit sometimes works off the shelf, but it's okay if you have to make a trip to the dry cleaner to get the right inseam.
Online shopping doesn't have to be stressful. With a good set of measurements and a plan, you are just a click away from successful shopping!