You probably don’t hesitate to use the internet to save big money on things like electronics, appliances, books, and home furnishings; but when it comes to clothing, you’re probably a little more iffy about clicking on that order button.
Your concerns are warranted. Unlike electronics and books and the like which come in one size for all people, you need to tailor your body coverings so that they fit your body and don’t leave any bits peeking out. That’s the exact reason why clothing stores have fitting rooms. And even though there are standard size scales for just about every type of clothing, you know as well as I do that one store’s medium could be another store’s small.
Given this problem, how is someone supposed to shop online for clothes? You can’t just print out that skirt you’re thinking about buying and try it on before ordering. In fact, you’ll have no idea exactly how that item will look on you until it arrives in the mail after you’ve paid for it. Sure, most online retailers allow returns and exchanges for articles that don’t fit, and some will even let you return the item to one of their brick-and-mortar stores; but that’s probably more hassle than it’s worth to save a couple of bucks over in-store prices.
Nonetheless, you can better prepare yourself for online clothes shopping if you follow a few simple rules that will help you decide on the right style and size for an outfit you won’t be able to try on before buying.
- Get accurate measurements. While having a friend measure you may be quick and convenient, you’ll want to get a professional clothier to take them if you’re planning to shop for clothes online. There are five measurements you’ll need: bust, hips, arms, waist, and inseam.
- Determine your size in their brick-and-mortar stores. If an online store also has a shop set up in your neighborhood, you can stop by there and see what size typically fits you best in the clothes they sell. For the most part, you can assume that a large shirt that fits you in store will be the same large shirt you’ll receive from ordering online, but you should still…
- Do some research. Most online apparel vendors will provide sizing charts to help you match your measurements to their sizes. Poke around their websites and you should find them pretty easily. If you don’t, you’ll probably want to shop somewhere else.
- Try it on a virtual person. A growing number of online retailers participate in My Virtual Model, a program that allows you to display an outfit on a computer-generated model to see what it looks like being worn.
- Buy two, gift one free. You see an outfit you’d really like to buy from an online retailer, and it’s a terrific deal that you don’t want to pass up, but you’re not sure if you should purchase a size 6 or a size 8. Assuming both sizes are available, buy one of each and give the one that doesn’t end up fitting you to a friend. This tip works great for guys, too; look for deals on dress shirts and you could even sell the ones that don’t fit to friends or co-workers.
Just as you would when you purchase clothes in a store, be sure to inspect each item when it arrives so you can spot any damage or defects before you remove the tags and wear it.
You can get some great deals on quality clothing from Amazon.com’s Apparel Department.