It’s the 21st century and not only millennials love to shop clothes online. In fact,in the UK alone an astonishing 87% of online users have bought at least one product online in the fiscal year 2016/2017! With so much money being exchanged online one might wonder about the best way to approach online apparel shopping. Don’t you worry, I got you covered! Here are my Top 10 tips for how to successfully shop clothes online!
Check their return and refund policy
This is my first tip and maybe even one of the most important ones if you want to buy apparel online. And while obvious, this point often gets forgotten in the heat of the moment. But shopping in an online store that offers free returns and refunds can save you a pretty penny, especially if you order from abroad (think “Amazon” or if you live in a European country or the US/Canada).
I personally do not shop in online stores anymore that do not offer free returns and refunds unless I am absolutely confident I will keep the item. And even then I usually opt for a store hat has a customer friendly policy.
Be flexible with where you shop clothes online
Don’t just check your favorite brand stores. If you are into specific brands, also check sites like ASOS that sell a lot of different brands for less. I also found a lot of great stuff from Lipsy London, Guess and the likes on ebay and other online market places such as Facebook groups (YES, BABY!), vinted (“Kleiderkreisel” for those in German speaking countries) and lots of high-end second hand online stores.
Check reviews and try-on hauls on YouTube
If it’s your first time buying fashion from a specific online store I recommend YouTubing reviews and try-on hauls. I doubt there are many stores out there YouTubers haven’t covered yet so it’s unlikely there’s not at least a few videos on the online boutique of your choice. YouTubers often cover the most interesting questions like if their articles are true to size, of decent quality and if they had a good experience shopping there.
Bonus tip: also check the comments on these videos, there might be valuable information there!
Check out the sales section
It’s usually worth it. I can’t count how many times I found great deals in the sales sections that worked for all seasons and at a super low price tag to boot! I personally check the sales section even before I go on to the regular stuff!
Know your measurements
It’s safe to say that the best way to avoid a sizing dilemma when shopping clothes online is by having your measurements at the ready. Make sure you check the size chart of the item (or store) you are interested in. If you ever shopped at the high street chances are you had to go through several sizes in the process. As/Is even made an entire video about this on YouTube and you should totally check it out!
Quick tip: when checking for the measurements of an item, remember that even if the number matches your body measurements, you still need some room to breath! This is usually not an issue if the garment is made of stretchy materials but there are plenty of fabrics out there that won’t budge, no matter how hard you beg! So if in doubt, better buy a size up. And when measuring, only wear underwear. As for the bra, try to wear one that you will likely wear with the item. The reason for this? Imagine you measure yourself wearing an unpadded bra and later decide that you actually only want to wear it with a heavily padded one…Padding can easily add to your overall bust measurements…
What to do if your size is not available
It happens all the time: we see something online and get all excited…just to find out that our size is not available anymore. It’s still worth a try to order the item a size up (or down, if you’re really confident and it’s a loose fit or made of stretchy materials). I bought tees two to three sizes up in the past because I liked the design and it still looked good on me. This also works in-store of course: be flexible when it comes to sizing!
This is especially valid if you buy from Asian websites! Don’t be afraid to order size L or even larger even if your closet is full of size S items! I bought plenty of clothes from Japan, Korea and China in the past decade or so and always opted for at least 2 sizes up – and even that fit quite snug more often than not!
Add to cart whatever you like, then edit
This is the time to go crazy! Just put everything you like on your wish list or in your online shopping cart and don’t worry about the total cost. Once you’re done and got it all out of your system, go back to your wish list and remove anything you don’t really want, need, can’t afford or found cheaper similar garments for.
Bonus tip: Many suggest to let your shopping sit in the cart for a night or two to receive reminder emails with coupon codes. These codes are supposed meant as an incentive to go back to their website and proceed to checkout. I’ve tried this on several occasions and never.got.any.emails.
While this might or might not depend on the country or store you are shopping in, don’t be disappointed if you don’t get a coupon code as an incentive. In fact, I highly discourage trying this strategy if you are shopping the sales. The risk that an item sells out before you’re done waiting for a code that might or might not show up is too high. Been there, done that, don’t recommend!
Check for discount codes online
There are so many websites out there that list a collection of discount codes for various online shops and a search can be done in as little as a few minutes. Before you purchase clothes online double check if the online store of your choice offers discounts for signing up to their newsletters. You can always unsubscribe again afterwards.
If there is a help chat on their website it’s also worth asking for promo codes via chat. There are usually only two answers you can get: either it’s a “no” or a “yes”. In any case, asking won’t hurt and it will only take a few moments of your time.
Bonus tip: Lots of online fashion stores rely on influencer marketing, so check out YouTube for sponsored videos that offer coupon codes.
Try on in store, then order online for points
If you signed up for loyalty programs where you can score points (or other ways of cashback) by shopping from a pool of various retailers there is a chance that for some of them you can only collect points if you order online. In these cases it’s worth checking out their items in store, trying them on and then ordering them online. I personally wouldn’t do it if I only were to buy a few small or cheap items. Let’s be honest here, it can be a bit of a hassle. But if you reached a total amount in the…let’s say… three digits range, you could collect a lot of points if you went back home and ordered online.
I don’t actually do this very often as I really want to support brick and mortar stores. But on the other hand I’m always on a budget and not responsible for weird, counterproductive corporate decisions.
Cross the border to shop clothes online
This works especially well if you live in a European country or in the US/Canada: Sometimes it can be well worth checking stores abroad that ship to your country. If they have international shipping, chances are you can switch languages on their websites – and sometimes currency too. You can often save a pretty penny by shopping from abroad, just remember that depending on your and the store’s location customs might charge you.
So here you have it! I hope my 10 tips on how to shop for clothes online will help you lots with all of your future online shopping sprees! Happy shopping!