Nothing compares to the in-person experience of shopping when you can feel and try on what you see.. but for those who don't have all day to peruse or access to quality stores.. online shopping can be a fantastic resource!
I have done 90% of my shopping online in the past several years and I absolutely love it! It saves me time and gets me styles I don't find in my area. Once you figure out how it works, you can search 10 different shops by the time you get to the dressing room in one store in person. There's just a few tips you need for success. Here are mine.
1. Know your materials
If you're afraid that you're being deceived by a picture, look at what the piece is made out of. Natural fibers like cotton, linen, silk, wool and cashmere will feel nicer, hold up better and look more quality. Synthetic fibers like polyester, acrylic, rayon, nylon are stiffer, may ware more easily and look less quality. Depending on the piece you're buying, a synthetic blend may be ok - I don't mind it in skirts, vests and jackets, but try to avoid it in sweaters and tops.
2. Know your size
Knowing your size when online shopping doesn't have to be that tricky. Open up the sites size guide to see their measurements for their sizes and measure yourself to compare. If you have a specific shop that you like to shop from it is a great idea to get to know your size in the store so that you can later order online and know that it will fit. I do this for jeans! Believe it or not, shopping for jeans is easiest for me online! I know that I like high-waisted, curvy fit and petite - so I can plug those things into a site and it will filter exactly what I want. There are a ton more options than in the store as well! I know that I love NY&C Soho jeans and exactly what size I wear so every year around New Years, when they put their jeans on sale for around $20 online, I stock up!
3. Read reviews
Reviews are such a helpful thing online! You can find out what other buyers thought of the item and whether or not it runs true to size or not. Often commenters will tell you their size and how it fit them and if you should size up or not. They'll tell you if it fit funny or looks completely different than in the picture. Some sites like Shein.com allow customers to upload photos of themselves in the pieces.
4. Use wish lists and Pinterest to help you make choices
Putting things into a site's wish list or the shopping cart will keep the items there (you will need to sign in or make an account) so you can look at them later to make your decision! This is a great perk of online shopping. If you want to gather your choices from multiple shops, or avoid making an account you can pin your favorites on a Pinterest board. Start shopping for next season early and then make your decisions when you're ready.
5. Choose shops with free shipping
To make the convenience of online shopping worth it, look for shops that offer free shipping. Those that offer free shipping and returns are the ones that you will have real success with though! You can order multiple sizes of a piece or options you are unsure about, try them on when they arrive, keep what you want and send the rest back, free of charge! Many stores who offer this option, like asos.com make it really easy to make returns. You can reuse the bag it came in and a return shipping label is included inside, no postage necessary. Just pop it in your mailbox and return it using USPS!
Online Shopping Cheat Sheet
These are some of my favorite shops.
Free Shipping & Returns
- TOPSHOP & TOPMAN (high and low price - filter)
- Shopbop.com & East Dane (For men) (high and low price)
- Zappos (high and low price)
- LLBean.com - For card members ($6.50 flat rate return for others, or free return to store (Sears)
Free Shipping Over A Certain Amount
- Target - free shipping on orders of $25+ & free returns
- Urban Outfitters - Free over $50 + free returns
- H&M - Free on all orders of $40 or more with code 0040. For orders under $40 there is a flat rate shipping fee of $5.95. (Can return to store to avoid return shipping charge)
- Gap/ Banana Republic/ Athleta/ Old Navy - Free over $50 (Free returns)
- Francesca’s - Free over $50 ($5 flat rate returns with FedEx)
- Forever21 - Free over $50 (Can return to store to avoid return shipping charge)
- Romwe.com - Free over $50 (Have to pay for return shipping)
- Modcloth.com - Free over $50 (Option of Refund minus $5.99 shipping fee or Store credit + $5 credit, or free exchange) (high and low price)
- Mango - Free over $49 (return shipping at own expense, free store return)
Good luck!! What are you tips and favorite shops for online shopping? I'd love to know! Share with me below!
Photography: Jenna Lauren Photography