As someone who basically shops for a living, I constantly have friends asking me to help them find things they’re looking for. And whether it’s a T-shirt or a ball gown, the first thing I always say is, “Have you checked online?” Because in my opinion, the Internet the easiest and most efficient place to shop—and the options are endless.
What I’ve learned over time, however, is that many people don’t like shopping online as much as I (and my colleagues) do, and when asked why, they usually say it’s because they hate having to return things. That’s where I stop them. Yes, it’s certainly easy to get caught up in online shopping and accidentally order too much stuff, most of which you will probably have to return—we’ve all had an ASOS package arrive that’s the size of a large appliance. But if you approach it the right way, that scenario is easy to avoid.
Scroll through for four easy tips that will help you avoid buying things you’d end up returning.
It’s easy to ignore the small Size & Fit tab below the product description on most sites, but there’s a lot you can learn from it. Not only is there information about whether or not the item runs true to size, but there is usually detailed information on how it’s cut everywhere from the bust to the waist and hips. If you know your measurements, this is great, but even if you don’t, you can compare the information to an item you already own.
While we love a good e-commerce styling moment, you should only use it to inspire an outfit once you’ve decided you like the item on its own. That means you should consider how the piece looks separate from the way it’s styled. Is it as expensive-looking as the seller makes it seem? Also, oftentimes there will be a slip, belt, or camisole shown with the piece, so be sure to read the product description to discern whether or not those items are included—they can really make a difference.
Anytime you’re buying something you’ve never seen in person, you should google the product name and brand to see additional photos. Not only will you see the pictures from other sites selling it and get more views and angles, but oftentimes if a blogger or celebrity has worn it, those pictures will come up too, and you can get a more realistic idea of what it looks like.
Compare the fabric to something you own. One of the most important things about clothing is the fabric. Oftentimes, when you like an item that you already have, it’s because you like the material. Even if you’re not a fabric expert, you can use this to inform decisions about other pieces. For example, when I discovered my favorite non-stretchy Topshop jeans and wanted more that felt like them, I simply looked at other jeans on the site with the same fabric makeup. In addition to denim, this tip works especially well for T-shirts, lingerie, sweaters, blazers, and trousers!
Saint Laurent High School Medium Leather Shoulder Bag ($1890) in Black