Even with the lifting of COVID restrictions, we gotta admit that shopping for clothes, bags, and accessories online is still here to stay. And it is now even more popular than ever. Both major and minor retail shop owners have taken advantage of this opportunity, putting up almost their entire glamorous inventory online, for even a wider reach beyond the neighborhood.
So it’s important to bring on our rad fashion shopping skills online! And we’re here to give you some useful tips on becoming a goddess of digital shopping–so you can browse the online stores with confidence (as you would in a store) from the comfort of your own home.
Your bible for shopping for clothes online
If you think that shopping for clothes online is as easy as sharing memes on social media, well, you’re not entirely wrong. After all, we all know how selling and buying works.
Sure, the concept is the same, you pay for the clothes you buy. But purchasing fashion goods from the Internet, whether for your next weekend party or for a gift to a friend, has major differences from dropping by a physical shop.
So we’re here to give you some very helpful suggestions you should keep in mind when scouring for clothes to buy online.
When you go to a brick-and-mortar store, often you don’t have to remember your actual size because there are fitting rooms to try those clothes on. With shopping digitally, you don't have that luxury. So finding a good fit can be a bit tricky.
This is why you should make sure to have your measurements with you. Jot down your important dimension numbers, including chest and waist measurements, your hips and bust, feet size for shoes, or even your arms for sleeves. Grab that trusty tape measure or even a string you can compare against a straight rule.
Generally, online stores have size charts for reference, which include information on the actual dimensions of the clothes they sell. You can then determine and compare various size categories with your list to identify the closest fit. Double-check the availability of your chosen size, as you might accidentally order the wrong one. But keep in mind that size charts vary from one store to another, especially if you’re shopping in international stores (and don’t forget the conversion from inches to centimeters too). So it’s best to know thy numbers.
Seize discount coupons
Many online shops offer great incentives like discount coupons or codes for buying directly from them. There are also special shopping events wherein most of their clothes are marked down. These are very common with online shops because they can save more when maintaining digital stores compared to actual store locations, so they are able to provide more great deals.
So if you want to save a great deal of money, watch out for these, or subscribe to newsletters or emails for updates. This is especially true if you particularly love a store and you’re a recurring customer, they can offer loyalty discounts. And other times, even more goodies if you tag them or recommend them on your social media. So look out for these treats and save a few bucks.
The basics of fabrics
Another huge difference with buying clothes digitally compared to going to an actual store is you don’t get to actually touch the item and feel the texture. Browsing for clothes online, you can only assume based on the provided photos, making it also tricky to tell which is which.
Thus, you should definitely familiarize yourself with the various kinds of fabric. You can look at your own closet and then feel your clothes. But be careful, what may look like cotton in the photo could actually be silk. Read the labels or product descriptions carefully as they should provide the materials used for the clothing being sold. Other stores even allow you to inquire from them through direct messages. Use that to your advantage too.
Learn the return policies
Do yourself a favor and look for the return policies of the merchant, and their site should clearly state the terms. It might be tedious to read the fine print, but it’s necessary that you know the store’s rules of handling return or refund requests.
What if you noticed some loose thread, or a missing button, or perhaps, what if the wrong item is delivered? It can be a wrong fit (better check the first item in this list!), or you’ll want to request alterations or adjustments. Whatever the case may be, you deserve a fair return policy.
Beware of vague language, and the terms should be explicit. Determine which party will cover the cost of return shipping, and what kinds of return requests they accommodate. And if you ask for a refund, will you get your money back?
Review previous reviews
Most online shops and platforms often have a dedicated section for customer reviews, and it’s very practical to read some firsthand accounts. Especially if browsing on a new store, this move gives you an idea. Look if they had a good customer experience communicating with the merchant, and also their issues with the store. If there are bad reviews, try to understand if they are valid concerns, or if they’re a dealbreaker for you.
Did the delivered product meet their expectations? Are the descriptions of the clothes, including fabric, sizes, and color accurate with the actual items? The screen often does not give justice to the item due to other factors (photo edits, the type of screen you have, image compression, etc.) so you should also take this into consideration when trudging through the reviews.
Also, look in the reviews if they ship their products on time. It could take days or weeks, which won’t work if you have an urgent fashion need you have to attend to.
Canvass, canvass, canvass (if you can)
Going to malls or brick-and-mortar stores, we tend to easily fall in love with our good finds that there’d be moments it’s hard to resist the urge to buy. A little compliment from the store lady while fitting and, ugh, the next thing you know, you’re swiping your card. And later in another store, you’d regret seeing a much better find.
But shopping online gives you the ability to think through whatever you add to your (digital) cart. Before smashing that checkout button, it wouldn’t hurt to take your time and look at what other stores have to offer.
While some people would recommend going directly to trusted or well-known brands to prevent potential scams, we believe that a reputable and honest fashion brand still exists. There’s a lot of them actually. They have the ability to sell quality wardrobe pieces, too, for affordable prices mind you.
Be sensitive with your sensitive data
While we highly recommend you score great deals on discounts, be careful of those who offer freebies in exchange for your personal data. Your name and address, sure they’re needed to deliver the package. But socials, birthdays, one-time pins, or your other purchase history are none of their businesses.
When paying, be cautious of sharing your banking details/credit/debit cards. If possible, we recommend e-wallet systems that can send payment to the merchant without you giving away or keying in your card info. PayPal is a popular example, but other phone companies have their own versions, as well.
Ensure secure connection
Check if the website is secure, this is one of the least you can do. If they appear to be missing a “lock” icon beside the web link, you could bet that it might be from some shady site. Check if the website’s URL begins with “https,” with emphasis on the S. Having a padlock icon or an encrypted link does not necessarily mean that the website is 100% trustworthy, but at least the connection is secure and less prone to hacking.
See? Shopping online is in a different realm than going to actual stores, especially if you are looking for clothes to buy. Nevertheless, it’s still a fun activity that most of us enjoy.
It’s best if you bear in mind our above-mentioned tips (or better yet, bookmark this article for reference), and why not tag a friend along? Browsing for clothes or accessories online will then be a breeze, whenever and wherever you are–as long as you’re connected to the ‘net, though.