When shopping for an amazing deal, I find many of them are online -- no disrespect to you, mall. In fact, I shop every day, from the comfort of my own desk, er, home. (Note to my husband, if you’re reading this: no, I don’t ALWAYS buy something).
But sometimes, online shopping is the only way to pick up brand names or designer duds at sample sale (read: discounted) prices – unless you live in New York or Los Angeles where sample sales happen every day. Many of my girlfriends complain, though, that they don’t like shopping online, that they need to try it on first. Ladies, I hear ya. But there are times when the price is so right, I just can’t let it go. Case in point, three of my favorite purple dresses were all purchased through a website and delivered straight to my door. Thus, I’ve got a few rules I live by to avoid getting burned buying something that doesn’t fit or look good, or falls apart after one wash.
#1 First, know your body type and what looks good on it. For example, being more, ahem, curvaceous through the hip and thigh region, I know not to buy pants online…especially anything that starts with the word “skinny.” I’m also careful about fitted or pencil skirts. So, I stick to tops, jackets and dresses or skirts with room in the hips and fitted at the waist. Conversely, my more, ahem, buxom girlfriends might be careful about buying certain tops online – you might need to see it on your body before committing.
#2 Know your brands and your size in those brands. I know that in most shoes, I’m a 9.5, unless it’s a European brand, then I know I have to go up a half-size. I avoid brands and websites I’ve never heard of or didn’t come from a great recommendation. If you’re not familiar with the workmanship and quality, you could be disappointed when it arrives and that top you thought would look great to meet your boyfriend’s parents is totally see-through.
#3 Check the measurements and get familiar with yours. If a skirt is labeled ‘mini’ but looks to be a totally normal length in the picture, see if it has a measurement, then get out the ol’ measuring tape, ruler or plain ol’ piece of paper and see where that falls on your leg.
#4 Alterations can be your friend. If you take the leap and purchase something online and it mostly fits, a little nip/tuck might be all you need to make fashion magic. Make friends with a tailor or seamstress. My dry cleaner, for a example, does a solid job. Because my top half is a completely different size from my bottom half, I’ve had to have alterations on clothing bought in-store just as much as those bought online. And I may have gotten a better deal online.
#5 Last but not least, check the return policy – some sites offer free shipping and free returns, so there’s less worry if those knee boots arrive and you can’t zip them all the way up. (Nope, that’s never happened to me…I measured my calf before ordering ‘em. See #4). Sometimes, the sale is just so good that it’s a final sale and they’re not taking it back. Know what you’re in for, so you don’t get burned.
Now...let's go shopping!