Buying clothes in a brick and mortar store is no longer the only way to get a fabulous outfit. Online shopping is extremely popular and the Wall Street Journal notes that Americans spend a whopping $200 million online every year. It’s easy to see why; the combination of today’s busy schedules and the popularity of smartphones makes it easier than ever to have a closet full of beautiful fashion without ever having to fight for parking at the mall. Online shopping is safe and secure, and when you put a bit of research and time into the sites you’re buying from, you’ll soon wonder why you haven’t been doing it all along.
Before you start buying clothes online, make sure you are familiar with fabric types. It’s no use purchasing a shirt made from cotton jersey if you have no idea what that fabric looks or feels like. Not being able to physically touch the clothing is the biggest drawback to online shopping, so avoid the disappointment of finding a clingy fabric in your delivery package when what you really wanted was something more structured. Also be aware that colors may differ slightly from your Internet browser. Black is black and white is white, but other colors may not come through exactly as they are in your home’s lighting.
Keep a measuring tape handy when ordering items online. Most sites will have a sizing chart, and if you’ve ordered from this supplier before, you can go with what your past experience has been. But if you’re new to this site, or are otherwise unsure of sizing, check and double check the website’s recommendations, especially if the article is something you’d like to wear right away for an event, and don’t have time to get a replacement.
When it comes to returning items bought online, check the return policies thoroughly – before you order! Some websites offer exchange only, or returns of merchandise only in case of defect. Take photographs immediately with the packing materials, if items are delivered in poor shape, so you have documentation in case of return. If the online store does have a brick-and-mortar location, ask if returns can be made to that store, or if delivery is available there. This may also help save on shipping charges.
And don’t forget about eBay and other online auction sites. These can be great places to get one-of-a-kind, designer or vintage pieces for a great price.
Follow Jeni Marinucci on Twitter @highlyirritable