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Six Tips for Buying Clothes Online


If you’re like me, going to a big department store can be a bit overwhelming. For the most part, all I see are rows and rows of clothes. Nothing stands out. Just lots of dark clothes, followed by light-colored clothes and the color du jour. Usually I throw up my hands in frustration, annoyed that I’ve waited until the eleventh hour to look for that special outfit.


Online allows me to see the outfit on a model, as opposed to on a hanger. I can zoom in on the fabric and know what it is without seeing it in person, and often there’s a video. Here are some things I’ve learned that will make online shopping a breeze.

  • Online shopping allows you to systematically plan your wardrobe. It’s easy to find a sweater to go with the pants you bought last year. You can plan ahead and purchase that coat or great pair of boots before you wander aimlessly into the store, only to discover they’re sold out in your size.
  • Most websites have accurate size guides. No, they’re not the same from brand to brand… Grrrr… but they’re accurate if you’re honest with yourself about your measurements, so keep a tape measure on hand.
  • It’s not about the size! It’s about the fit. Often a larger size will make you look slimmer, because those pants won’t look like they’ve been shrink-wrapped on you. That’s ok if you’ve got a great figure. If not, choose a size a bigger. It will be more flattering, and you can always have it altered if need be.
  • If in doubt, order it in two sizes, and send back the one that doesn’t fit. Most stores have free shipping and return, so you won’t have to pay for it. They’re also good about crediting your account, so don’t think you’re being extravagant. Besides, you may decide to send them both back.
  • Trying on clothes at home is often easier. You can take your time, try it with different accessories, and see if it’s something you really want to keep.
  • Buy the best you can afford. It’s better to pay more for something you’ll wear for a long time, versus buying something cheap, that looks cheap, and may not last the season.
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6 thoughts on “Six Tips for Buying Clothes Online”

  1. Great tips, Brenda! I do go into the stores every now and again but rarely end up actually purchasing anything, the hideous cuts, fabrics and styles (I saw a dress last week which looked more like a clown’s outfit) always leave me feeling overwhelmed and like it’s too much effort to rummage through it all to find that one good item. I find shopping online a much better option too. Essie xx

  2. I’m a big fan of online shopping too, especially when you have a few favorite brands that fit well to base buying on. It gives more options for “matching” something when that color isn’t the popular one right now. I actually hate shopping, but love online shopping. Great article again, thank you!
    XO Donna

    • I’m not a shopper either. I usually wait until a few days before I need something to go out and look for it, and of course I don’t find it. Online shopping is dangerous, however, but I send most of it back. I know all of the guys at the UPS store, however!! xoxox, Brenda

  3. I find shopping in stores quite frustrating because I already know what I am looking for before I go in, and it’s usually pretty damned specific! Being so picky means that I have much better luck searching for it on the web since I can specify what I’m looking for. The only downside? I do return a lot of items due to fit. Sadly, not enough stores are doing free shipping and returns, but as a consumer, I’m giving my dollars to the ones that do!

    • You sound like me, Val. I already have an idea of what I want, and it’s frustrating not being able to find it. Picky’s good… The stores/sites I’m steering clear of now are the ones who make me jump through a couple of hoops before they will “grant my return.” Those are usually the ones I have to pay to ship it back as well. If I really like something and think it will look good on me, but not sure about the fit, I order two sizes… Usually send them both back! LOL! xoxox, Brenda

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