How to Shop for Fashion Online in 2021

How to Shop for Fashion Online in 2021

More people are shopping online these days for everything imaginable. There’s no limit to what you can discover while browsing online, from special occasion dresses to comfy clothes. Though you can’t try on your items immediately, you have way more options online than in person, no matter where you live.

Don’t get carried away and end up purchasing ill-fitting, inferior quality, and unsightly apparel and footwear. Take your time when searching for chic fashion finds, and follow our tips for shopping online in 2021.

1. Plan Ahead

Because so many other people are also shopping online, you must plan when shopping to ensure you’ll receive your orders in time. Unless you’re just shopping for new blouses to wear to work, planning gives you time to research options, try on your apparel, return anything that doesn’t fit, and get your garments tailored.

Certain occasions and events require planning way in advance, such as preparing for an interview, shopping for a bridesmaid dress, choosing vacation-ready swimsuits, researching packable jackets for a hike, or purchasing a stylish cocktail dress for an upcoming event.

You’ll want to purchase shoes way ahead of time too. Trying out shoes will help you determine if they offer ideal comfort. If not, you’ll have time to return them or buy accessories that’ll provide relief. Think of all the events you have coming up, and plan accordingly.

2. Know Your Measurements

Knowing your measurements (and constantly re-measuring when necessary) will save you time and money when shopping online. Many sites include general size charts to help you determine what sizes to buy. Those charts usually have numeric (00, 0, 2, 4, etc.) and alpha (XXS, XS, S, M, etc.) sizes. However, large retailers that offer multiple brands may include size charts for specific brands. Watch out for this since you may be, for example, a size S in one brand but an XS in another. Plus, size charts include other useful conversions, such as U.S. to Italian sizes. Here are the measurements to take down: bust, waist, hip, inseam, shoulders, and calves.

3. Pay Attention to Categories

Websites sometimes include additional categories beyond regular sizes to help you make a better buying decision. Look out for the following potential sizing categories to choose the best fit for you: plus size, petite, petite plus, missy, tall/tall plus (for women), and tall/big and tall/big (for men). As for footwear, some shoes come in narrow and wide widths.

4. Read the Product Description and Reviews

When reading product descriptions, read beyond the fluff to determine if the styles you are interested in are ideal for you. Look for the following information.

  • Fit: Product descriptions may provide you with crucial details, such as how the apparel or shoes will fit. For example, descriptions may include terms such as runs small, flowy, slim, fit-and-flare, fitted, breezy, low-cut, and more, to give customers a better understanding of the product beyond the photos.
  • Fabric Type: If you have skin allergies or if you’re looking for durable or luxe materials (such as cotton, wool, cashmere, denim, silk, leather, linen, real fur, and canvas), pay attention to the fabric type. If you’re unsure of a fabric, do your research.
  • Care: Care instructions are vital. If you like a quick wash, you must know if your items will need a bit more TLC. Care instructions also help you determine if an item is a luxe since luxury items call for delicate care, such as hand washing or dry cleaning. True wool women’s sweaters, for example, often need to be dry cleaned.

Also, if an item has reviews, read them. Real customers paint a picture of how an item will fit. Is a sweater too itchy? Should you buy a size up or down when shopping for those chic boots you’re eyeing? The customer knows best!

5. Look for Styles With Photos

Photos, along with product descriptions, are essential when shopping online. Better yet, styles with images featuring various angles will help you make a smart purchasing decision. Some tech-forward brands also offer videos of models wearing apparel or close-up shots (to show all the details on down coats for example). But beware: most models used online are taller and slimmer than the average person. Because of this, many sites include the model’s height and clothing size. That’s why it’s also crucial for you to know your measurements.

6. Don’t Be Afraid to Return

Check the return policy. Some companies are more flexible than others. If you’re nervous that you may not like something, make sure you can easily return it.

7. Or Get Your Garments Tailored

Finally, if you fall in love with your selections but they just don’t fit quite right, visit your friendly neighborhood tailor. Sometimes knowing your measurements, looking at the photos, determining the fit, and choosing the correct sizes are not enough. The fit still may be slightly off. That’s where a tailor comes in handy. By getting your precious items tailored, you’ll look your best, no matter what.

Shopping in person has its benefits. You can try on plenty of items in the store. You can talk to in-store stylists. And you can bring a shopping buddy to give feedback. However, shopping online opens so many doors. You have access to endless brands. You may not be able to immediately try on those chic designer skinny jeans you’ve been eyeing, but if you follow these tips, you'll know what to look out for when purchasing apparel and footwear online.

If you fall in love with a brand or retailer, make sure you sign up for newsletters or emails or follow them on social media to remain in the loop for the latest drops, discounts, or other exciting news.

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