Posted on August 19th, 2011
How to buy clothes online? With caution!
A likely scenario: You browse through a website and fall in love with a pair of pants. You order the pants, and when they arrive you eagerly try them on. On the model, they looked great. Nice cut, elongated legs, flat tummy. On you, they look awful. The behind is too baggy but the thighs are tight. You look huge! They cling to your body in all the wrong places. How can it be?
Apart from the obvious issue of finding the right size without trying the clothes on, there are two big problems when shopping for clothes online. The main problem is that, when looking at a photo of a model wearing an item of clothing, it is very hard to know how the clothes will look on YOU. Look at the model in the picture above: she is very tall and super skinny. The way that dress fits her body has nothing to do with how it is going to fit yours.
In addition, many photos in online catalogs are taken from flattering angels and conceal the fact that the back was gathered with pins or that a certain clothing item simply isn’t very flattering. Whenever I see a photo where the model is sitting down, or bending, or standing at an obvious angle to the camera, I immediately suspect that an effort was made to hide the fact that the item just isn’t very flattering.
Having said all that, shopping online for clothes can certainly be done. I should know – I’ve been doing it for years! The secret is to know yourself, your body, your measurements. Know what fits you. For example, I only buy A-line skirts and dresses. The narrow, clingy ones look great on models – but not on me.
You should definitely accept that many online clothing purchases will have to be returned. If you enjoy shopping online, or live someplace where you don’t have easy access to stores, try to choose retailers that offer free shipping. Otherwise you will find yourself spending a lot of money each year in shipping costs. Bluefly, for example, offers free return shipping if you take a store credit instead of a refund. And Zappos is famous for consistently offering free shipping both ways.
How to buy clothes online? With caution.