So you need a new outfit, a perfect work-to-workout tee, a pair of pumps to die for. But schlepping to the mall just isn’t in the schedule. And there’s always the fear that what you want won’t be on the rack. Why not order online?
What stops many people from buying clothes online is the idea of shipping, the hassle of returning, and the dread that what you bought will fit a six-year-old. Relax.
Today’s online shopping is easier than ever. It’s more secure, at least with reputable retailers, and many have made returns easy. With a little homework and a good tape measure, you can weigh the benefits against brick-and-mortar shopping. You can also save money if you shop smart.
Decide What You Need
Start out by deciding what you need: a business suit you’ll wear over and over? A flirty print dress for a single event or knock-around clothes that fit a stay-at-home mom’s lifestyle. If it’s trendy bit of fun, buy cheap; if it’s an investment piece, look for discounts but don’t skimp. Is it something you wear all the time or a workhorse basic you want to replace? Buy them in multiples. Kohl’s and Macy’s are two good places to start.
Know What Works for You
Consignment shops are smart places to buy a new wardrobe if you gain or lose a lot of weight. It’s not a big investment and you can find some great pieces for a fraction of retail prices. Never buy something two sizes too small just because it’s on sale and you might fit into it someday.
Clothes in your closet still take up room, whether you paid a lot for them or not. Buy colors and materials that look great on you. Don’t buy based on what looks good on the model in the photo. And don’t fall for an evocative sales pitch. Go by the measurements (use a tape measure) or call customer servive. Focus on the details: materials, washing instructions and lining.
Save on Designer Clothes
Online consignment stores, such as ThredUp, Threadflip and even eBay, are reliable places to buy designer investment pieces at a steep discount. You can also use coupon codes for them. Of course, if a deal seems too good to be true, especially on seller sites, be wary.
Most online resellers are very selective, and honest about any flaws, so you are not likely to be stuck with a dud, but do check item reviews and seller ratings carefully. Take both very positive and very negative comments with a grain of salt. If you’re shopping on Amazon, compare similar items on different sites with a tool like PriceJump. You can also google the SKU number and compare prices.
Love following trends but don’t want to spend too much? Opt for the color of the moment in a handbag, fashion jewelry or shoes. It’s a small investment that freshens your wardrobe.
Read the Fine Print
Look at the shipping, exchange and return policies carefully before you buy it. You want to be able to return something if it’s just not right. Some retailers, especially the big ones, allow you to return in a brick and mortar, or provide you with a UPS label so you can just ship it back with no problem. If you have to pay to return it, let that be your warning not to buy on impulse.
Take advantage of Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales, and remember that a lot of retailers offer free shipping during the holidays.
Online clothes shopping can save you time and money. It works well if you’re confident in what looks good on you and know exactly what you want. The more you research, the easier it becomes.