One of the internet’s favorite activities is collectively laughing at “what I ordered vs. what I received” photos, a hilarious an expectation vs. reality situation where an online shopper orders something, and when they receive it, realize that it doesn’t look like the photos, doesn’t fit or isn’t in any way similar to what they expected to get. It’s that annoying moment where you wanted something that looks amazing, but you end up with a fashion disaster instead. Is this the fate we must suffer when we shop online?
Where do you find formal dress for women that looks good but doesn’t break the bank? How do you make sure you don’t end up buying something you’ll regret? If you’re looking for a great dress to wear to a special occasion like a wedding or a fancy party, how do you make sure you’re not going to end up with an eyesore?
The good news is online shopping doesn’t have to be a nightmare. There are tons of retailers where things look just as good as the photo or even better, and actually fit well. You just need to know where to shop and follow these best practices to make sure you love what you purchase.
Don’t Buy on Short Notice
If you’re a bit nervous about buying something online, especially if it’s for an event, don’t buy the item just before you need to wear it. Give yourself a few weeks or a couple of months in advance for the item to arrive. This gives you ample time to make sure that it fits and looks good, and then if it’s not a good fit, you have enough time to return the item and get the right size, or return the item and get something else. The last thing you want is to have a few days before an event with absolutely no idea what to wear.
Know Your Measurements
The biggest struggle when it comes to online shopping is obviously not being able to try it on before you buy it. This presents a unique challenge if you’re someone who is between sizes, but it doesn’t have to be. Most online retailers have really great size guides and go beyond the standard XS, S, M, L, XL listing. Their sizing information usually often includes real measurements like inches and sizes on the waist, hips, bust and even shoulders. Measure yourself accurately and use that as the jumping off point for your sizing.
Also pay attention to the fabric, especially the stretch. If something is very stretchy, you might want to consider getting a small size so you don’t end up with excess fabric, but if an item is non-stretch, get your exact size. Following size guides increases the likelihood that something is going to fit you well.
Check Reviews & Photos
Another great way to avoid online shopping fails is to read reviews and see the photos of how things fit. Most popular online retailers have hundreds, if not thousands of reviews from other shoppers and if you’re lucky, they’ll even have photographs.
People’s reviews help you know what to expect and what to avoid. Some people even post videos on YouTube showing them trying on things. This will also give you an idea of what the item will look like before you even add it to your cart.
Get a Tailor
Sometimes, the clothes you order online don’t fit at all, and sometimes they are almost perfect and just need a little bit of tailoring. Instead of sending something back, why not consider taking it to a tailor or seamstress who can help it fit better?
If the dress or trousers are too long, have them shortened, if something would look better with straps, add them, and if the item is a bit too big on the sides, have it taken in. What makes clothes look so great on influencers isn’t just they are custom made, but rather that they are tweaked to perfection after the purchase. Why can’t you do the same?
Consider a Clothing Subscription
Online retailers are becoming more and more aware of the challenges of buying clothes without trying them on first. Clothing subscriptions have rapidly become a solution to this because people can order a selection of stuff, have it delivered, try them on and if they don’t like any of the items, send them back. With these services, you only have to pay for the things you actually get to keep, instead of wasting money on a ton of things that you end up never even wearing.
There are so many of these services on the internet, so if you’re nervous about having a disappointing experience, this is how you avoid it.