The 5 Golden Rules of Online Shopping for Women

woman measuring waist with tape on knot like a gift, african tann isolated close up white background

As most women know, online shopping can be quite a gamble. There are perks to ordering online, like cheaper prices and a wider selection than what you can find in stores, but the experience can be as emotionally damaging as it is wasteful if you don’t have a few tips and tricks under your belt. Trying to imagine my short, curvy body fitting into an article of clothing that is advertised on a tall, slender model can be as difficult as trying to imagine tasting the color blue. It can be discouraging for those who are thinking about ordering online, and disappointing for those who do try their luck and receive a package full of ill-fitted insecurities and love handles galore. Fortunately, there is hope! With these golden rules of online shopping for the modern realist, we can say sayonara to sadness fueled by wasted money, feelings of inadequacy, and those really intimate moments you spend looking in the mirror, trying desperately to squeeze into that unforgiving garment of doom.

Rule #1: Measure Yourself (And know what you’re measuring)

Before you buy something online you can look into the sizing chart, which typically includes various body measurements per size, depending on the garment you’re looking into. Every online shopper should invest in a measuring tape so that you can take measurements and see exactly which sizing category you fall into. Some of the measuring terms can be confusing, so it’s important to understand the meaning of the different body parts. For example, your hips are typically the lowest, widest part of your torso, while your waist is the higher, slimmest part of your torso. Also, be sure to measure yourself accurately! It’s better to put your pride aside before you order so that you don’t have to deal with the disappointment later. When taking measurements, be sure to pull the tape tight enough so that it doesn’t sag, but loose enough so that there are no muffin tops around the tape.

Rule #2: If you see model measurements, trust them! They’re there to help!

Some company’s include the model’s measurements along with the sizing information. If it’s there, trust it! Even if your measurements don’t match the models, it’s a good point of reference to guide your buying decision. If you’re feeling really unsure, try contacting the seller for advice on which size to order. They’ll appreciate your interest in their products, and you’ll go into the purchase feeling much more sure that you made the right choice!

Rule #3: Take fabric type into consideration

Fabric type is crucial to the fit of a garment, and it’s important to know which fabrics act in which ways. Let’s take chiffon, for example. There is no room for forgiveness in a garment made of chiffon because it doesn’t stretch at all. A garment made of cotton and spandex, on the other hand, allows for much more flexibility. Fabrics that include higher percentages of stretchy material (8% or higher), spandex, also tend to have a more retentive feel, and can aid in “sucking” you in. In addition, knitted materials typically do stretch, while woven materials do not. A simple google search of the exact fabric composition of a garment can give you lots of helpful insight to the way the material will act before you buy it.  

Rule #4: Be realistic– know your body, and own it!

This rule is more of a life rule, but is extremely relevant when buying clothes online. It’s important to know yourself and be realistic about the types of clothing that work with your body type rather than against it. I can’t tell you how many bad reviews I’ve read that were written by unhappy customers who have 40D busts and were trying to rock a flimsy lace bralette that offers no support whatsoever. Leave wishful thinking for shopping in stores that have fitting rooms and avoid feeling badly about not fitting into clothes that simply were not meant for your body type. Embrace your body, no matter what size, and don’t compare yourself to unobtainable or unrealistic standards. When all else fails, keep in mind that most companies have a return policy!

Rule #5: Look into the reviews and write some of your own!

Reading the reviews for clothing you’re interested in ordering is a surefire way to get a better idea of the item. Learn from your fellow online shoppers’ mistakes, and do your part by writing reviews for products that you order, whether they were successful buys or not. If you feel comfortable, include information such as your height, weight, dress size, body measurements, and the size you ordered. Together, we can help each other out and get rid of online shopping’s bad reputation once and for all!

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