how to shop online, part 1: reading reviews

i love shopping online because:

  1. i live 2 hours from some of my favorite stores.
  2. comparing prices is a cinch.
  3. there are more sizing options. (i am 5’10” and sometimes need tall sizes, which aren’t always sold in stores. i also wear a 9.5 shoe, which seems to sell out quickly in my area but might still be available online.)
  4. i can shop during my lunch break or while wearing my pajamas in bed.

as glorious as it sounds, it can be quite frustrating to fall in love with something, place an order, pay shipping fees, wait at least a week, get really excited when you see the package on your doorstep, and then try it on only to realize it doesn’t fit well or is the wrong size.

i do most of my shopping online and over the past few years have learned a lot about what works and what doesn’t. i’ve paid too many shipping fees to not learn lessons. so i’ve written a series of posts about how to shop online, to hopefully make it easier for you, too.

lesson no. 1: read reviews
i can’t stress this enough. most online stores offer review capabilities on their websites, and i am very hesitant to order from sites that do not offer reviews. the sites that i think have the best review sections are american apparel, urban outfitters and DSW (and these three sites are where the bulk of my online shopping takes place).

reading reviews is so important because women’s clothing sizing can be a crazy thing. depending on the brand, i buy sizes that range from x-small to large tops, size 4-8 jeans and 9-10 shoes. the reviews i find most helpful share the reviewer’s height, weight and measurements; what size they bought; and exactly how the piece fits (loose, snug or just right). you can also learn if the true color of the item matches the online photo, if the fabric looks cheap, and how easily boots get scuffed or pants hems unravel.

by reading reviews i’ve also gained an understanding that what looks good on the model might not look or fit the same way on me. it’s important to know your body type and how certain fabrics and cuts will hang on your shape, and reviews will help with this.

—> of course, it’s courteous to pay it forward and also write reviews after you have tried something on in the store or ordered an item and know how it fits or feels.

please share your ideas on this topic in the comments below!

let me know if you have questions about shopping online. next week we’ll discuss how to find coupon codes.